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Antique bell stolen from historic Black church in Madison County

By Joe Johnson

An antique bell was recently stolen from a historic Black church in Madison County.

Waggoners Grove Baptist Church in Comer is offering a reward for the bell’s return, and Madison County Sheriff Michael Moore has promised to match whatever amount is raised.

The black iron bell that is believed to be over 100 years old was stolen sometime between the mornings of March 19 and 21 from where it had been on display outside of the church, according to an MCSO incident report.

The theft was reported by church Activities Director Shelia Collins.

“I have no doubt that it being taken is a horrible blow to the church congregation,” said Madison County Sheriff’s Captain Jimmy Patton “The bell is well over 100 years old and was placed at the church by relatives of some of the current members."

“The church is offering a cash reward for any info leading to the return of the bell and Sheriff Moore has stated he will personally match whatever reward the church puts up,” Patton said.

Waggoners Grove Baptist Church opened its doors in 168 years ago, in 1855, and has been a part of the Madison County community ever since.

It is the oldest historically Black missionary church in Madison County and one of the oldest in Georgia.

“I’m very upset” about the bell’s theft, church member Marion Deadwyler told WSB-TV, saying that a pastor baptized her at the church when she was a little girl.

“We went to a little pool with the pastor some miles away, and later they built a pool here and that’s where my kids were baptized at,” Deadwyler said.

Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to contact MCSO Investigator Chris Guest at 706-795-6220.

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