Visit the St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Milledgeville Georgia.
During the Civil War, Union troops poured molasses into the organ’s pipes, making it useless. In 1909, New York Life Insurance Company replaced the organ and today and is still in the historic building.
Located on the Capitol Square in the historic district of Milledgeville, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church is one of the city’s gems. An extremely beautiful “Carpenter Gothic” edifice, this remarkable church is steeped in history.
When Union General William Tecumseh Sherman led his 30,000 troops into Milledgeville in November 1864, some of the soldiers quartered their horses in the sanctuary after first burning the church pews. Before leaving town, they poured molasses down the organ pipes. Such misdeeds did not dissuade the members of the congregation from continuing to hold services and to participate actively in the life of Milledgeville, Georgia’s capital from 1807-1868.
St. Stephen’s today is still much more than a beautiful and historic building. It is the home of a vibrant congregation of committed Christians who are proud to be Episcopalians and who have earned a reputation for being a caring and nurturing community. Members, numbering around 350, actively serve the church and the larger community. Some are on the Vestry, some sing in the choir, some are lay readers and/or lay Eucharistic ministers. Others serve on the Altar Guild, the Flower Guild, and/or as members of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew. Still others teach Sunday School or help buy, stock, and run the Food Pantry. Many find inspiration and solace in the quiet beauty of the worship services. St. Stephen’s is a community that welcomes all comers and invites their participation.
St. Stephen’s is well-known for functioning as a family in which every member feels at home, but it also reaches out to the larger communities of the city, the nation and the world.
It provides space for the Chard Wray Community Food Pantry that ministers to members of the local community who need temporary assistance with such basics as food; indeed, this is one of St. Stephen’s best known cooperative activities with other churches and agencies in the area. It regularly supports Relay for Life and the projects of the local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity. Its international concern has manifested itself in the assistance it has given to other areas of the world such as Sierra Leone in West Africa.
St. Stephen’s addresses the needs of all members of the congregation. There are Sunday School classes, held between services on Sunday morning, for young children through adults who wish to deepen their understanding of the Bible, of the Christian faith, and of the Episcopal tradition.
During the week Bible study groups and book discussion groups meet for study and discussion of relevant topics. Periodically instruction is given to those who wish to find out about the Episcopal tradition before they join the church. The St. Stephen’s Youth Group, which consists of a growing number of teenagers, is a vibrant and active part of the life of the parish.
Property acquired across from the Church has been to accommodate the needs of this very important group. The youngest members of St. Stephen’s have the opportunity of going every Sunday to their own specially decorated Children’s Chapel where they hear the Word of God. St. Stephen’s is also very proud of its Day School, well-known as the best pre-school in the area.
St. Stephen’s has a variety of church services. Saturday evening at 5:30 the Celtic Eucharist is based on the worship of the 4th to the 8th centuries. At 8 am on Sunday, The Holy Eucharist, Rite I, is celebrated with no music in the quiet of the early morning. At the 10:30 am Sunday morning service, on the other hand, there is a fully sung Eucharist enriched with the sonorous tones of one of the best organs in the country and the music, particularly the anthems, of a committed and competent choir.
The people of St. Stephen’s, like many good Episcopalians, do not neglect the social aspects of life. The entire congregation comes together from time to time for social activities like the Silent Auction, an enormously popular fund-raiser open to the entire community, and the “Low Country Boil,” held in some years on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Members also meet in smaller groups under the umbrella of a concept (known as “Foyers”) in individual homes for fellowship and meals.
The St. Stephen’s community is everything that a Christian community should be. It takes care of the needs of its members, spiritual, educational, social and otherwise, and in its outreach programs it concerns itself with the needs of others both near and far.
Amenities: Parking, Restrooms, Accessibility for mobility-impaired. Call for free tours.