OFFICERS

The Reverend Arthur J. Moore, D.D., LL.D., Bishop
S. T. Senter, D.D., District Superintendent
I. E. McKellar, Pastor



Stewards


W. B. Smith, Chairman

C. F. Brown
Sumner Marchman
Robert Northington
Dr. W. R. King
W. A. Marshall
J. Marvin O'Dillon
Louis Lockhart
Arthur McElveen
T. R. Simmons

D. E. McMaster*



Mrs. Pauline McMaster
Communion Steward


Stewards


D. R. Thomas                C. F. Brown               W. B. Smith   






Mrs. W. B. Smith
Organist


J. Marvin O'Dillon
Church Treasurer


Robert Northington
Superintendent, Church School


Mrs. I. E. McKellar
President, Woman's Christian Service


Miss Rubye Tompkins
President, Wesleyan Guild


*In the armed service





Historical Sketch of the Tennille Methodist Church


This is intended to be a historical sketch, not so much the account of an organization and its growth, as the record of the construction of two buildings.  Most formal histories trace backward to myth and legend, and often is difficult to distinguish fact and fiction.  In our case too, the records are meagre and disconnected, and many important events have gone unchronicled.  Errors and omissions, however unintentional and regrettable, will reveal themselves to the critical eye.  This is an inevitable as the Law of Gravitation.  Thus, the writer commends these pages to the kindly and sympathetic reader, pages that relate the simple story of an heroic past and briefly consider the not less inspiring view of the present and future.


Shortly after the War Between the States, a group of heroic and loyal Methodists conducted services at stated intervals in an old school building, presumably located where the new Methodist Church now stands.  Encouraged by additions in membership and an increase in means, the homeless congregation dared to dream of a permanent and commodious house in which better to worship God and serve humanity.  No doubt after delays, debates, and discouragements, an unimpressive number were inspired and led to take the initial and difficult steps.  Certainly the records indicate that on December 8th, 1884, Captain James D. Franklin, a public spirited citizen of Tennille, did grant and deed a lot for the new structure to the Trustees:  Dr. Milo Gould Hatch, J. T. Cook, R. G. Hyman, S. F. McIntyre, and George P. Parker.  It is generally conceded that Dr. Hatch was Chairman of the Building Committee, that he saw the building completed, and was also for many years an influential leader in its interests and efforts.  The building, though of wood, expressed and combined two qualities of good architecture, sometimes incompatible, grace and majesty.

The Rev. J. R. McCleskey was Pastor of Sandersville Church 1883-4-5 and served the Tennille Methodists.  It was under his leadership that the deed was secured and the church was promoted, though he was assigned to Waynesboro, at the Conference of 1885 held at Brunswick, by Bishop A. W. Wilson.  Dr. John B. McGehee was Presiding Elder 1881-5, followed by Dr. J. W. Hinton, Bishop Eugene R. Hendrix was the President of the 1886 Conference at Cuthbert.  The Rev. George S. Johnston saw the completion of the Church, and had it dedicated June 6, 1886.

"The new Methodist Church building is now nearing completion.  The edifice is of modern style of architecture, its appointments are beautiful and convenient and the whole is much admired, and very creditable to the tastes of the Building Committee.  It is to be formally dedicated on First Sabbath of June, and the sermon will be preached by Rev. W. H. Potter, D.D., Editor of the Wesleyan Christian Advocate, Macon, Ga.:"  Sandersville Herald, May 27, 1886.

"The new Methodist Church at Tennille will be dedicated next Sabbath." June 3, 1886.

"A large crowd from Sandersville is expected to attend the Dedication of the new Methodist Church on Sabbath."  June 3, 1886.

"Notwithstanding the inclemency of the day, quite a good congregation attended the Dedication Services of the new Methodist Church at Tennille on Sunday last.  Dr. W. H. Potter preached an excellent sermon, after which a collection was taken up to finish paying for the church before he could proceed to dedicate it.  The sum of $250 was easily raised and Dr. Potter dedicated the edifice to the worship of God."  June 10, 1886

The original building, flanked by Magnolia trees, remained a landmark and sentinel for nearly 55 years.  Through its doors passed Methodism's little pageant.  There came parents to dedicate their infants, there lovers pledged their faith, each to other, there the reverent gathered to pray, to this place came the heavy-hearted, to go away free and unburdened, within those walls men and women found a new and radiant way of life, and from its doors marched the bereaved, bravely bearing away their dead.  From the pulpit were heard the stern penalties of the Law, but far more often the tender grace of a forgiving Gospel.  So the old edifice stood and served.

But on Sunday morning about 11 o'clock, January 5, 1941 fire swept away Church and parsonage.  At once the people felt the impelling duty and necessity to rebuild.  A committee was appointed, funds were solicited, blue prints were studied, a new more desirable lot was bought, and a foundation was established.  Much that was worthwhile was accomplished.  For a while gifts, large and small, were received and deposited.  Then came World War II, priorities and uncertainty.  In a period of inactivity enthusiasm waned and the project was postponed.  Services were held in the Club House, tendered by the Women's Club, and in the Erin Theatre on the invitation of Mr. and Mrs. W. B. Smith.  Worship was sometimes conducted in the Christian and Baptist Churches, but such accommodations, so graciously offered, left much desired and needed.

