White Bluff United Methodist Church
Friday, April 28, 2017
In 1958, the outlying area to the south of the city of Savannah, known as White Bluff, was sparsely populated. Oakhurst, Paradise Park, and Windsor Forest were beginning to put down roots. The Superintendent of the Savanah District Methodist Church, the Reverend Dr. Anthony Hearn, and the Vice President of the Savannah Board of mission, the Rev. Thomas H. Johnson, together envisioned a new congregation to serve the growing south side area of Savannah. The call had come for the new church.
Rev. Johnson was appointed chairman of a Guiding Committee to find suitable property for a church location on White Bluff Road. Five acres of land located at 11911 White Bluff road, with a frame cottage and a small block building, once used as a store, was purchased for $16,000. Expansion Day funds, a loan from Mrs. Luisa P. Walker, and a matched amount from Dr. W.T. Knight, Sr., provided the monies necessary for the transaciton. An area promotional meeting was held in the block building on January 25 1959, and a survey of area residents was favorable. A date for a planning meeting was set and letters of invitation were mailed.
Growth in numbers and commitment of the young south side church led to a bold expansion program. In 1961, ground-breaking for the first permanent building, under the chairmanship of Mr. Stuart Knight, was established and the construction commenced for a sanctuary/fellowship hall (now Horton Hall), a kitchen and classrooms. Trinity Methodist Church of Savannah, White Bluff's mother church, contributed $10,000 to White Bluff's Building Fund on the condition that the church supply matching funds, which were quickly raised.
Enthusiasm (a word which has its roots in the words "God breathed") was flowing through the body of Christ at White Bluff and many of our traditions began in the first four years after the founding of the church. The name of the church was changed to White Bluff Methodist Church, in May 1961. In 1962, the women of the church organized weekly Church Night Suppers and the Women's Society of Christian Service (later The United Methodist Women) began. 1968 was a year of dramatic change for Methodism. The Methodist Church merged with the Evangelical United Brethren and our new name became White Bluff United Methodist Church. The church became incorporated in 1970 and later that same year plans for an educational wing were finalized.
Steady growth and faithfulness brought the construction of our third and present sanctuary which was consecrated on January 9, 1977. This is built in the shape of the cross. The nave is altar-centered, the altar table being in the exact center of the room, symbolizing that God is present in our midst and hopefully at the center of all we do personally and as the family of God. The altar table is located directly below the finial where the exposed beams intersect. Above the finial is the steeple, reaching 90 feet into the sky, lifting high the cross. The stained-glass windows are made of one-inch thick faceded glass set in 5/8-inch thick epoxy. The three large windows depict the Holy Trinity.
With the multitude of ministries expanding at White Bluff, more room was needed in which the people could serve and be served. In 1986, planning began for a "Christian Life Center" which was consecrated on April 29, 1990. This new facility provided 22,600 sq. ft. of additional classrooms, sports area, church office, and conference rooms.
Today our church is a thriving Christian community of hundreds of families that love and care for one another and are committed to the original statement of the church: "To develop and practice our faith in God, the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, through loving concern for our fellow church members, for others in our community, and for our distant neighbors throughout the world."
Note: This is just a brief history of our church. A more comprehensive history "The first 35 years, 1959 - 1994" is available in book form in our church office.