First Church Building Completed in 1936
Brick chapel completed 1941
Handicap ramp added 2006
Brick Manse Completed 1965
"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
Had it not been for the vision and faith of a few, where would our church be? We thank God for directing the Independent Presbyterian Church of Savannah to be concerned for the spiritual Welfare of a new community in West Chatham County, Industrial City Gardens (later, Garden City), and thirteen citizens of that new community who were willing to step out in faith to establish a chapel. In January, 1935, in the home of Mr. and Mrs. H. W. Tuten of Industrial City Gardens, Dr. Samua l. McPheeters Glasgow and the Reverend Bonneau Harris Dickson, pastors of Independent Presbyterian Church, made proposals to establish a mission outreach in the new community. L. H. Smith, a Savannah real estate and land developer offered a plot of land. Within three months canvass and building committees had been formed and funds pledged and collected to put the wheels in motion! On March 16, 1935, construction of a wooden sanctuary was begun and by May 31, 1935, the building was ready for use. The Building Committee reported at the Chapel's formal opening that the total cost, including furnishings, amounted to $1,191. The newly appointed treasurer, J. Howard Bishop, challenged the Chapel to "Go, Glow, Grow" in the years to come. And speaking of growth, the following Sunday, June 2, 1935, a Sunday School was organized with 85 present at the very first gathering. The Organizing pastor and first pastor of our church was Reverend Bonneau Harris Dickson, then Assistant pastor of Independent Presbyterian Church of Savannah.
The wooden sanctuary was officially dedicated on Sunday, June 7, 1936. By the end of 1936, the Men and Women in the Church groups and the Young People's League were organized and Boy Scout Troup 23 was started. That same year, an educational annex with additional classrooms were added to the sanctuary. A lot on Smith Avenue was purchased for $675 for construction of a manse. On August 3, 1938, the Dicksons moved into their new home at 20 Smith Avenue. Construction of a permanent brick sanctuary was begun July 27, 1941. On November 30, 1941, with a membership of 283 (including the membership of The Hermitage, another mission outreach of Independent Presbyterian), and our Chapel - in - the - Gardens was received into Savannah Presbytery as Chapel - in - the - Gardens, Presbyterian Church. Six elders and ten deacons were elected, ordained and installed. In 1956, the Chester F. Monk Educational Building was erected and dedicated. In January, 1965, a new manse was completed at 91 Smith Avenue and occupied by the Reverend William T. Wing, Jr. family.
Another step of faith occurred in 1972 when a one class kindergarten was started. In September, 1975, the kindergarten was expanded to two classes of five year olds and, in September, 1978, a class of four year olds was added. Since 1978, Chapel - in - the - Gardens Kindergarten had become Chapel Christian School. Due to the fall in attendance, the school closed in 2005.
Defending the truth that the Bible, the Word of God, is infallible and inerrant, and upholding the doctrine of the Reformed Faith, Chapel - in - the - Gardens severed ties with Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS) in 1973 and united with Central Georgia Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America, (PCA).
In January, 1985, 50th year, we again stepped out in faith by purchasing the property adjacent to the church. We celebrated our Golden Anniversary on Sunday, October 13, 1985, with special Homecoming services and two of our former pastors, Dr. Bonneau H. Dickson and the Reverend William T. Wing, Jr. participated in the worship services and festivities.
In 1994, Chapel-in-the-Gardens begins its 59th year. This New Year is bright with promise as we look forward to the arrival of a new pastor, Reverend Daniel L Clay. As we commit anew to serve the Lord Jesus together in this community and beyond, as we accept the challenges, He has prepared to strengthen our witness, and to “go, glow, and grow” for His honor and glory. In 1999 Reverend Clay accepted a call elsewhere. From 1999 to 2001, Reverend Bob Hoyle served as interim pastor, at which time Reverend Daren L. Russell came to us in October of 2001.
In October, 2001, Rev. Daren L. Russell was received into Central Georgia Presbytery and installed as the new Pastor of Chapel - in - the - Gardens Presbyterian Church. He is an affiliate Evangelist with PEF (Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship, Decatur, GA) and is a chalk artist, using music and black lights for various Christian themes. Rev. Russell has been married to Tyminda Tinnie, of Bristol, Tennessee for seventeen years and they have two children, Hannah and Zachary.
The church focuses on three priorities: Following Christ, Enriching Fellowship, and Furthering the Gospel. Along with other ministries that the church has are Sunday School for all ages, Sunshine Charmers, a ministry to Senior, Youth group for ages 4 to Senior High. The church also supports foreign and home missionaries and mission agencies.
Pastors serving at Chapel-in-the-Gardens
Reverend Bonneau H. Dickson 1935/1943
Reverend J. Boyce Nelson 1943/1946
Reverend Chester F. Monk 1946/1954
Reverend William E. Hotchkiss 1954/1957
Reverend Clyde F. Pratt 1958/1964
Reverend William T. Wing, Jr. 1965/1972
Reverend Paul E. Rowland 1972/1981
Reverend G. David Russell 1981/1985
Reverend Tommy R. Carr 1985/1993
Reverend Daniel L. Clay 1994/1999
Reverend Bob Hoyle (Interim Pastor) 1999/2001
Reverend Daren L. Russell 2001/