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Our History

Early records tell us that Academy Church was constituted in 1810. However, a granite slab marker outside the church at the present time has the following inscription, “Academy Missionary Baptist Church Established in 1812.” Minutes of the Sarepta Association give us information to verify these dates. In 1811 no new church was added to the Association. In 1812 two unnamed, newly constituted churches were added. In 1813, the body voted to have the next annual meeting at Academy in Jackson County and in 1814, the meeting was held at Academy meeting house. Therefore, the church was constituted in 1810 and one of the two churches added to the Association in 1812 was Academy.

We do know that the church was dedicated in 1810 with Rev. Drury Hutchins presiding. He served as pastor for a number of succeeding years. He was the great- grandfather of L. E. Roberts, who was ordained by the church in 1894 and who preached his first sermon there. He belonged to the Roberts family often mentioned in this history.

The founders of the oldest churches in Jackson County had to endure many hardships. The territory was owned by England and occupied by Indians. The Indians were roaming the forest and posed many dangerous situations for the settlers. In fact, the first pastor of Oconee Church, the oldest Baptist Church in Jackson County, was killed in a battle with the Indians in 1801.

They were also involved in wars. The Revolutionary War, which lasted for eight years, finally brought freedom for the Colonies in 1776. Then, they were engaged in the War of 1812 but finally they were granted complete freedom from England and the Indians were moved westward.

Academy is the fourth oldest Baptist Church in Jackson County. Oconee was founded in 1788, Cabin Creek was established in 1796, Black’s Creek was built in 1803 and Academy was constituted in 1810.

Academy Baptist Church
A man named Jared Cunningham led in the founding of Academy Church. He came to Georgia from Virginia and settled at a location named YAMTRAHOOCHEE (now Hurricane Shoals) on the ETOHO River (now the North Oconee River). While living there he attended Oconee Baptist Church. He then decided to move westward in the county and settled on the ITHLOBEE River (now Middle Oconee River). He began making plans for a new church which he located near his homestead. It was a common belief that Baptist Churches needed plenty of water. So the Church known as Academy was built near three bold springs and a river. One of the springs provided water for the baptismal pool which was built near the Church.

The next official information about Academy Church is a deed issued in 1818. James Appleby to Edward Adams and Joseph Davis, deacons of Academy, and their successors ... James Appleby doth agree to relinquish, for the use of Academy Church, all rights, title and interest unto a certain lot of land containing five acres, more or less, including the Academy meeting house. This is the plot of land still owned by the Church.

Unfortunately, many of the old church records have been misplaced and some may have been destroyed by fire. Little is known about the oldest Church but some unofficial records state that it was destroyed by fire.

In 1872, J. N. Coile was called as pastor at Academy. The following article entitled, “A year at Academy” published in the Christian Index was written by Rev. Coile. This is the beginning of the church building in which services are still held today. Records in the Jackson County Courthouse state the date of August 1874 as the time the church was built. Another record states that Stephen Roberts, James Roberts, William Roberts and L. J. Hutchins paid the amount of $60.00 for the church and the school.

Also, in 1874, another deed gives us this information. This indenture made August 11, 1874 between James Roberts on the one part and J. L. Harrison, Stephen Roberts and P. J. Roberts, Trustees of the property named and held for the purpose of worshipping at Academy Church. In consideration of one dollar James Roberts gives all rights and title to a certain plot of land. No acreage is given but a recent survey gives us this information:
Records at the Jackson County Tax Office give four acres as the amount of land owned by Academy. After some research at the Jackson County Courthouse, two deeds were found granting acreage to the church – one by James Appleby in 1818 and another by James Roberts in 1874. The church voted to have a survey made of the property and, as a result of that survey, the church legally owns 8.86 acres of land.

Even though the building was constructed more than 150 years ago, the exterior of the structure remains the same today except for the addition of three Sunday School rooms and two bathrooms several years ago. In 2005, Melba Hanson, a former member at Academy and the great-granddaughter of Stephen Roberts, died. Her family made a generous contribution to the church in her memory. The money was used to put vinyl siding on the exterior of the building.

