Pleasant Grove AME Church of Hinesville celebrated its 150th church anniversary and new sanctuary dedication on June 23. The new doors opened to a packed house of church officials, dignitaries, church members and community friends late that morning.
Organized June 29, 1869 in Taylors Creek, Pleasant Grove like other churches and families flourished until the United States Government purchased the church property and buildings to make way for Camp Stewart. This exodus scattered communities, families, churches and schools into surrounding communities and counties. Stories have been told of new military draftees leaving the Taylors Creek area before the families departed and returning home to totally new homes and communities. While it was not a time of high celebration to leave family homesteads, patriotism and the love of country were the overwhelming motivators to abide by the government’s decision.
In 1942, Pleasant Grove AME Church was rebuilt on Highway 38 in Allenhurst. Men, women and children worked to settle their families and then devoted evenings and weekends to rebuilding the church. In the interim, church services were held at various schools and at the home of Lucious and Lindie Hall. Rev. Garfield Jackson preached from the front porch and the members sat on benches in the yard. Once completed, members in the area, surrounding communities and some former members of now disbanded churches reunited with Pleasant Grove. One of few churches to survive the move, Pleasant Grove became the annual gathering place during its Annual Camp Meeting for former African American residents of Taylors Creek, Willie, Cypress Slash, Strum Bay, Stewart Town, Boggs Town, Greasy Town and other now disbanded communities now a part of Fort Stewart.
The church has undergone several additions and enhancements through the years. After several years of deliberation the church family decided to construct a new church sanctuary to meet the needs of a new generation. Bishop Reginald T. Jackson, Presiding Prelate of the 6th Episcopal District led the dedication service. Many present and former members, visiting pastors and congregations from near and far filled the new sanctuary to capacity. Special appreciation is given to Rev. McRae Mangum and the Thebes AME Church Family and Rev. Richard Hayes and the members of New Day Community Church for altering their church schedules to celebrate with the Pleasant Grove Church Family.
In special recognition of the pillars of the church, wood plaques were presented to the “Living Legends” or former residents of the Taylors Creek area. This wood was removed from the first church built on the present location in 1942. The proud recipients were Agnes S. Quarterman, Lula P. Nelson, Louise M. Lovett, Rev. Earline B. Mikel, Clara P. Roberts, Dorothy S. Woods, Arlie M. Brown, Hattie LeConte, Mayme S. Jeffries, Mary Slater, Inez Hicks, Presiding Elder (Ret) Henry Frasier, Sr., Willmon Frasier, Lelon Fraiser, Carrol Bacon and Charles A. Frasier. A special presentation was made to Shirley Frasier, widow of former Hinesville Mayor Pro-tem Charles C. Frasier, who was a Trustee and the originator of the idea to salvage the wood. Additional plaques were also presented to Rev. John E. Morse, Jr. for his leadership in bringing this building project to fruition and Roosevelt Tazewell for his workmanship on the plaques. The theme for the event was “A Faithful Past- A Hopeful Future-The Journey Continues.”