Friday, February 12, 2010
It has been said that Macon has more churches per capita than any other city in the South; clearly, religious life has been an important part of the community from its earliest years, exerting both spiritual and political influence. The Episcopalians were the first denomination to organize (1825), joined shortly by Baptists, Methodists, and Presbyterians (1826), which entities continue in existence as Christ Church (Episcopal), First Baptist on High Street, Mulberry Methodist, and First Presbyterian. Other faiths followed: Catholics in the 1830s, Jews in the 1840s, the Christian denomination in the 1880s, Christian Scientists in the 1890s, and by the turn of the century, Adventists, Theosophists, Free Methodists, Pentecostals, Lutherans, Nazarenes, and Free Will and Primitive Baptists.
In the late twentieth century came Evangelicals, Church of God, Holiness, Jehovah's Witnesses, Unitarians, Mormons, Muslims, and Baha'i. African Americans worshiped in their masters' churches during slavery but broke into separate congregations after the Civil War and now represent numerous denominations, many of which are independent. Of the more than 250 congregations in Macon, by far the greatest number has been Baptist, with Methodist a distant second, but increasing numbers are non- or interdenominational.