Academy Baptist Church
The interior structure has not been changed except the original floors were replaced with hardwood flooring many years ago. The overhead is ceiled with 8” hand planed boards and the walls are also the original 10” hand planed boards. The step-up pulpit is adorned with carefully skilled Victorian fan design architecture. It remains as exotic today as when constructed. The same pews made from wide planed boards are used today. Padded cushions have been added for comfort.

In the overhead ceiling near the pulpit area, there is a square covered area which covers a hole in the ceiling through which the pipe from the wood burning stove passed up through the roof. This heat source was replaced by gas space heaters and recently a central heating and air system was installed.

Interior improvements through the years are the installation of stained glass windows, ceiling fans, air conditioners and electric lights to replace the old kerosene lanterns hanging from the ceiling.

Three antique chairs still sit in the pulpit. They were donated by Julia Roberts Williams of Greenville, South Carolina. She was the daughter of James Roberts who was influential in the building and maintenance of the Church throughout his lifetime. In 2008, Cain Thurmond chose as a Boy Scout project the restoration of the historical baptismal pool at Academy Church. At one time there was a changing room adjacent to the pool. However, at that time, the structure was beyond repair.
First, they had to gain access to the pool area by clearing the path from the church to the pool. The former path was restored and now there is a bark covered, rock lined walkway to the pool area.

Then, they cleared the pool of all debris collected in it through the years and built a shelter that covered the historic pool for protection. Cain chose Academy Baptist Church as the site of his Court of Honor Ceremony. The pool has not been used for many years. The last person baptized there was Marian Davis Porter, the grandmother of Cain. Cain is also the grandson of the late Storey Porter, a long time deacon at Academy.

Since the Church was constituted in 1810, it has gone through many difficult times. But according to Sarepta Association minutes, it has been in continuous operation. It became a member of the Association in 1812 and has continued its membership until the present time. Annual meetings were held at Academy in 1814, 1828, 1852, 1885, 1910, and 1962.

Academy is also affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Convention.

About: About


The TeamKID Motto:

  • Learning About God

  • Using the Bible

  • Living For Jesus

The TeamKID Club Verse:​

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

  • Ages Pre-K thru 5th Grade

  • A meal is served every Wednesday Evening

Character Challenge:​

Character traits that God wants the children to develop; ranging from being honest, to being joyful. The topics each week challenge children to make that character trait part of their lives.

About: Our Mission

Academy Action Youth

The 4-Cs:

  1. Consider the Choice

  2. Compare it to God

  3. Commit to God's way

  4. Count on it 

If you skip number 3 however there will be a 5th C​:

5. Consequence to your Choice

The Action Youth Motto:

Being held accountable for our actions.

The Action Youth Verses:

Romans 11:11-19 and 14:12

  • Ages Middle School thru High School

  • A meal is served every Wednesday Evening

Character Challenge:​

Character traits that God wants the children to develop; ranging from being honest, to being joyful. The topics each week challenge children to make that character trait part of their lives.

About: Our Values

Pastor Eric and Sister Betty

Welcome to Academy Baptist Church! I am Pastor Eric Shelton and I would like to share a little bit about myself with you. I am a native of Madison County, Georgia and a graduate of Madison County High School. I entered the public work force at the impressionable age of 16, seeking only to satisfy myself. Growing up in a Christian home, and my dad being an Evangelist, I really didn't want anything to do with the church. I was running as fast as I could from any and all things dealing with the church ... but you can't outrun God, and He had other plans for me! Through the divine hand of God I was placed in a management position where I met Betty Oliver, a native of Jackson County, Georgia. We were working together and became friends. Betty invited me to go to church with her and, as you can guess, I went! Over the course of our dating, I was gloriously saved. We were engaged and married in 1986. 
I was called and commissioned for the mission field in 1998 with a home mission board and served with them for 5 years. God placed me at Academy Baptist helping the former Pastor in 2008. I was ordained in February 2011 and I am grateful for His call upon my life. 
Our goal is to be a ministry connecting with people and leading them to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. We welcome you to attend any of our services and experience what God is doing in His people at Academy Baptist Church. 
If you would like to contact me, feel free to send an email to
May God bless you and keep you!
Continuing in Christ,
Pastor Eric Shelton

About: Our Values

Academy Baptist Church Doctrine

  1. THE BIBLE: We believe in the authority and sufficiency of the Holy Bible, consisting of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, as originally written; that it was verbally and plainly inspired and is the product of Spirit-controlled men, and therefore is infallible and inerrant in all matters of which it speaks. We believe the Bible to be the true center of Christian unity and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creed and opinions shall be tried.

