The Bass House
History of St. Margaret's
An amazing lay spirit has lifted and led this congregation since its beginning as an “unorganized mission” in 1892. For 60 years it functioned as the smallest religious organization in Carrollton, holding services in its tiny chapel on White Street and West Avenue.
The significance of being named for the 11th century Scottish Queen Margaret is not lost on its members today. St. Margaret always fed the poor at her table, serving them first. She also restored the 500 year old monastery on the Scottish Isle of Iona. The church has modeled itself on Queen Margaret’s charity. To symbolize the connection, the Rev. Dewey Gable in 1953 arranged for a small stone from the Ionian ruins to be placed in the altar at St. Margaret’s.
After a sudden growth spurt in the ‘50's, the current Williamsburg style church was built on Newnan Street. The spirit of strong lay leadership kept the church thriving with grace through six “priest-less” periods.
Through inspired leaders money was raised for Outreach by having a Thrift Shop run by church members and Christmas bazaars, even conducting services and providing adult education in the spirit of love and commitment
By the late sixties, St. Margaret’s attained “Full Parish Status” and built a Parish Hall in 1970. St. Margaret’s Day became an annual celebration on November 17, 1970. In this spirit of unity, the Rev. John Boucher arrived in time to help reconcile a “charismatic” schism. Through strengthening the worship fellowship, he left a healthy church for the Rev. Jim Callahan in 1982.
This popular priest inspired the parish with his dramatic sermons, done after long study and with no notes. He made his flock laugh with him, at the “zaniness and wonder of life.”
His main accomplishments were: the Soup Kitchen, started with the Lutheran and Carrollton Presbyterian Churches, and now serving thousands of meals each month. And, St. Margaret's Outreach, headed with humor and energy by Barry Staples. She started the Paper Pantry for needy new mothers and Homework Helper for kids in public housing who needed help in school work. These programs and many others are still important to the St. Margaret's Community Outreach program today.
When Rev. Callahan retired in 2000, the congregation searched for over a year for a replacement. The search committee found warm, dynamic Rev. Hazel Glover as the successor on May 1, 2002. Under her leadership, the grounds and buildings were beautifully renovated and unified for better flow. With the arrival of Laura Lenaeus as Youth Director, the young people’s programs for all through 12th grade are blossoming. Likewise, Catherine Gordon’s charismatic leadership of St. Margaret's Community Outreach, after Barry’s death in 2005, has assured the church's position as being “Christ’s Body”in the community, where the “least of these” can be served..
In an effort to expand its coverage to more people, St. Margaret's Community Outreach was instrumental in establishing the Circles of West Georgia, an innovative, community-driven way to effect poverty. Circles’ mission is to inspire and equip families and communities to thrive and end poverty. Circles of West Georgia is part of a network that includes 75 plus communities in 23 states and parts of Canada. St. Margaret's Community Outreach will continue to conduct its program locally and be a feeder organization to screen and refer needy clients to Circles.
In 2012, St. Margaret's razed the old Gable House which housed church offices and Outreach meeting and service rooms. In it's place the church built the two-story James E. Callahan Center to provide new offices and a much expanded and efficient work place for the church clergy, staff and Outreach staff and clients.
In 2015 the church was given the Bass House as a gift by the Roush family and Laura Richards. This large residential property fronts on Cedar Street and backs up to the church. Final plans for its use have not been decided, but it will become a rich part of St. Margaret's future history and growth.