The Fayette Citizen-News Page
Sunday, January 31, 1999
'A brand new church in an old location'

Contributing Writer

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The Antioch Baptist Church was constituted in March 1829 and several months later, it joined the Flint River Association, making it the second oldest church in that organization. A total of 19 members organized that first church with last names of Head, Gilbert, Strickland, Stell and Gay.

It also has the distinction of being one of four churches begun here in the 1820s that is still a viable congregation and proves its motto as correct, "A brand new church in an old location."

Another proud distinction is that it has all of its minutes from the beginning. A history room, created for its 166th birthday has many photos of previous ministers and early members.

The current sanctuary was built in 1966 and the educational building was erected eight years later.

Sunday morning services are at 10:45 a.m., Sunday School is at 9:45 a.m. and evening worship is at 6 p.m.

If you are interested in homemade sausage biscuits, you might want to be there before 9:30 a.m.

Covered dish dinners are held each fifth Sunday, right after the morning worship and each first and third Wednesday nights is soup and cornbread night, beginning at 7 p.m.

The Sunday School rooms for the youth have been painted by the individual class using it, and the walls are brightly colored with various Bible stories. The work was overseen by Beverly Fuller, who serves as director of children's ministries. Its Outreach programs are directed by Wanda Hawkins and they include gathering food for the Battered Women's group, and assisting a missionary in Brazil. Longtime Fayette Countian, Rubye Maxwell, has mastered the computer so she could contribute to the church by way of programs and brochures.

Last year, along with the assistance of Scott Johnson, director of singles at New Hope Baptist, the congregation began to really clean and clear the cemetery beside the church. Because so many unmarked graves were uncovered, (the project is still ongoing) it was decided to place a cedar cross at each one. Cedar trees that have fallen over have been found here and there, and R. O. Maxwell has made 40 crosses so far, with many more to go.

Dr. R. Elton Johnson, Jr., has served as pastor since 1994. Though born in Alabama, he was reared in Brazil and later became the third generation pastor to serve in that country.

He graduated in 1972 from Midwestern Baptist Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri. He received his doctorate in ministry at Luther Rice Seminary, which at that time was located in Florida, and has since moved to Atlanta.

He married the daughter of a minister, Joy, whose father served in the ministry for 65 years.

Their children include Elton Johnson III, who works as a paralegal in Hawaii. He was named as the Paralegal of the Year for 1998 there. David Carey Johnson works at Leggett & Platte in Human Resources and is a deacon in his church. Scott Johnson serves as director of singles for New Hope Baptist and is an ordained minister. Jonathan Emery Johnson, who works for Chick-fil-A as a senior consultant and is a deacon at Braelinn Baptist in Peachtree City.

The congregation was asked at a recent Wednesday night meeting the reason they enjoy Antioch Baptist Church and the replies included fellowship, dedicated people, an exceptionally qualified preacher, consistent and faithful members and enjoying the witness and unity of the fellowship.

The church is located at 144 Woolsey-Brooks Road and can be reached at 770-461-8270 or 770-719-2134.

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