On Thursday, October 17, 2019, people gathered from around the nation to celebrate 100 years of the Lord’s faithfulness to a small town nestled in Northeast Georgia. When G.F. Taylor arrived in Franklin Springs in December 1918, he could not have imagined what the century would hold.
In his article, A Significant Centennial, Presiding Bishop Doug Beacham gave an account of the early days of the Georgia Conference, the Pentecostal Holiness Church Publishing House, the Franklin Springs Institute, and Franklin Springs Pentecostal Holiness Church. “The movement toward Franklin Springs becoming a hub of the young IPHC began when Georgia Conference Superintendent G.O. Gaines and others bought the property in 1918 for the use of the denomination. Since at least 1914, Gaines had earnestly prayed that the Lord would make way for the IPHC to gain the 87 acres of the Franklin Springs,” Beacham stated. One hundred years later, over 700 people celebrated the Lord’s goodness throughout the century.
In honor of this special occasion, LifeSprings Resources and Franklin Springs P.H. Church joined with the annual Emmanuel College Homecoming Weekend to commemorate the past, celebrate the present, and anticipate the future. On Friday evening, Emmanuel College hosted a “Historical Walk Down Spring Street” with stops which included Granny Jones’ Garden and Nash Chapel. At each location, Emmanuel students provided a historical monologue representing the thoughts and experiences of the era.
Emmanuel honored Bishop Preston Mathena at the Alumni and Friends Luncheon with the Distinguished Alumnus Award, and Emmanuel College Vice President Brian James received the inaugural “Heart of the Lion” award for their outstanding service and contribution to Emmanuel College. President Ron White expressed his gratitude to God and to the faithful alumni who have stood with Emmanuel over the last several years. White said, “As we celebrate the past, our vision is focused on the future. Today, we have a bright and promising future. God has preserved us for these 100 years for a purpose.”
Following the luncheon, President Ron White, Board Chairman David Roberson, and IPHC General Superintendent Doug Beacham dedicated the 2019 Victory Memorial and gave thanks to God for His faithfulness during Emmanuel’s recent financial crisis. Like the stones in Joshua 4:6-10, the memorial on The Quad serves as a reminder of what the Lord has done. “These stones remind us that we are Emmanuel – God with us,” stated President White.
Saturday afternoon, Presiding Bishop Doug Beacham, Bishop Tommy McGhee, Dr. Tony Moon, and Dr. Dan Woods provided a panel discussion on the “Heritage of Emmanuel College and the IPHC.” In another historical tribute, IPHC Archivist Dr. Harold Hunter provided tours of the King Heritage House, home of Bishop J.H. King, throughout the weekend.
Emmanuel’s centennial celebration culminated Saturday night with over 700 in attendance for the Centennial Homecoming Celebration featuring “A Doorway in Time,” written by alumnus Buck Hodge. Accompanied by the Centennial Homecoming Choir Reunion directed by Tres Ward, the program portrayed the life of Caleb Mooring as he traveled in time to the beginnings of Emmanuel College. His encounters with legends such as G.F. Taylor, T.A. Aaron, Granny Jones, Dr. John Swails, and Beatrice Coley helped him find his God-given purpose and pursue it. The historical account, along with the anthems of the reunion choir representing decades of Emmanuel Singers, gave praise to God for his goodness and faithfulness to the college.
The festive weekend concluded Sunday morning at the Franklin Springs P.H. Church (Springs Church), which was filled to capacity for the Centennial Homecoming Service. Pastor Harrison Lampley welcomed the crowd, and Secretary Jonathan Bell shared the history of the church. The Emmanuel Singers led in songs of praise and thanksgiving, followed by special guest and former pastor Dr. Doug Beacham who spoke on “The Riches of His Glory” from Matthew 6:25-33. Sharing from the life of G.F. Taylor, Beacham reminded the audience, “The riches of His glory always start with vision, prayer, and perseverance. May we not forget that as we move to the future God has for us.”
The humble city of Franklin Springs, Georgia, has played a significant role in the life of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church. From its beginnings as a place to find healing from the mineral springs, to a home for a publishing house, denominational headquarters, and Christian college, Franklin Springs holds a special place in many hearts. From here, they continue to transform lives, train leaders, and take the gospel to the ends of the earth. May the next 100 years continue to be filled with the riches of His glory!