According to WTOC News on Saturday, the historic church known as “The Smallest Church in America” was damaged in a suspicious fire late Friday night. Investigators believe the fire was deliberately set. The McIntosh County Fire Department responded to a 911 call around 1 a.m. Saturday morning. When firefighters arrived, the entire church was in flames. It took them only a few minutes to put the fire out, but the small church is a total loss.
The church has been a fixture in Townsend, George since 1949. It was the vision of Anges Harper, a local grocer. She wanted the chapel to serve as a place of meditation and rest for weary travelers. It was a stop for thousands of I-95 and US Highway 17 travelers. Although small, the structure had beautiful stained glass windows imported from England. The inside of the church was equipped with a pulpit and a few chairs. The size was not the same of the average church, but the presence of the Lord was there.
Local ministers led non-denominational worship there every third Sunday, and the church was very popular as a unique structure. The historic church was a tourist attraction. Even though it was small, Toni Miller said she and her husband got married there on New Year’s Day in 1998. Another wedding was scheduled to take place there in May of next year, according to WJCL News.
Many residents are hoping the church will be rebuilt. In fact, some have already begun to raise money to rebuild the community’s landmark. A GoFundMe page has been set up to fund restorations to the building. The goal is to raise $5,000. In the two days since the fire, half of that amount has already been raised.