Religion in Colonial Georgia

George Whitefield

George Whitefield

Georgia was founded by James Oglethorpe as a refuge for criminals. Along with criminals, in the early colonial times, Jews found refuge in the colony. The main church in colonial Georgia was the Anglican Church. The church constituted the most influential and largest congregation of Christians. It, though, was never the official religion of the state.

George Whitefield was a prominent English preacher in the early 18th century. He founded Bethesda, which was a home for orphans near Savannah in the 1740’s. He also was a major evangelist for the Anglican Church. Bethesda continued until 1805 when it burned down, but it was revived in 1855.

First African Baptist Church

Another big church in Savannah was the First African Baptist Church. It is one of the oldest Baptist Churches in America. It was formally established in 1788 for a small congregation of Black Baptists. During the revolutionary war, one of the main preachers, Georgia Liele encouraged his congregation to help the British Army near Savannah and Tybee Island, in South Georgia. The church has continued still to this day.

Many different religions practiced in colonial Georgia. It eventually became a melting pot of different beliefs. The only religion, though

that was not welcomed was Catholicism. It was banned in Georgia until 1777, but people still practiced in separate communities.

Today, Georgia is a Bible Belt state, where it is not unusual to see public prayer and symbols of different faiths in business. This steams from the fact that religion played a huge role in the lives of the early colonists and that Georgia was a very religiously tolerant state.

Sources:

http://www.city-data.com/states/Georgia-Religions.html

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Georgia_(U.S._state)

http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?path=/Religion/HistoricChurchesandSites&id=h-3623

Images

http://www.blackpast.org/?q=aah/first-african-baptist-church-savannah-georgia-1777

http://www.nndb.com/people/488/000096200/

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