Photo courtesy of  Elizabeth Vance

Jeffrey Fowler (Warren County), Hannah Wilcher (Greene County), Mandy Barnhart (Ga. Dept. of Economic Development), Jackie Butts (Taliaferro County), Elizabeth Vance (McDuffie County), and Allen Haywood (Hancock County) pose together after winning tourism award.

On Sept. 11, at the Georgia Governor’s Tourism Conference, the Historic Pews & Pulpits Ramble was awarded the Bill Hardman Sr. Tourism Champion Award for Partnership.

The Historic Pews & Pulpits Ramble is hosted by a coalition of tourism organizations in Greene, Hancock, McDuffie, Taliaferro and Warren counties, with promotional support from Historic Rural Churches of Georgia (HRCG).

Historic rural churches in the five area counties listed above are featured on the biannual “Historic Pews & Pulpits Ramble” bus tour.  Bus stops are made at each church location and narrators are on hand to share the church’s history.  Time is allowed for questions, walking and photographing the grounds.  

This initiative is viewed as a crucial aspect of the marketing of the historic resources in the five county coalition; therefore, we are committed to continuing the project for the foreseeable future.  There are 28 HRCG churches located in the five county region, allowing for an infinite mix of unique tour presentations.

“This partnership and tour has given me a chance to promote the Wrightsboro Church to a whole new group of people,” said McDuffie County Tourism Director Elizabeth Vance. “The group itself has become a great example of teamwork and how partnering with neighboring communities can create more opportunity and visitors for everyone. This is especially important in smaller or more rural communities. I’m very proud to be a part of this team.”

Goals for the Historic Pews & Pulpits committee included:

•Raising awareness of the historic churches in need of preservation.  

•Funding interpretation at the historic churches and other historic sites, which will provide history narratives 24-7 for visiting tourists. The coalition has funded eight  audio boxes for churches so far.

The Bill Hardman Sr. Tourism Champion Award for Partnership is given to an alliance that collaborates to increase visitation and tourism expenditures in Georgia.

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