Covid-19 Update from the Bishop & Cabinet: Watching carefully the rise in COVID infection rates

St Johns UMC - South Central


John O. Ward was born in 1866 and moved to Blackshear as a young man to be a section foreman on the railroad line. He married Lilla Brewton and they lived in Blackshear. Mr. and Mrs. Ward founded Ward's Chapel Methodist Church in 1899. He was the Sunday school superintendent for 32 years, until his death, and she taught Bible class from the time the church was organized until 1945 when she died.
St. John's Methodist Church was founded by Mr. and Mrs. Ward in October 1904, and was named St. John's by Mr. Ward’s mother, Mrs. Mary G. Ward. The Wards visited Mrs. Sallie Steedley Dedge to solicit her interest in starting a Sunday school at her home for that part of the community. The original church that was built still stands today. The first pastor, Rev. R. E. Bailey, was appointed in December 1903. It was originally a mission church with Blackshear FUMC, but in 1922 it was added to the Screven Circuit. In 1939, this church was transferred back to Blackshear. From 1940-1945, it was on the Winona Park Charge. In November 1947, St. John's was moved to the Pierce Circuit. In June 1979, this church became a station church with Rev. Dennis Stalvey as the first full-time pastor. 
Initially, the sanctuary was located a quarter of a mile from its present location. It was moved in 1932, under Rev. F. A. Ratcliffe's pastorate, because the members wanted a cemetery adjacent to the church structure. The land was given by Mr. and Mrs. Lawton Shuman. Moving the church was a tremendous event using a stump puller belonging to Riley Dixon. Miles A. Howell let his mules pull the stump puller. Mrs. Adrian Westberry presented a new Bible in later years and the gold altar cross was presented to the church in memory of David Altman, who died in the Vietnam War. Mrs. Rhoda Roberson presented the altar furniture in 1953, in memory of her husband, O. S. Roberson. 
St. John's 50th anniversary was celebrated on October 17, 1954, with Rev. W. L. Huggins, the pastor in 1914-1915, delivering the morning message. The Sunday school building was constructed, by the church members in 1952-1953, during Rev. Ashley E. Hobbs's pastorate. An addition including a kitchen and two bathrooms was completed in 1971. The sanctuary has been renovated with celetex on the ceiling, a choir loft, gas heaters and air conditioning. Under Joe Thigpen's leadership, an addition was made to the education building which added two classrooms, a social hall, kitchen, and storage. All labor was donated by the men of the church. This church won Church of the Year for the Waycross District in 1976. In 1978, a parsonage was purchased and St. John's became a station church.  



4363 St. John's Church Road
Blackshear GA 31516

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