Catoma Street Church of Christ
or D.d. 32.374510, -86.311313
Pelham J. Anderson
George M. Figh
David L. Gohen
A HISTORY OF THE CATOMA STREET
CHURCH OF CHRIST
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It would be impossible to record accurately all of the facts, dates, historical events, and works of the congregation, either benevolent or the preaching of the gospel, or to give full credit to all of those who, down through the years, have been a part of it, but my purpose in trying to record as much as possible of the history of the Catoma Street congregation has been a three-fold one.
First, to fulfill a commitment made to Brother E. R. Barnes and Brother N. L. Walker, esteemed Elders of this congregation for many years.
Second, to record dates, facts, names and events, associated with the congregation and its history, and also with the preaching of the gospel in this area in the early years of the restoration period, as related to me by Brother Barnes, Brother Walker and others.
Third, to compile a permanent record of the history of the congregation that will contain, an account of the events leading to its establishment, its establishment, and its works, efforts and progress since that time.
I want to express my appreciation to John Westcott for designing the cover and for advising me in the arrangement of the material.
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Stoneites — Gospel Montgomery County 1825 — William McGauhy — Mary Lumpkin — Emotionalism — Dr. Hooker 1840 — Church established at Strata — Fair Prospect — J. M. Barnes — Strata Academy — Highland Home Institute J. M. Barnes, preacher.
First sermon in Montgomery — Alexander Campbell's visits to Alabama — Regular preaching in Montgomery late 1870's — congregation established — Court House —names on first church roll — church on Herron street —W. J. Haynes — J. A. Hardin
Jewish synagogue for sale — History of Synagogue — E. R. Barnes' visit to synagogue as a boy — church purchases synagogue building — Herron street building moved to West End—John T. Poe.
J. A. Harding — T. B. Larimore — tent — Sammuel Jordon — picture of worship service in 1905 — Disciples of Christ — O. P. Spiegel — A. B. Dubber — S. P. Spiegel — church engages first full time preacher.
John E. Dunn — Birmingham, Alabama — Highland Park work — G. A. Dunn — O. P. Spiegel — S. H. Hall — C. E. Holt — Death J. M. Barnes — funeral services — New Hope, Alabama — C. A. Buffington — Luverne, Alabama — Fort Deposit, Alabama — C. M. Stubblefield — Bowling Green Orphan Home — E. A. Elam.
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Nashville Bible School — E. R. Barnes, N. L. Walker, Elders — Fred Little — W. T. Grider — C. R. Nichol — Debate (S. H. Hall - J. J. Walker) — Highland Park church — S. P. Pittman — T. B. Thompson — preacher's home — N. B. Hardeman — John L. Fitzpatrick death — S. K. Dong —Claude Woodruff — Highland Gardens church — D. Ellis Walker — annex built — C. A. Norred — Cuba - I. L. Boles.
James H. McBroom — Finley Ave. — R. L. Douglass, Rufus Furlong, Elders — Frate Bull, Flynn Cauthen, John Davis, Nix Lane, George Slauson, Bibb Stough, W. V. Stough, T. L. Perdue, deacons — fans in auditorium — Furman Cauthen — H. Leo Boles — Rawden Bullard — H. W. Busby — Athel Crowson — Dothan, Alabama — Cecil Perryman — James Smythe — Billy Norris — preacher's home sold — Potter Orphan Home — C. R. Brewer — Ray Dillard — Eufaula, Alabama — Hopewell, Virginia — J. M. Powell — Death of L. D. Cauthen and T. B. Thompson — support for church in Monroeville, Ala. — church building cleaned and tucked — Howard Allen — public address system installed in auditorium.
Elevator installed in building — Childhaven Orphan Home —Bible Chair at University of Alabama — Demopolis, Alabama — Warren Allen, song leader — Death of E. R. Barnes and R. L. Douglas, Elders — John Davis and T. L. Perdue ordained Elders — E. King and J. Britnell, deacons — Church in Wimona, Minn.—Linden, Alabama — E. C. McKenzie — Anthony Emmons — new heating system in building — Dr. Herndon ordained an Elder — Richard Rivers, song director — George L. Herring.
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Appleton church — Brother Herring at Hartford, Alabama — death of E. L. Cullom — article of tribute by E. R. Barnes — gifts to Childhaven and Alabama Christian College — Marvin Bryant at Gafney, S. C. — Jack Zorn, Donaldsonville, Georgia — Murray Stinson, song director — Sterl Watson meeting — Death of N. L. Walker, Elder — tribute written by E. L. Cullom — meeting G. K. Wallace — Don Latham, song director — meeting in October, different speakers each night — J. C. Bailey, India.
Work in India — Carl Johnson — Cecil Bailey to India —church at Linden, Alabama — Journey to Eternity — church at Millidgeville and Macon, Georgia — meeting with Franklin Camp — Brother Herring in India — The Baileys return to Canada — Herb Weir plans to go to India being sent and supported by church — meeting with Foy E. Wallace, Jr. — The Weirs return from India — support for India work continues — meeting with Rex Turner.
