“The Lord’s Acre”
In 1922, Rev. H.M. Melton of Bluffton Baptist Church challenged his congregation to set aside one acre of farmland and donate the proceeds from crops raised there to the cash-poor church. Seven farmers agreed — E.L Gay, J.B. Goodman, A.M. Hubbard, Dauss King, J.A. Mansfield, W.G. Rish and J.E. Shaw.
The “Lord’s Acres” not only thrived, but seemed impervious to the boll weevil that plagued the community in 1923.
As word spread of the success of the “Lord’s Acres,” many other congregations began to implement Lord’s Acres in their churches. By September 1924, Georgia Baptist reported that twenty thousand dollars (the modern equivalent of $250,000) had collectively been raised through the Lord’s Acre programs. Encouraged by a Time Magazine article in 1924 and later by the Lord’s Acre Plan of the Farmers Federation of North Carolina, the movement spread, becoming an international and interdenominational phenomenon that continues to provide funding for churches to the present day. The movement has grown beyond farmland to include projects of donated time and service, to auctions and sales featuring homemade goods, arts and craft.
Application to the Georgia Historical Society on behalf of the historical marker was submitted by Bluffton mayor Freddie Odom. The historical marker is sponsored by the City of Bluffton, Bluffton Baptist Church and the Georgia Historical Society.
Bluffton Baptist Church will host a dedication service and covered dish luncheon Sunday, April 14 at 11 a.m. The public is invited to attend. The church is located at 105 Broad Street in Bluffton.