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Church History

Methodism in the United States became an organized Church at the Baltimore (Christmas) Conference in 1784. Early on, Georgia was a district of the South Carolina Conference, but, in 1830 Georgia became a separate conference. An historian wrote, “The Savannah District probably included the counties of Screven, Effingham, Chatham, Bryan, Bulloch, and Liberty.” The Rev. Lewis Myers, one of the early circuit riders, was appointed supernumerary for Effingham County by the 1825 conference, and settled at Goshen. His name appears as a trustee of the Springfield Church on a deed to the church in 1831, although it is reasonable to think that there was a church in Springfield by 1825 or sooner. Over the years there have been several changes in Methodism affecting the Springfield Church. In 1844, the Methodist Church split over the slavery issue, and became the “Methodist Episcopal” and the “Methodist Episcopal, South” Churches. In 1939 the two bodies reunited and Springfield became part of “The Methodist Church.” Again in 1968, the Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren Churches united to form the present “United Methodist Church.” It was back in 1865, however, that the Georgia Conference was divided into the North Georgia Conference and the South Georgia Conference. So here we are The Springfield United Methodist Church of the Savannah District of the South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church. During these years, The Springfield Church found itself in various groupings known as “circuits”- as many as eight churches. However in 1962, Springfield became a “station” church as it is today.

There have been three church buildings, all on property bounded by Oak, Cleveland, Pine and Elbert Streets. The date when the first building became constructed is unknown, but it burned on the night of June 12, 1902. The members rallied to rebuild immediately, and the new building was used until 1949, when a brand new brick structure was erected (the present sanctuary). This was dedicated debt free on September 11, 1949, by Bishop Arthur J. Moore, Rev. W.D. Raburn, pastor and Dr. George E. Clary, Sr., District superintendent. Since then several building projects have been completed. An educational annex was finished in 1953. In 1979, additional office space and Sunday school rooms were added. Again in 1988, more Sunday school rooms, a large social hall (later named “Dent Hall” in honor of Dr. Joel and Joyce Dent), a fine kitchen, nursery rooms, restrooms, and parlor were added. With the addition of another full time staff person, adjustments were made for the pastor’s study, and provisions for the handicapped were accomplished. In September 1987, the Bragg property on the southwest corner of Oak and Cleveland Streets, and in January 1992, the Webb property on the southwest corner of Pine and Cleveland Streets were purchased. The Bragg house is now used as the Youth Building and the now vacant lot offers additional parking for the church. In 1995, a complete landscaping project was carried out to the make the approach of the church more attractive. And in 1997 the new parsonage was consecrated. In the Summer of 2001 another important building to the church began construction. The reality of the Family Life Center was a long time goal of the church to provide a place for the youth and children not only for recreation, but also for spiritual growth. The building houses a gymnasium, classrooms, kitchen, bathrooms and an upstairs loft. The Family Life Center was formally consecrated on April 21, 2002. It was built in memory of life long active members Mr. Abner Exley and his wife Mrs. Myra Pace Exley through their generosity of their surviving children Mrs. Cora Kight, Mr. Elmon Exley and Mr. Irby Exley and their grandchildren.

With the growth of Springfield United Methodist Church, another renovation was needed to accommodate the expanding church family. In September 2003 the church began an extensive renovation and expansion of the sanctuary and education building. The enlarging of the sanctuary added 128 additional seats with a balcony and redesigned the choir loft and chancel area. The church and the education building received new floor coverings, paint, doors, hardware and a HVAC system. The outside was also relandscaped to enhance the appearance of the church. A copper steeple was added on July 22, 2004 to the delight of the congregation. The complete project cost $1.2 million dollars and is being formally consecrated today, August 1, 2004. Under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, the Springfield United Methodist Church looks to do ministry in the 21st century with great joy and anticipation.

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