Needwood Baptist

Needwood Baptist Church, Glynn County, Georgia
Needwood Baptist Church, Glynn County, Georgia

This church was organized in 1866 as Broadfield Baptist Church, located on the nearby Broadfield plantation in a south Georgia coastal location near Brunswick.  The congregation soon moved to the current spot and the church was built in stages, with the oldest parts dating from the 1870s and the towers added about ten years later.  The front porch area was closed in some time around 1930.  There is also a one-room school that provided elementary education from 1907 until desegregation in the 1960s.  The buildings are considered examples of early African-American vernacular architecture and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

There was an interesting historical summary of the establishment of former slave churches in the south on the National Park Service site for this listing, so for convenience, I’m adding a portion of it here-

The Needwood Baptist Church formation and history is an example of religious development of African Americans in context of the Plantation Rice Culture. Early settlers found Coastal Georgia and South Carolina suitable for rice cultivation and began development of an extensive system of rice plantations. Slave labor was a necessary element of this system and Africans were imported for this purpose. Slaves were  encouraged to become Christians by their white masters. African slaves in Savannah formed their own churches by 1822. In more rural areas of Coastal Georgia, they were members of the white-dominated churches and worshiped with the whites in segregated pews. In the 1830s and 1840s southern churchmen launched a movement to create plantation missions. Rice plantation slaves were the last to be confronted with the Christian religion. This was promoted as a means to control the African-American population which well out-numbered the whites in the plantation areas. This movement was largely successful among the rice plantations because the African-American preachers were accepted by the slave population. Although African-American slaves were aware that whites used religion as a form of social control, they preferred the less formal services held by members of their own race. Elements of Africanisms become part of the services, such as the “ring shout.” The “ring shout” is a religious dance where men, women, boys, and girls formed a ring and began chanting and shuffling, always in a counterclockwise direction.

The Civil War (1861-1865) disrupted the churches as well as the social and economic order of Coastal Georgia. With the offshore islands held by Union troops and the Union Navy blockading the ports, much of the coastal area was evacuated. 

Slaves at the Broadfield and the Needwood Plantations, as well as others on nearby plantations, were mostly evacuated during the Civil War. They returned to the plantation lands after the war as freed slaves. Since they no longer were controlled by the whites to attend their church or the plantation churches, these freedmen formed their own church. Within the Baptist faith, they proceeded to form their own African-American Church Associations. The white churches seemed at a loss to understand the withdrawal of African-American churches from their associations. The Sunbury Baptist Association Executive Committee passed the following resolution in 1874:

“Whereas, for more than fifty years prior to the late civil war the colored churches of the Baptist denomination within the bounds of the Sunbury Baptist Association enjoyed, by delegation, equal representation with the white churches of that body, but for reasons unknown to us, have, since the war with drawn and formed association of their own And whereas, we still entertain for our colored brethren the same sentiments of Christian regard we then did and cherish the remembrance of them in the past as zealous co- workers with us in the advancement of our Lord and Master’s cause and now feel a deep interest in their civil, intellectual and religious welfare. Be it Resolved, That this association, and each church composing it, at such times and in such terms as they may deem proper, …pledge…harmonious co-operation in all matters touching our denominational interests.”

 

Neuburg Congregational

Neuburg Congregational Church, North Dakota
Neuburg Congregational Church, North Dakota

I saw a photo of Neuberg Congregational Church looking weathered and forgotten, but when I visited it had been recently painted.   This photo was made at the end of a cool day in late May.  The church was built in 1925 by Germans who immigrated by way of Russia.  They had outgrown their original church since founding the congregation in 1898.  More recently, the church was added to the National Register of Historic Places (2007).

Smyrna Baptist

Smyrna Baptist Church, Allendale, South Carolina
Smyrna Baptist Church, Allendale, South Carolina

Smyrna Baptist Church was organized in 1827 and originally called Kirkland Church after its Reverand.  In 1836 the name was changed to Smyrna Baptist.   It’s located off of Highway 22, near Allendale, South Carolina.  The architecture is an antebellum frame structure of meeting house design on a brick foundation.  It’s uncertain when the building was built but the best estimate is 1827.  A metal roof was added in the 1970s and the church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.  A small cemetery surrounds the structure where many of Allendale’s earliest prominent families were buried.

Center Methodist

Center Methodist, Oglethorpe County, Georgia
Center Methodist, Oglethorpe County, Georgia

Although Center Methodist Church has existed since the early 1800s, this is the third building, built in 1914.  It features a pair of steeples and gothic stained glass windows. There is still a small congregation using the church today.

 

Center Methodist, Oglethorpe County, Georgia
Center Methodist, Oglethorpe County, Georgia

St. Peter Lutheran

St. Peter Lutheran Church, near Midland, South Dakota (Jackson County)
St. Peter Lutheran Church, near Midland, South Dakota (Jackson County)

St. Peter Lutheran Church is in a farm area in Jackson County, South Dakota.  I haven’t had much luck finding more about its history.  I have seen an older photo and it looks like some slight alterations have been made on the front of the building since that one was taken.  There’s a cemetery on-site and some folks were mowing the grounds when I stopped by, so it’s safe to say the church is still in use today.