In October 1872, members of the First African Baptist (F.A.B.) Church in St. Marys, Georgia, who were living on the Holzendorf Plantation, applied for and were granted a Letter of Dismissal from F.A.B. The members began working diligently on a church of their own. The original Evergreen Baptist Church was a log building, located on the Holzendorf Plantation west of the Seaboard Railroad. On August 18, 1873, Reverend Marshall Roberts conducted the first service at Evergreen Baptist Church.
As the congregation continued to grow, a second edifice was built east of the railroad near the Old Coastal Highway. This building was destroyed by fire. A third edifice was constructed on land adjacent to the south end of what is now known as Sanctuary Number One or Precious Lambs Child Development Center. This sanctuary was built under the leadership of Reverend G.M. Mizell, who was called to pastor in 1937.
Many answered the call to minister at Evergreen Baptist Church. Pastors who served between the tenures of Reverend Roberts and Reverend Mizell include: P.T. Grant, B.J. Roberts, P.J. Butler, N.H. Whitmire, F.C. Daniels, J.H. Thompson and J.M. Waye.
Reverend Mizell served as pastor until 1969. Under his leadership Evergreen experienced a building renovation and expansion program, including the planning and construction of a fourth edifice-Sanctuary Number One, which was completed in December 1968. The building was dedicated on April 20, 1969, and the Corner Stone Laying Ceremony was held on May 18, 1969. Ministers licensed and/or ordained under Reverend Mizell include Lonnie J. King, Norman Waye, and Edwin Waye.
Reverend Fred Williams was called to pastor Evergreen in 1969. Under his direction many improvements were made to Sanctuary Number One which included, constructing an auditorium; paneling the walls; installing new tile, carpet, pews, pulpit, and choir stands, constructing a social hall, kitchen, and ladies lounge.
During Pastor Williams' tenure, Roy L. Baker, Curtis Way and Leon Washington were ordained as ministers in 1982. Daniel Williams, Jr., Joe Bryant, Peter J. Baker, and Moses Reed were ordained as Deacons at the same time. This was also a period of renewed growth for Evergreen. The membership doubled and many auxiliaries were expanded to include junior members. Reverend Williams' tenure ended in June 1986.
In September 1986, Reverend Richard L. Gates of Jacksonville, Florida became pastor of Evergreen. Under his direction a church parsonage and indoor baptismal pool were added to Sanctuary Number One. Five deacons were ordained: Aubrey Randall, Donald Glover, Brian Washington, Oscar Morris and Richard Jeter. Evergreen began having worship services every Sunday during this period. Reverend Gate's pastorate duties ended in August 1987.
Reverend Leon Washington served as an Associate Pastor at Evergreen from 1981 to 1984. He was ordained at Evergreen in 1983. He served as Pastor at Genesis Missionary Baptist Church, Jacksonville, FL from 1984-1988. In April 1988, he became our pastor. As a result of his efforts in the church and community, many new members have been added or restored. Because of Pastor's anointing, Evergreen continues to prosper both financially and in her commitment to serve a risen Savior.
Pastor Washington was given a vision from God to build. As a result many improvements were made to Sanctuary Number One, including the installation of new pews, pulpit furnishings, carpeting, air-conditioning units and a roof. The restroom facilities and Pastor's Study were also renovated and new bibles and hymnals were purchased. The mortgage on the church parsonage was retired.
In 1994, Brother William Morris blessed Pastor Washington and Evergreen by donating a four and one-half acre parcel of land, located near Mamie Lou Gross Elementary School on Robert's Path in Kingsland, GA. We also purchased five acres of land, where our current edifice is located, and an additional ten acres of land adjacent to the Rosenwald School.
Many ministries were established under Pastor Washington's leadership including: Radio Ministry, Prison/Drug Abuse Ministry, Evangelism Team, Real Men for Christ, Laymen's Ministry, Shepherd Helpers, Intercessory Prayer Team, Hospitality Committee, Women's Ministry, Orientation Committee, Singles Ministry, Senior Saints Ministry, Mother's Board, Noon-Day Prayer Services, Mid-week Services, Victorious Voice Newsletter, Meal Share Program, Educational Scholarship Fund and Summer Camp.
By 1995, God had blessed Evergreen with a rapidly growing membership, which could no longer be accommodated in Sanctuary Number One. On October 13, 1996, the groundbreaking ceremony was held for our present edifice. In April 1999, construction was completed and a dedication ceremony was held on April 11, 1999. Reverend Cameron Alexander, President of the State Baptist Convention of Georgia, preached the dedicatory sermon.
Many soldiers for Christ have answered the call during Reverend Washington's tenure. Ministers licensed include: James (Clint) Glover, Kelvin Drummond, Richard Jeter, Timothy Fulton, Derry Mainor, Albert Fairley, Randall Stokes, Henry Horne, Eric Horne, Anthony Williams, William Smith, Nathaniel Maurice Poole, Deborah Simmons and Jason Washington . George Davis was also ordained. Ministers added by Christian experience: Charles Daniels, Martin Scott, Derrick Dallas, Dexter Graham, Nelson Turpin, Larry Randall, Leon Mack, Shyrel V. Mack, Laterryio Currington, Anthony Domacase, Jason Madison, Corey Dawson and Pandora Mikell. On March 11, 2007, the following ministers were ordained to preach the gospel: Reverend Albert Fairley, Reverend James C. Glover, Reverend Timothy Fulton and Reverend Derry L. Mainor.
Deacons ordained: Ed Andrews, Jr., James Bradley, Carl Currin, Alvin Glover, Jr., Lucius Johnson III, Derry Mainor, George Porter, and Derrick Smith. Deacons added by Christian experience: Gary Brown, Charles Clemons, Joseph Evans, Lonnie B. Mitchell, John Southall, Sr.,(deceased) Carroll Webb, Sr., Rudolph Whitley, and Sanford Stenson. On March 11, 2007, the following Deacons were ordained: J. Charles Campbell, Wilbert Green, Charles Harris, Therman McClamb, Johnnie Robinson, Wilber Smith, and Kenneth Waye. On July 22, 2012 these Deacons were also ordained: Lewis Burch, Phillip Foster Jr., Jontrel French, Shawn Hardy Sr., Andre Haynes, A.C. James, Milton Robinson, Heyward Rosemond and Frank Watts.
Evangelists called to service: Oliver Nightingale (deceased), Mother Florence Maiten (deceased), Peter J. Baker, Bridgette Glover-Jones, Sharon Rush and Martha Nightingale. Missionaries put into God's service: Mary L. Hall, Rayaltor Fulton, Martina Roberts, Jessie Shannon, Shelia Smith and Elvenia Williams.
God has given Pastor Washington a mighty vision for Evergreen's future. Precious Lambs Child Development Center opened its doors on August 7, 2006. We currently care for children ages six weeks to five years. We provide year round, affordable, quality childcare in a nurturing Christian environment. We also provide employment opportunities for our members and the community.
Since the Groundbreaking Ceremony on November 16, 2003, the activities at the Family Life Center (FLC) have continuously grown. Monday through Saturday members and friends take advantage of the Cardio Room; using treadmills, stationary bikes and elliptical machines to firm and tone. We have also hosted an Inter-faith League basketball and Family Skate Night. Our dining/banquet facility has attracted many events; wedding receptions, conferences and assorted banquets.
Living Water Substance Abuse Prevention Program is a faith-based program which includes an over-comers self-help group, counseling, referrals and substance abuse prevention education. The director is Minister Nathaniel Maurice Poole.