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THE LOST (AND FOUND) BAPTISTERY


Supposedly, it was constructed around 1828; sometime between then and about 1930 it was forgotten and unused till discovered in May of 2002. No one knows for certain when the open air baptistery of Mt. Gilead Baptist Church in Fort Gaines, Georgia, was last used. In fact, it took weeks to locate anyone who even remembered it. Only a few people could recall the church ever having a place to baptize outside. But one member (who said he was "practically born and raised in this church"), remembers playing in the baptistery with his friends in 1932.


The baptistery was discovered when volunteers gathered to clear land for a parking lot in the woods across from the church. A deacon operating a backhoe hit something that attracted attention; the heavy equipment strained but couldn’t move whatever it was. Two additional deacons were called to bring hand tools to help clear the decades old accumulation of pine mulch covering the 600 gallon structure. These deacons didn’t know they had uncovered a century old baptistery; they initially thought it might be a grave or a septic tank. No one was as surprised about the find as were members of Mt. Gilead.


The bottom line of this is that it was found and is now in use once again. Once the baptismal was found to be functional, the congregation restored the tradition of holding baptisms in it.

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