As we would have it, June 9, 2019, Gardners Church of God In Christ began as a mission in 1921. God sent two missionaries whose names are unknown to us, but they labored faithfully having service in a house. The word of God spread so rapidly until the house became too small for the amount of people; at times, the services were held under the trees near the house. In 1922, God moved in the heart of Mr. Baum Gardner to donate land so that a church could be built.
The Church was built, and Elder W.C. Whitlock became the first pastor. He was a very faithful leader until his death. Other church leaders followed: Elder E.W. Strickland, Elder Richard Threats, Elder Johnny Dell, Elder J.J. Grooms, Elder H.O. Dawson, Elder L.S. Martin, Elder Soloman, Elder L.R. Hood, Bishop F.W. Winder, and Elder E.J. Jones.
Elder E.J. Jones served as pastor from 1956 until 1984, he and his wife, Mother Essie Ponder Jones, served faithfully for 28 years until his transition from this present world. Under his leadership, the following additions were made: new lighting, bathrooms, electric pump, choir stand, gas heater, carpet, paneling, yard lights, new pulpits with furniture, piano, Pastors Study, the Senior choir, and the Burning Bush Gospel Choir under the leadership of Mother Annie Renfroe, Founder and her faithful assistants Sister Barbara Ann May, Sister Diane Ivey and Al Renfroe.
Elder Steve Pearson served as pastor from 1984 to December 2017; he and his wife, Evangelist Deborah Pearson served faithfully for 33 years. He also continues to serve as Superintendent of the Four-Square District with this year being his 17th year of service. Under his vision, the following additions were made to Gardners: Name changed to New Gardners COGIC, the old sanctuary became the new fellowship hall and named in memory of Mother Mary Lee Pierce, after the new sanctuary was built. Other additions: new lights, water cooler, church bus and van, furnished kitchen, new windows, porch awnings, church organ, extension of pulpit, new carpet, enlarging bathrooms, new bathroom fixtures, stove, refrigerator, new roof on church, heating and air conditioning system, pews, and baptism pool.
Bishop John Wayne Leggett, Southern Georgia 2nd Prelate Presiding Bishop served as Pastor from December 9, 2017 to December 9, 2018 with the support of his wife; Mother Alfreda Leggett. Under his leadership we continued to build our church spiritually and financially; we also had Elder Clifford Merrell as Presiding Elder of New Gardners COGIC, with the support of his wife Evangelist Geraldine Merrell. We were so blessed to have such influential leaders working together to continue the work of the Lord.
Elder Nathaniel Jordan officially became the Pastor of New Gardners COGIC on December 9, 2018 with an Anointed Jurisdictional Appointment by Presiding Bishop John W Leggett and the Jurisdictional 1st Assistants. With the support of his wife; First Lady Elsasheree Jordan and the New Gardners COGIC family, we are continuing to praise and worship our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we are uplifting our members with encouragement and love, and we are working to become kingdom builders as we journey towards eternal life.
We were blessed with elders who worked faithfully in the church prior to going out into their own ministries: Elder Clifford Merrell and Elder Ernest Harper. Currently Elder Kent Harden is still actively supporting the ministry in his role as a church elder.
There have been many Deacons and families who have labored in God’s Vineyard. They have been an asset to the church; the deacons were as followed: Fred Butts, Charlie Kelsey, Sam Dixon, J.B. Brown, Willie Renfroe, Moses Brown, Theodore Pierce, Herbert Smith, Clifford Merrell, Charlie Hill, Tracey Mack, and Ernest Harper, and Eddie Lee Merrell, Sr.
Serving on our Deacon Board: Inspiring Deacons: Bobby Renfroe, Henry May, Willie ‘Peanut’ Williams, Sammy Merrell, Leonard May, and Jerry Johnson, Sr.
Our first Church Mothers and Mothers who have served faithfully were the following: Mother Maggie Thomas, Mother Carrie Butts, Mother Ida Smith, Mother Winnie Davis, Mother Mary Lee Pierce, Mother Kate Butts, Mother Bessie Ivey, Mother Marie Heggs, Mother Leary Grooms, Mother Kate Harden, Mother Mary Mathis, Mother Hattie Evans, Mother Dora Abrams, Mother Gladys Bynum, Mother Velma Grady, Mother Vinnie Smith, Mother Dorothy May, and Mother Annie Renfroe.
The following Mothers of the church currently serving faithfully: Emeritus Mother Ella Mae Merrell, Church mother: Mother Daisy Walker, Mother Thelma May, Mother Ida Harden, and Mother Susie Johnson.
We have been blessed with several hardworking missionaries over the years: Missionary Lula Mae Ray, Missionary Dorothy Lawrence, Missionary Louise Fraley, Missionary Deborah Pearson, Missionary Willette Davenport, and Missionary Geraldine Merrell.
