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Exploring history of Goshen Church

POSTED: October 4, 2017 6:31 a.m.
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Goshen United Methodist Church and cemetery in 1976.

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It may surprise you to know that the current Goshen United Methodist Church was once Goshen Lutheran Church.
Goshen Lutheran Church was organized about 1751 and a small church was built about a mile from the current location further in the swamp. The Salzburger settlement had begun to establish plantations many miles outside of Ebenezer. It was too far to go to Ebenezer for worship by horse and wagon so churches were established on the plantations including Zion which was about 4 miles below Ebenezer, Bethany across Ebenezer Creek and Goshen on the road south to Savannah.
An epidemic of malaria caused the church to relocate from its first location. The current site is on much higher ground. Pastors came to Goshen from Ebenezer and held services on a schedule which was not every Sunday. Goshen remained part of the Ebenezer Parish until after the Revolutionary War.
Moravian missionaries used the church as a meetinghouse for a while.
In 1820, the Methodist Church organized at Goshen under the direction of Rev. James O. Andrew. Several years later a deed was purchased from the Lutherans and the church has been home to Methodists ever since.
The Rev. Lewis Myers moved to Goshen about 1823 and served as pastor for many years. He is buried in the cemetery adjacent to the church.
Goshen was once a town. The first Post Office in the County of Effingham was located there. It is reported that President Washington once stopped at Goshen for a visit at the Church Trading Post. The town of Goshen was noted for silkworm culture and brick masonry.
Goshen once had a parsonage located across the road from the church.
The cemetery is very old and has an old brick fence. The cemetery is the final resting place for families including: Ackerman, Arnsdorff, Exley, Hinely, Helmly, Mottweiler, Pittman, Seckinger, Wendelken, Zettler, Zipperer and Zittrouer.
Now known as Goshen United Methodist Church, an active congregation is led by Rev. Chance Ward. Goshen’s history can be sensed with a visit inside the historic church and a walk through the cemetery.
This was compiled by Susan Exley from Historic Effingham Society from “River to River, the History of Effingham” and the “Bicentennial History of Effingham County Georgia” published in 1976. If you have photos or historical information to share contact her at 912-754-6681 or email hesheraldexley@aol.com

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