This quaint church may be small in size but the impact it has had on the community it serves is significant. The Smallest Church in America is located in Georgia, off of US Highway 17 and nearby I-95. It is a mere 10 feet wide and 15 feet long and seats only 12 people. It was built in 1949 by Anges Harper, a local grocer who wanted to use her meager means to serve God. It is said that Ms. Harper's son died in a car accident on highway 17 as result of sleep deprivation that led to a fatal crash. In his honor she built the church as a safe place for weary travelers to rest on their journeys. For this reason it is open 24 hours a day and its doors remain unlocked at all times. Ms. Harper deeded the church to Christ, meaning that it has no owners and has been maintained over the years, by the good grace of caretakers. Patrick Young is the current caretaker, a role he has inherited from his parents. The church holds non-denominational services every third Sunday, led by Pastor John Maki, a former alcoholic and drug addict who has devoted his life to God and serving others. This little church attracts visitors from as nearby as the cities that surround it, and as far as Iceland and South Korea. Sadly, in an unfortunate incident of arson the church was set ablaze and burned down. The cross was among the only things to survive the fire. Thankfully, due to community coming together and donating time and resources, the church has been rebuilt and restored to its former glory. It now continues to serve the people and play a vital role in the lives of many.
This small church, in so many ways, is a symbol of hope.
All photos © Caroline M Bailey. All Rights Reserved.