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Georgia group making moves in rebuilding Southern Baptist birthplace

 

According to Pastor Ron Drawdy of Second Baptist Church in Thomson, the congregation of First Augusta sold the old church building, above, in the late 1970’s to the Southern Baptist Non-Profit Historical Society. Since last fall, several improvements have been made, including a new roof.

THOMSON - About 30 pastors from around Georgia have joined together to help in preserving the birthplace of the Southern Baptist Convention.

That non-profit group, known as the Southern Baptist Landmark Association, is calling on Southern Baptists to contribute in preserving the original First Baptist Church building in Augusta, where the SBC was first convened in 1845.

Over the years, time has taken its toll on the edifice. Some renovations have already been undertaken by the group.

"The roof was leaking, it was deteriorating and very musky," says Ron Drawdy, pastor of Second Baptist in Thomson and head of the SBLA. "Pigeons were living in there."

The fundraising endeavor is centered on participants purchasing personalized clay bricks that will create a walkway lining the churchyard.

The walkway will be arranged in three sections: church and ministries contributing, remembrances of family and/or friends, and participating members of the business community. Each brick is available for a tax-deductible gift of $100.

The nonprofit group Southern Baptist Landmark Restoration looks to help in refurbishing the old First Baptist Church building in Augusta. Cracked and peeling paint on interior walls has served as a reminder of the building’s age.

Drawdy serves as president of the Southern Bible Seminary, which is backed by Second Baptist and occupies the educational section of the old First Augusta building.

Originally built in 1821, a major rebuilding of the sanctuary was approved in 1899 and completed three years later. In 1967 a weeklong sesquicentennial celebration was held to mark the original formation of the congregation, complete with a service of consecration with Billy Graham.

For more information on participating in the restoration project, contact Drawdy at (706) 726-1161 or southernbibleseminary_extension@yahoo.com.