Then followed days of hardship, weeks of perplexity, and months of discouragement.  The calamity fell on people and pastor alike, sparing neither.  A homeless congregation does not easily sing songs of triumph nor fearlessly attempt new fields of conquest.

Always, everywhere, one may find stout hearts, loyal souls, who believe what ought to be can be accomplished - a fearless peerless few who dare speak out - and then add action to words.  In the summer of 1944, under the last year of the Rev. George E. Clary's term on the District, the dream was revived, the issue faced and met with determination.

On the Building Committee were W. B. Smith, Chairman and Mrs. W. B. Smith, Mr. and Mrs. C. F. Brown, Dr. and Mrs. O. D. Lennard, and Mr. and Mrs. T. R. Simmons.  No pastor ever had a better Building Committee.  Theirs is the achievement.  The members, friends in Tennille, Sandersville, - indeed friends from far and near, have all made an investment to the glory of God, to the future generations.

Two men also deserve especial praise and sincere gratitude, Mr. W. E. Dunwoody, Jr. of Macon, the architect, and Mr. Carroll Griffin of Atlanta, the contractor.  They have exceeded the limits of professional interest and artistic pride, through friendship and good will, and also made substantial donations.

At the Dedication the Auditorium was full and some where seated in class-rooms.  A short sketch of the history of the old church and the new building was read.  Mrs. W. B. Smith, Jr. was the first to be announced as a member within those walls.  The pastor chose as his subject, "John Wesley, an experiment in the field of religion."  Then Rev. G. E. Clary, of Trinity, Savannah, and former District Superintendent, performed the Act of Dedication.

The church cost $22,000.00 and the funds came largely from the local membership, though checks came from Vancouver, Washington, and Roanoke, Virginia.  No Loans or Donations were accepted from the Board of the South Georgia Conference or from the Board of Church Extension in Louisville, Kentucky

Among the guests were:
       Mr. and Mrs. J. N. Holder, Jefferson, Georgia
       Mr. and Mrs. Carroll Griffin, Atlanta, Georgia
       Miss Kathleen Griffin, Atlanta, Georgia
       Mrs. Ruth Smith, Atlanta, Georgia
       Mrs. J. M. Richardson, Atlanta, Georgia
       Mr. and Mrs. D. G. Mitchell, Macon, Georgia
       Miss Addie Rie McKellar, Macon, Georgia
       Dr. C. L. Ridley, Macon, Georgia
       Mr. Henry Kaplan, Macon, Georgia
       Mr. and Mrs. C. c. McCrory, Jeffersonville, Georgia
       Mr. and Mrs. W. Lofton Thompson, Wrightsville, Georgia
       Mrs. J. H. McCalla, Conyers, Georgia
       Dr. Clare McKellar, Tifton, Georgia
       Mr. and Mrs. B. J. Tarbutton, Sandersville, Georgia
       Mrs. Rosa McMaster, Waynesboro, Georgia
       Rev. B. A. Winburn, Tennille Baptist Church
       Rev. and Mrs. E. G. Orahood, Tennille Christian Church
       Mr. Wm. Thompson, Columbia, South Carolina
       Mr. and Mrs. Wm P. Swartz, Jr. Roanoke, Virginia

Before recording the names of the Pastors, it is fitting to make a few observations.  The Methodists at Tennille followed the conventional and traditional pattern established throughout the Conference.  Apparently, first a Sunday afternoon appointment served by the Pastor of the Sandersville Church, and then a full Sunday each month.  Later the Tennille congregation became the head of a circuit, allied with one group or another of country churches.  Then, about 1941, Tennille again became a full-time station, as it is today and should ever remain.

The names of teh pastors from 1898, as gleaned from several sources, and their terms of service follow:

Tennille United Methodist Church Ministers

1898 -- 2005

T. H. Thompson................................................................................. 1898-1899

E. J. Harper........................................................................................ 1900

J. L. Jerdine........................................................................................ 1901-1902

Francis McCullough........................................................................... 1903-1904

Walter Anthony.................................................................................. 1905

J. N. Peacock..................................................................................... 1906

Wesley Lane....................................................................................... 1907-1909

J. A. Rountree.................................................................................... 1910-1911

W.F. Hixon......................................................................................... 1912

T. R. McMichael................................................................................ 1913-1914

E. A. Sanders..................................................................................... 1915

Artemus Lester................................................................................... 1916

Charles M. Meeks.............................................................................. 1917

E. O. Heath......................................................................................... 1918

W. A. Mallory.................................................................................... 1919-1921

J. W. Tinley........................................................................................ 1922

L. C. Gray.......................................................................................... 1923

Herbert Ethridge................................................................................ 1924

Leroy A. Brown................................................................................. 1925

A. W. Quilliam, Jr.............................................................................. 1926-1929

M. W. Carmichael.............................................................................. 1930-1931

C. F. Starnes....................................................................................... 1932

J. C. Saville....................................................................................... 1933-1938

S. L. King........................................................................................... 1939-1940

W. R. Smith........................................................................................ 1941

D. P. Melson...................................................................................... 1942

E. L. Brock and J. A. Thomas............................................................ 1943

I. E. McKellar.................................................................................... 1943 ---