Present Missionary Department: Church Missionary, Missionary Mary Pierce and Missionary Debbie Price.
Missionary Betty Bell served faithfully as District Missionary for many years, followed by Missionary Cynthia Doyle.
Our District Missionary of Four Square District is now Missionary Debbie Price.
Another great asset to the church is the church secretary. This position has been held by many faithful members over the years. Having served in this position are: Brother L.C. Curtis, Sister Randy Hannah, Sister Dora Abrams, Sister Vernice Lane, Sister Sandra Thompson, Sister Pinkston, Sister Sheara Tillman, Deacon Clifford Merrell and Elder Kent Harden who served as finance secretaries.
Under the direction of Bishop John W. Leggett, the Financial Department now consists of a team. Sister Juanita Walker is serving as church secretary and Brother Willie Williams and Missionary Debbie Price are the financial officers.
Sunday School Department
The following members have served in the Sunday School Department: Deacon Henry May – Superintendent, Various members served as – Adult Teacher, Elder Clifford Merrell, Missionary Willette Davenport– Assistant Adult Teacher, Secretary – Sister Erica Bloxton, Mother Ida Harden – Treasurer, Sister Susie Johnson – Assistant Treasurer. During our transition, our Pastor Nathaniel Jordan became our Sunday school teacher and alternates between various members as led by the spirit.
Members who have served over the Youth Adult Class were, Mother Annie Renfroe, Evangelist Deborah Pearson, Sister Sally Merrell and Sister Lisa Lovett Missionary Debbie Price. Presently serving over the Youth Class is Teacher – Sister Rebecca Brown, Assistant Teacher – Sister Elsasheree Jordan. Previous Bible Band teacher was Missionary Mary Pierce. Currently serving as our Bible Band Teacher is Pastor Nathaniel Jordan.
Our Youth Department leaders: Previous Youth Pastor – Elder Kent Harden. Current Youth leaders are: Sister Tonya Fraley, Sister Rebecca Walker, Sister Juanita Walker, and Sister Erica Bloxton.
Our Hospitality Department previous members consisted of: Sister Sandra Thompson, Sister Barbara Coleman, Sister Delois Ivey, Sister Diane Ivey Dell, Sister Lois Merrell, Mother Dorothy May and Brother Nathaniel Walker.
Presently serving on Hospitality Department: Sister Sally Merrell, Sister Rebecca Brown, and Brother Sammy Merrell.
Our Usher board previous members consisted of the following: Mother Bessie Ivey, Mother Dora Abrams, Mother Kate Harden, Sister Mary Pierce, Sis. Dorothy May, Sis. Lois Collins, Bro. Nathan Smith, and Sis. Valerie Harden.
Presently serving on the Usher Board: Sister Sallie Merrell, Sister Rebecca Brown, Sister Sandra Renfroe; inspiring usher: Sister Tammy Brown; Junior inspiring ushers: Sister Makira Price, and Sister Janay Gibbons.
Our Pastors Aide previous members consisted of: Sister Dora Abrams, Sis Barbara Coleman, and Sis. Ollie Jackson, and Sister Delois Ivey.
Presently serving as Pastors Aides: Sister Marion Frye, Sister Juanita Walker, and Missionary Debbie Price.
Our Food Service ministry previously consisted of Sister Mary Alice Pierce, Sister Ida Harden, Sister Vernice Lane and Sister Dorothy May.
Presently serving: Mother Susie Johnson, Brother Jerry Johnson, Sr., Sister Janice Brown, Sister Tonya Fraley, Sister Tammy Brown, Sister Sheara Tillman, Sister Erica Bloxton, Sister Rebecca Brown, and anyone who is needed to serve our guests.
Music Department: Served in music department for many, many years was Elder Little Jack Lawrence; Other musicians included: Evangelist Vanessa Welch; Sister Shanese Burden, Brother Byron Burden, Brother Jessie Dixon, Minister Peter Sparks; Serving at this time as Mass Choir Director – Missionary Debbie Price, President – Sister Juanita Walker; Vice-President – Sister Tonya Fraley, Treasury – Sister Susie Johnson, Secretary – Sister Erica Bloxton; Key Boards: Sister Shontae Gaines, Deacon Eddie Merrell, Brother Nat Battle; Drums –Brother Eddie Merrell, Jr., Brother Harvey May, Master Josiah Jones, Master Brandon Fraley, and Brother Jeremy Brown.
Building fund department: Chair – Brother Willie Williams, Assistant Chair – Brother Sammy Merrell. Previous members – Deacon Bobby Renfroe, Brother Nathaniel Walker, Deacon Eddie Merrell and Missionary Willette Davenport.