    Supporting Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:16,17; 2 Peter 1:19-21.

  2. JESUS CHRIST: We believe in the Lord Jesus Christ; Who is the Second Person of the Triune God, the eternal Word and Only Begotten Son; that without any change in His divine Person He became man by miracle of the Virgin Birth, thus to continue forever as both true God and true Man, one person with two natures; that as Man He was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin; that as the Perfect Lamb of God He gave Himself in death on the cross, becoming there the sin of the world, and suffering the full penalty of divine wrath in our stead; then He arose bodily from the grave and was glorified; that as our Great High Priest He ascended into heaven too, there to appear before the face of God as our Advocate and intercessor.

    Supporting Scripture: Isaiah 7:14; Micah 5:2; Matthew 1:18; Luke 1:31,33; 2:7; 1 Corinthians 15:14; Revelation 21:6.

  3. THE TRUE GOD: We believe there is one and only one living and true God, an Infinite Spirit, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of Heaven and Earth; inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor, confidence and love; that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct but harmonious offices in great work of redemption.

    Supporting Scripture: Exodus 20:2,3; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Revelation 4:11.

  4. THE HOLY SPIRIT: We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine person, equal with God the Father and God the Son and of the same nature.

    Supporting Scripture: John 14:6,17; Matthew 28:19; Hebrews 9:14; John 14:26; Luke1:35; Genesis 1:1-3; John 16:8-11; Acts 5:30-32; John 3:5; Ephesians 1:13,14; Mark 1:8; John 1:33; Acts 11:16; Luke 24:49; Romans 8:14,16,26,27.

  5. THE VIRGIN BIRTH: We believe that Jesus was begotten of the Holy Spirit in a miraculous manner, born of Mary, a virgin, as no other man was ever born or can be born of woman, and that He is both the Son of God and God, the Son.

    Supporting Scripture: Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:35; John 1:4.

  6. SATAN: We believe in the reality and personality of Satan, the Devil; and that he was created by God as an angel but through pride and rebellion became the enemy of his Creator;

    Supporting Scripture: Matthew 4:1-11; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 20:10

  7. THE FALL OF MAN: We believe that man was created in innocence (in the image and likeness of God) under the law of his Maker, but by voluntary transgression Adam fell from his sinless and happy state, and all men sinned in him, in consequence of which all men are totally depraved, are partakers of Adam*s fallen nature, and are sinners by nature and by conduct, and therefore are under just condemnation without defense or excuse.

    Supporting Scripture: Genesis 3:1-6; Romans 3:10-16; 5:12,19; Romans 1:18,32

  8. SALVATION: We believe that the salvation of sinners is divinely initiated and wholly of grace through the mediatory offices of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

    Supporting Scripture: Ephesians 2:8; Romans 3:24,25; John 3:16.

  9. GODLY LIFE: We believe in righteous living and godly works: not as a means of salvation in any sense.

    Supporting Scripture: Ephesians 2:10.

  10. SEPARATION: We believe in obedience to the biblical command to separate ourselves unto God from worldliness and ecclesiastical apostasy.

    Supporting Scripture: 1 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:9,10; 1 Timothy 6:3,5; Romans 16:17; 2 John 9-11.

  11. THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED: We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that only those who are justified by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and sanctified by the Spirit of our God are truly righteous in His esteem; while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in His sight wicked and under the curse; and this distinction holds among men both in the after death, in the everlasting happiness of the saved and the everlasting conscious suffering of the lost in the lake of fire.

    Supporting Scripture: Malachi 3:18; Genesis 18:23; Romans 6:17,18; 1 John 5:19; Romans 7:6 & 6:23; Proverbs 14:32; Luke 16:25; Matthew 25:34-41; John 8:21; Revelation 20:14,15.

  12. THE SECURITY OF THE SAINTS: We believe that all who are truly born again are kept by God the Father of Jesus Christ.

    Supporting Scripture: Philippians 1:6; John 10:28,29; Romans 8:35-39; Jude 1.

