VistulaArticle and Photomontage: Suzanne Steed

Vistula Community, sometimes referred to as "Little Africa" was settled by Black Americans years ago when Houston County was very young . 

This small community is located off Highway 21 west near Mapleton on a winding unpaved road.  The country-side has changed over the years with fewer people farming and trees covering the farmland.  

Small bridges still connect one area with another and roads often have grass growing in the middle.  The Union Grove Church still stands as well as the Vistula Church of God in Christ whose teachings were under the auspices  of Bishop Charles Harrison Mason.  The basic Theology of the Vistula Church of God in Christ was (as it is today )  that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is given to all Christian believers who ask for it.  Divine healing is practiced, not to the exclusion of medical supervision.  Holiness of life and practice are emphasized.  The ordinances of the Church, as act of obedience to Faith, are water baptism, the Lord's Supper and the Ordinance of Humility or foot washing.

This one room Church of Vistula is  one of a few examples of early  church architecture that remains. 

Today there is a new set of architectural ideas and designs that have replaced the wooden floors, open windows for cooling and light, wood heaters for heat,  and hard benches to sit.  Churches are larger, membership is greater and visions have broadened with access from a major roadway the only place to locate. The times have changed us.