A church was needed to provide chapel services for students, and in the fall of 1862, Hephzibah Baptist Church was founded.
This weekend, the church celebrates 150 years of service to the community.
An old-fashioned worship service reminiscent of an 1862 church meeting will begin at 4 p.m. today in the present-day Hephzibah Southern Methodist Church building, Hephzibah Baptist’s former sanctuary.
The church met in the chapel of Hephzibah High School for its first 26 years, according to a church history compiled by Jerry Cole and others.
“There’s some incredibly rich history here,” said the Rev. Danny McGill, senior pastor.
Former pastors, the Revs. John Beck and Ted Page, will return for the celebration this weekend, along with former music ministers and staff.
About 350 to 400 people are expected to attend a concert, worship service and dinner on the grounds on Sunday.
Most weeks, the congregation numbers 250 to 300, a total that has nearly doubled in recent years, McGill said.
“That’s the work God is doing here,” he said. “Part of the success of the church has been the long tenure of pastors. John Beck was here 25 years.”
In August, the church bought 2½ acres of land next door on Georgia Highway 88.
“We know expansion is in our future and we’re thankful for that,” McGill said. “We’re looking forward to seeing what God is going to do next.”