and Resource Tools
|408 South First
Street ~ Cordele, GA 31015
(Download a printable
copy of the history of Christ Episcopal Church here
In his address to the Diocesan Convention of May 19, 1892, the Rt.
Rev. Cleland Kinloch Nelson, then Bishop of Georgia, named Cordele
as one of several towns which needed “to be attacked (to use the
warlike phrase proper to a militant church) and to be strongly
manned.” He pointed out that Cordele was a place where the church
has, as yet, no foothold.
At 10:30 a.m. on November 24, 1894, Bishop
Nelson and the Rev. W. Woodson Walker, Rector of Calvary Church,
Americus visited Cordele. It is probable that Episcopalians in the
community had held meetings in various homes prior to this time,
obtaining the services of visiting priests when possible. This was
the usual pattern of Episcopal “missionary activity” in Georgia
until the latter nineteenth century and continued until
congregations were able to erect church buildings.
records of the beginnings of Christ Church were lost in 1944 when
the priest’s residence burned. However it is known Bishop Nelson and
Rev. Walker returned to Cordele in late 1896 and met at the Arthur
Kirkland home with D. Ed Kennedy, C.C. Cutts and several others to
finalize the organization of the Episcopal Church in Cordele. It is
believed a church building was already under construction at the
time as the present frame structure was consecrated February 14,
1897. The original instrument of consecration, signed by Bishop
Nelson on that day, may be seen in the narthex of the church.
Christ Church, originally, was built on
“Gunboat Hill” at the corner of South 9th St. and West 17th
Ave. Shortly after the turn of the century, exact date unknown, the
building was moved to the intersection of South 7th St.
and East 14th Ave. At this time church school rooms were
added to the rear of the structure. Moving the church the second
time proved to be more difficult than anticipated and, according to
newspaper accounts, the church sat almost in the middle of busy U.S.
Highway 41 for a part of the time.
Now known as “the most traveled church in the Diocese of
Georgia” the original building was moved to its third and present
location at South 1st Street and East 15th
Avenue in 1952. The first service was held at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday,
August 8, 1952. On May 10, 1953, Bishop Middleton Stuart Barnwell
re-dedicated the twice, transplanted church.
There are many original items that still serve
the church. The handmade pews were installed in 1897. A photograph
of the church’s interior shows the altar, brass altar cross which is
engraved on both sides with different designs, and a pair of flower
vases presently in use. Though not dated, we believe these items to
be original or from the earliest years of the church. A pair of
Eucharistic candlesticks was given in 1944.
A complete interior
renovation, including the Sacristy,
was done in 2012 which included refinishing the heart-of-pine
flooring, cleaning and re-fitting the pews and kneelers,
re-carpeting and painting the interior and exterior of the church
and the exterior of Holmes Hall.
One of Christ Church’s
early priests, the Rev. John M. Walker, later became bishop of The
Diocese of Atlanta. It was during his tenure in Cordele that Christ
Church purchased its first vicarage in 1915. There have been three
other houses to serve as vicarages, the present at 605 15th
Avenue, next to the church.
In the late 1950’s, Mrs.
Annabelle Holmes donated funds for the construction of a parish
hall, dedicated in 1961 as Holmes Hall. During the years the hall
was reconfigured and now consists of the dining/meeting room,
priest’s office, computer and record room, nursery, youth Sunday
School Room, food pantry, storage room, kitchen, rest rooms and
library which serves, also, as the adult Sunday School Room. The
rear was paved, a roof was added and it now serves as a patio for
relaxing and outdoor cooking.
On All Saints Day, 1990
the original parish hall was dedicated and consecrated as All Saints
Chapel. Daily Morning Prayer is held there each weekday and other
services on occasion.
On December 28, 1994,
the Sabra Coleman Memorial Garden was consecrated and blessed by the
Rt. Rev. Harry W. Shipps. Mrs. Helen Bowmar was the first member of
Christ Church to be interred here on March 18, 1995. Nameplates of
members/family members enumerate others now in the garden.
The church was expanded further in the first
year of the millennium when the Rt. Rev. Henry I. Louttit granted
permission for purchase of the lot adjacent to the vicarage which
offers immediate use for recreation, parking and the potential for
future growth. A bell tower was added to the church yard while Fr.
Jim Parker was our priest.
Christ Church has a small but growing,
diverse, giving, caring congregation. We seemed to have moved across
the barriers of racial divide without the turmoil that usually
accompanies inclusiveness. Fr. Van Rennick broke the color line at
the then segregated A.S. Clark School by becoming its first white
teacher. The Arthur Jacksons, an Afro-American family were our
initial confirmands. Mr. Jackson served on the vestry and paved the
way for others seeking a diverse congregation. Women have served our
church as visiting priests, vestry wardens and members. The
consecration of Bishop Gene Robinson at the 2003 General Convention
was accepted and neither fought against nor endorsed.
Memorable times were our
100th Anniversary and briefly becoming a parish during
the time Fr. Ed McCoy was priest here.
Christ Church takes pride in its
Ministry/Outreach Programs. Significant among these are:
1)Worship on the Water, a summer ministry at the
Resort dock at Lake Blackshear for lake residents, campers, resort
roomers, boaters and others.
2)Relay for Life, fundraisers for the American
Cancer Society are held by dedicated volunteers and cancer survivors
later honored at the Cordele/Crisp Relay for Life Event.
3)The Dennis Reddick Memorial Golf Tournament
raises funds for the award of scholarships to deserving
4)Little Red Wagon Food Pantry donates food to
With the help and support of the newly awarded
Church Growth and Development Grant, we are eager to move forward in
growth and service.
Click icon above to download Adobe Reader
10:00 - 12:00