What’s happening in People and Places

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Bethesda Baptist Church in Union Point celebrated its 200th birthday on Nov. 11, 2018, worshiping in the historic sanctuary/church building that was formerly Whatley’s Mill. Former pastors who took part in the service included Terry Duvall, Lem Clark, and Jim Olds. Bruce Lovin is the pastor.

Clay Layfield


First Baptist Church in Eastman recently celebrated their 13th anniversary with Clay Layfield, associate pastor of music and senior adults.


Pastor Alton Burrell, 71, died Oct. 8.

Alton Burrell

Burrell was born in Clarkesville and went on to become a U.S. Army veteran, serving in the South Carolina and Georgia National Guards. A Methodist preacher in the mid-1970s, Burrell was ordained by Clarkesville Baptist Church in 1980 and in the years after preached at Hollywood Baptist in Clarkesville, Crossroads Baptist in Carnesville, and Ball Ground Baptist Church in Ball Ground. He also served as interim pastor at Carnesville Baptist Church and last preached at Shiloh Baptist Church in Toccoa.

In the community, Burrell was a chaplain and firefighter for Deep Creek-Habersham County Fire Department and Carnesville Fire Department as well as chaplain for Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department. A Boy Scout in his younger days, he also was a scoutmaster for Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.

Preceded in death by his brother, Robert Howard Burrell, and two infant sons, he is survived by his wife, Florrie Gail Carter Burrell of Carnesville; a daughter, Leigh Whitlock, of Carnesville; a son, Jason Burrell, of Demorest; and seven grandchildren.


Jean Ward

East Atlanta Church Pastor Jean Ward was recognized by ATL’s Hottest for his work in the community and as a ministry leader at the event held at New Calvary Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta. Through nominations and votes from the public, ATL’s Hottest honors individuals in the groups of Media, Secular, and Gospel at three different events according to the group.

Among Ward’s noted work was his involvement in community outreach, food pantries, and working with local government to address needs. Whereas nominees in the category of Ministry Leader average around 1,000 in attendance, East Atlanta Church currently averages 60. 



Ministerial Moves

Tarrytown Baptist Church recently welcomed Clifton Drawdy as pastor. He is joined by his wife, Nancy. 



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Bible Study for Feb. 17: When Materialism Consumes
Bible Study for Feb. 10: When Marriage is Questioned