  13. SANCTIFICATION: We believe that sanctification is the divine setting a part of the believer unto God accomplished in a threefold manner: First, an eternal act of God, based upon the redemption in Christ, establishing the believer in a position of holiness at the moment he trusts the Saviour: Second, a continuing process in the saint as the Holy Spirit applies the Word of God to the life: Third, the finial accomplishment of this process at the Lord*s return.

    Supporting Scripture: Hebrews 10:10-14, 3:1; John 17:17; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Ephesians 5:25-27; 1 Thessalonians 4:3,4; 5:23,24; 1 John 3:2; Jude 24,25; Revelation 22:11.

  14. JUSTIFICATION: We believe that justification is that judicial act of God whereby He declares the believer righteous upon the basis of the imputed righteousness of Christ; that is bestowed not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer*s shed blood.

    Supporting Scripture: Romans 3:24; 4:5; 5:1, 9; Galatians 2:16; Philippians 3:9.

  15. RAPTURE AND SUBSEQUENT EVENTS: We believe in the pre-millennial return of Christ, an event which can occur at any moment, and that at the moment the dead in Christ shall be raised in glorified bodies, and the living in Christ shall be given glorified bodies without tasting death, and all shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air before the seven years of Tribulation (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 51-54; Philippians 3:20, 21; revelation 3:10) We believe that the Tribulation, which follows the Rapture of the Church, will be culminated by the revelation of Christ in power and great glory to sit upon the throne of David and to establish the millennial kingdom.

    Supporting Scripture: Daniel 9:25-27; Matthew 24:29-31; Luke 1:30-33; Isaiah 9:6 & 11:1-9; Acts 2:29,30; Revelation 20:1-4,6.

  16. PRIESTHOOD: We believe in the priesthood of all believers: that Christ is our Great High Priest and through Him every born again person has direct access into God*s presence without the need of a priest; that the believer has the right and responsibility to personally study and interpret the scriptures guided by the Holy Spirit.

    Supporting Scriptures: 1 Peter 2:5, 9.

  17. LOCAL CHURCH: We believe in the importance of the local church: that a New Testament church is a local assembly of born again, baptized believers united in organization to practice New Testament ordinances, to meet together for worship, prayer, fellowship, teaching and united testimony, and to actively engage in carrying out the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20.

  18. CHURCH ORDINANCES: We believe that Christian baptism is the single immersion of a believer in water to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem our identification with the crucified, buried and risen Saviour, through Whom we died to sin and rose to a new life; that baptism is to be performed under the authority of the local church; and that it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership. We believe that the Lord*s Supper is the commemoration of His death until He comes, and should be preceded always by solemn self-examination.

    Supporting Scriptures: Acts 2:36-42; John 3:23; Romans 6:3-5; Matthew 3:16; Colossians 2:12; 1 Corinthians 11:23-28; Matthew 28:18-20.

  19. AUTONOMY: We believe in the autonomy of the local church: that each New Testament church is free to govern itself without ecclesiastical interference, that it is responsible to follow the pattern of the New Testament church and is directly accountable to God.

  20. CHURCH AND STATE: We believe in the separation of church and state: that the church is to neither rule over nor monetarily support the state; that the state is neither to rule over nor monetarily support the church; that government should recognize and depend upon God; that government was established by God and is dependent upon Him for its very existence; that individual Christians are to support government by their prayers and taxes.

    Supporting Scriptures: Romans 13; Mark 12:13-17; Luke 20:22-26; Matthew 22:15-21.

  21. CREATION: We believe the Biblical account of creation of the universe, angles and man; that this account is neither imaginary nor myth, but a literal, historical account of the direct, creative acts of God without any evolutionary process, that man was created by a direct work of God and not from previously existing forms of life; and that all men are descended from the historical Adam and Eve, first parents of the entire human race.

    Supporting Scripture: Genesis 1, 2; Colossians 1:16, 17; John 1:1, 3:3.

  22. HOMOSEXUALITY: We believe that homosexuality is a sin not a lifestyle. We believe that Bible condemns this behavior. We condemn same sex marriage according to God*s design (one man for one woman). Not two men or two women, this does not constitute a partnership.

    Supporting Scripture: Romans 1:21-32; Lev. 18:22.

About: Welcome
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