Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

February 27, 2010

Macedonia First Baptist Church honors Ralph Council

ALDOSTA — Ralph Council has spent a lifetime in Macedonia First Baptist Church.

He recalls coming to the church as a child, the next to the youngest of six children, with his parents, John and Fannie Council. He recalls becoming a member of Macedonia when he was 9 or 10 years old. He recalls the other children who became members that day many decades ago, easy to recall those friends because most of them, now in their 70s, are still members of the church.

They see each other every Sunday. They will see each other this Sunday when Macedonia First Baptist Church celebrates its 145th anniversary. The church honors Ralph Council with a longevity award for his lifetime involvement with Macedonia.

Council is a resource for the church’s wealth of information.

Macedonia First Baptist Church’s congregation was first called in the days following the Civil War’s end. Only months, really, following Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. It formed when Valdosta was about five years old. Through Reconstruction, segregation, civil rights and raised equality, Macedonia First Baptist Church has continued meeting and worshiping from the middle of the 19th century into the 21st century.

The church’s origins stretch back to the Rev. Charles Anderson. He had been born a slave in 1813 in Savannah, worked his way west with Georgia’s expanding railroad, moved from the fields to his master’s paint shop. Anderson became a skilled carriage painter, but also led church services.

Free at the end of the Civil War, Anderson began a congregation that became Macedonia First Baptist Church. The church eventually settled in its current location on what is now 715 J.L. Lomax Drive.

Ralph Council’s involvement in the church began before his birth.

His father, John Council, was from the Jeffersonville area of Georgia. John faced tragedy and responsibility at an early age. A storm blew the family’s house over, killing John’s mother. John’s father abandoned the children. John, the eldest son, raised his brothers.

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