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People Power

Mickey Goodman
Harriet Adams spearheaded the drive to save the historic Paces Ferry United Methodist Church.

Saving and preserving a historic church

Harriet Adams spearheaded the drive to save the historic Paces Ferry United Methodist Church.
Harriet Adams spearheaded the drive to save the historic Paces Ferry United Methodist Church.

Every time Buckhead resident Harriet Adams passed the corner of Paces Ferry and Mt. Paran roads, she would admire the Paces Ferry United Methodist Church, a tiny white clapboard building with red doors that reminded her of the church in North Carolina where she grew up. One Sunday, she and her family attended services. “As soon as I stepped through the door, I felt the presence of God,” she says. “Its simplicity makes it powerful.”

Not long thereafter, the lay minister announced his retirement. Another blow came when the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church threatened to close it altogether.

Adams, owner of Integrated Therapy, quickly organized a write in campaign, and along with members and neighbors, she pleaded for survival of the church and adjacent Pleasant Hills Cemetery, where William Brown, who donated the land, is buried. Their persistence paid off. The conference agreed to provide a minister whom they share with Collins Hill Methodist.

But their work is far from over. Updates are badly needed to the historic building that dates back to 1877 and served as a Confederate hospital. The fellowship hall needs to have air conditioning, heating and restrooms added.

“We’re raising money through breakfasts, picnics and neighborhood events,” Adams says. All proceeds go to the church’s capital fund.

To further cement its survival, members are also working to have the church listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and the Buckhead Heritage Society is helping preserve the gravestones.

For more information visit pacesferryumc.org.

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