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Bulloch County Historical Society features roles of rural churches in annual lecture
Bulloch County Historical Society

The history and importance of rural southern churches will be featured during The Bulloch County Historical Society’s

28th annual Averitt Lecture Series Sunday March 1, at Statesboro’s Averitt Center for the Arts.

The free lecture, followed by a reception, begins at

3 p.m. in the Emma Kelley theater. The program is presented by Sonny Seals and Greg Hart, co-founders of Historic Rural Churches of Georgia. That is also the name of a book that will be discussed, said Bulloch County Historical Society member and spokesperson Virginia Anne Waters.

The BCHS hosts a lecture every year, in honor of the late Professor Emeritus of History Jack N. Averitt, Ph.D., and his wife the late Addie D. Averitt who started the lecture series in 1990.

The Jack N. and Addie D. Averitt Foundation

sponsors the lecture series, and the Bulloch County Historical Society hosts it with further support from corporate members.

The purpose of the lecture is “to present outstanding thinkers and authors who can contribute to the public’s understanding and appreciation of Southern history, literature, and culture,” she said.


The book and the sponsors


In its book by the same name, The Historic Rural Churches of Georgia “presents forty-seven early houses of worship from all areas of the state. Nearly three hundred stunning color photographs capture the simple elegance of these sanctuaries and their surrounding grounds and cemeteries,” according to the group’s website

The mission of the Historic Rural Churches of Georgia organization “is the preservation of historic rural churches across the state and the documentation of their history since their founding. If proper care is taken, these endangered and important landmarks can continue to represent the state’s earliest examples of rural sacred architecture and the communities and traditions they housed,” the site reads.

“It tells what rural churches meant to the development of our country,” Waters said. “Churches were not just the religious centers, but the community centers, the political centers, the dating centers.”

Sonny Seals is the chairman and co-founder of Historic Rural Churches of Georgia. Presently he is the founder and managing director of Eton Partners LLC, a retained executive search firm.  Prior to founding Eton Partners,  Seals was a senior executive with A.T. Kearney, a global management consulting firm, and Russell Corporation, a textile and athletic apparel company. He is an active member of the Atlanta Arts Community and has served on the Alliance Theater Company board of directors for several years.  A graduate of Georgia Tech, he has served on several boards there including the Alumni Association Board of Trustees and the Ferst Center for the Performing Arts.  He presently serves on, and is the former chair, of the external Arts Advisory Board at Georgia Tech.

George Hart is the President and co-founder of Historic Rural Churches of Georgia.  He has a career that includes senior positions in the technology and real estate industries in Atlanta.  He is especially interested in inner city, adaptive re-use developments. Having served on the board of the Atlanta Humane Society for man , he presently serves on the board of Historic Oakland Foundation, where he was the past chair.  Hart is a former Naval officer, a graduate of Emory University and the Harvard Graduate Business School.

The Bulloch County Historical Society welcomes the public to enjoy this lecture.

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