The spirit moved in Walton County Sunday as the community gathered for an inter-faith service followed by a Sunday afternoon luncheon just like they did back in the day. It was a celebration commemorating 200 years of faith in the county and was represented by pastors and people, young and old, of different faiths and different ethnic backgrounds, all coming together as one people of Walton County.
Opening with music by the First Baptist Church of Monroe Praise Band followed by the Salutation by the Reverend Derrick Malcom, pastor of Knox Chapel Baptist Church, and closing with the Recessional by the First Baptist Church of Monroe Praise Band Quartet, a time of prayer, music, history and Bible readings was shared in the Walton County Historic Courthouse. The Most Reverend Foley Beach, Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church in North America, pointed out the irony of having church in the courthouse in today’s times. He said as strong as the faith is in Walton County, statistically, 68 percent of the County’s population remains unchurched. He hoped that changes in the next 200 years.
The Rev. J.T. Witcher, as the youngest pastor at 20 years of age, noted that he pastors to the oldest church in the county. Founded in 1816, Double Springs Baptist Church predates the County, which was formed in December 1818.
Following the service, the community was invited to dine under tents on the back lawn of the courthouse, a church tradition from long ago when the population in the county was a lot smaller, but the faith was just as strong.
For more of the history of Faith in Walton County, click or tap on this link for the story in the Commemorative Bicentennial issue of Walton Living Magazine.