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America’s religious heritage


Courtesy Conyers CVB

Monastery of the Holy Spirit

[ Conyers, Georgia ]
The Monastery of the Holy Spirit has called Conyers its home for the past 68 years. It was in 1944 that 21 monks left Gethsemani, Kentucky, and made the trek by train to start their own Trappist Monastery in Georgia. Today, the community is spread across 2,300 acres and consists of 49 monks of all ages who live, work and pray together daily.

“This is Georgia’s only monastery,” said Harriet Gattis, tourism manager for the Conyers Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The monks came to Georgia at the invitation of Bishop O’Hara, 12 years before the Atlanta Diocese was established. This monastery gave birth to the local Catholic Church of Conyers, which later became the Parish of St. Pius Catholic Church.”

Groups touring around Conyers can also check out two of the oldest Protestant campgrounds still in existence, the Smyrna Presbyterian Camp Ground (1827) and the Salem Camp Ground (1828).

Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill
[ Harrodsburg, Kentucky ]
Set in the heart of the Bluegrass region of Kentucky, the Shaker Village in Pleasant Hill is a community that has been carefully restored over the years to preserve a piece of American religious history. This area is the largest restored Shaker community in America, more than 3,000 acres of countryside where a remarkable society, the Shakers, once flourished.

“The Shakers were a communal society who believed they were creating ‘Heaven on Earth,’” explained Aimee Reed Darnell, publicist for the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill. “They got their name from their charismatic way of dancing, and they believed that work was worship. They were a celibate group, and the Shakers lived as brothers and sisters in Christ and relied on converts to survive.”

This village now contains 34 restored buildings set among rolling farmlands. Groups can explore this homage to the longest-lasting communal Shaker society with trips aboard the Dixie Belle riverboat or a visit to the Living History Museum before enjoying a Shaker-style bonfire with music and dancing.