Hillcrest Baptist Church is home to 119 church members from the Emanuel County community and surrounding areas. The church located in Swainsboro has been led by Reverend Jonathan Shepard since 2017.
In early 1952, Hillcrest began to blossom as a mission of First Baptist Church in Swainsboro. Eleven years after, the church was built on East Coleman Street. In 2002, the church was struck by lightning and burned to the ground and just a year later, a new church was under construction.
Hillcrest has been a spiritual home for many Emanuel County families. Cherry Carruth, a resident of Swainsboro, loves her friends that have turned into family through church. “Brother Jonathan and his family mean everything to us, and we are truly blessed to have them at our church. We look forward to the many years to come and with our church family,” said Carruth.
Throughout the trials and tribulations of life, Vicki Sherrod says her church has kept their faith and moved forward towards a bright future. “With COVID-19 hitting us hard close to the first of the year, many changes occurred this year,” said Sherrod. “It has been truly amazing what God has been doing.”
The church has recently been in the spotlight for hosting a revival where nearly 200 individuals were led to Christ. This is what has been called the “Swainsboro Awakening.” The Hillcrest revival, hosted by evangelist D.R. Harrison, was originally booked only for four days and has been extended to three weeks.
The members of Hillcrest are excited to see the continuation of what the revival will do in the lives of the youth of Emanuel County. Carruth says, “The youth have held signs in the center of town, and they have reached out to individuals that have never been in church.
Moved to a 3,500-square-foot tent just off Highway 56 North, “The Awakening” started on January 11 until. The services will be held Monday through Friday nightly at 7 p.m.
Social distancing will be practiced at each nightly service. “There will be ways to social distance with even a drive-up and chairs six feet apart. There will be a mask provided if you choose to wear one and sanitizer provided,” said Carruth.