Savannah, Georgia, Religion and Spirituality
Savannah Real Estate Owners Rejoice in Religious Diversity
Savannah’s communities were founded on the church and spirituality was the key interest among settlers. Establishing places of worship received as much priority as the trading posts, town square and other necessities of a small settlement.
Savannah’s earliest religious roots were planted when Jews arrived in 1733 with the colony’s founder, General James Oglethorpe. Evangelical Lutherans followed these worshippers in 1734, and soon Scottish Highlanders, German Moravians, Dutch, Welsh and Irish settlers arrived.
The Jewish congregation established the Temple Mickve Israel, which is the oldest Jewish congregation in the south and the third oldest synagogue in America. The Temple serves as a cornerstone in the Jewish community today.
In 1735, Methodist brothers John and Charles Wesley arrived and conducted Anglican services on outlying islands. John Wesley provided services in French, German, English and Swiss. He taught himself Spanish so he could speak with many of the Spanish / Portuguese Jewish settlers.
The First African Baptist Church is the oldest African American church in North America. The church’s beginning dates back to 1773. Listed in the National Register of Historic places, the present sanctuary was erected by the congregation in 1859 and is the first building in the State of Georgia owned by blacks that was constructed of brick. Its pipe organ was installed in 1888, and the church is active today as a worship center and museum.
French Catholics founded the first Catholic parish in Savannah after an uprising in Haiti in the late 1700’s. The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist began as a small frame church and later became the huge structure that stands today. The current building, which continues to be a thriving church, was constructed in 1876 and later refurbished in 1998. The building is open for tours.
Scottish settlers founded Savannah’s Independent Presbyterian Church in 1755. The current structure was built in 1890 and is in use today.
Today’s worship choices are plentiful throughout the city and include Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, African, AME, Muslim, Unitarian Lutheran, Baptist, Pentecostal and Greek Orthodox. //