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In the early 1800's the seeds of New Testament Christianity were first planted in this part of the state of Alabama.
Brother N. L. Walker, a beloved member of this congregation, who served as a faithful and highly esteemed Elder for many years, said that if those in this part of the state, during that time, who were worshipping according to the pattern of the New Testament, had called themselves by a name other than Christians, it would not have been Campbellites, as they were often called, but should have been Stoneites, because the gospel was first preached here by men who were part of the movement undertaken by Barton W Stone, and those associated with him, to return to the principles of faith as revealed and taught in the New Testament. This movement began in Kentucky, spread into Tennessee, Ohio and Georgia, and from Georgia into the southern part of Alabama.
The gospel, as found in the New Testament, was first preached in, and around, Montgomery county around 1825. One of those taking part in this work was a man named William McGauhy. In 1828, while working and preaching in the Strata community, some twenty miles south of Montgomery, he baptized a young woman named Mary Lumpkin, who later became a big influence in the work of the church in that area. In 1830 Miss Lumpkin married Elkana Barnes, and from that union a son would be born who would become one of the great pioneer preachers in the restoration movement.
The preaching of the gospel in those days was done mainly by itinerant preachers, men who would travel through the countryside, preaching for a while in a community, then taking their message of faith on to another one. As a result of this, in too many places, after the preacher left, there would be no one to follow up or maintain the work that had been done, and in time it would be lost, with maybe the exception of one or two
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individuals. The community, as a whole, would soon forget the preacher and the message he had brought. This is what happened with regard to the work in the Strata community.
E. R. Barnes, son of J. M. Barnes, said, in an article describing those early times, "The religion accepted and practiced in early Alabama was dominated by emotionalism. People were taught that they had to feel their religion, that they had to be touched and moved by the Spirit. It was a religion of experience. People felt their fervor and they shouted to exhibit it. Preachers set forth the doctrine that God must be importuned and begged to save sinners. Much dependence was put upon divine help in conversion, and accordingly, saints prayed and had sinners to pray for salvation of sinners.
About 1840 an evangelist from Tennessee, named Dr. W. H. Hooker, came into the community in south Alabama in which Sellers and Strata were located. He preached a doctrine that was different from the emotionalistic appeal which the people had been used to hearing. It had been some 12 or 13 years since William McGauhy had preached in the community, and, though there were a few who had been there and remembered his message, he was unknown to the community as a whole, and as a result, the doctrine taught by this evangelist, though similar to that taught by McGauhy, was a strange one to the people.
Dr. Hooker taught that faith comes from an intelligent study of God's Word, and that obedience to the commands of our Lord, as found in the New Testament, was a prerequisite to salvation. He argued against sectarianism and for the unity of all Christians.
This evangelist preached a return to apostolic teachings and methods of worship, with no man-devised ornamentations or interpretations.
The people of the community, and those round about, all came out to hear him, because he was preaching some-
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thing that was new and indeed different to them. It was entirely new from the concept of religion and worship which they knew and had been taught, and as a result they listened with interest.
Elkana Barnes and his wife Mary, or Miss Polly as she was known to the people them, and their family still lived in the community. Mr. Barnes was well to do in that he owned a large amount of land and a number of slaves.
Mrs. Barnes could be considered unique for one in her day in that she was a diligent student of God's Word. She had studied it for many years and was known for her knowledge of it and for her clear reasoning with regard to religious subjects. She was known to be pious and abounding in faith in the promises of God. She was frank and she loved the truth. Among the people of the community, her words of advice and help were almost that of an oracle when they came to her for counsel and comfort. When a religious or Bible question would arise they knew who to go to for the answer.
From her study and knowledge of the Bible she could not bring herself to accept, or take part in, the prevailing emotionalistic religious beliefs and practices of the day. They did not conform to what she knew the scriptures taught.
When Dr. Hooker came into the community, preaching the gospel of salvation, she listened to him with great interest. She realized that, from his first sermon, he was preaching the truth, the very things she knew the Bible taught, the same message she had heard years before from the lips of William McGauhy. She readily accepted what he was preaching and made it known that she stood behind him and the principles that he taught.
The people of the community listened with interest to the principles Dr. Hooker taught in his sermons, but having never heard them before, and not having the
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knowledge and understanding of God's Word whereby they might know whether these things were true or not, and assuming that Mrs. Barnes would know, they waited to see what her reactions would be. When she accepted them they knew then that what he was preaching was the truth, was what the Bible taught, and, even though these principles were new to them, their respect for her, her judgment, and her knowledge of God's Word, was such that they then listened in full confidence that he was preaching the truths of God. As a result about sixty followed her example in accepting these truths and becoming Christians; and thus was established the first congregation, on a permanent basis, in Montgomery county. Mrs. Barnes, then with others, entered wholeheartedly into spreading the gospel after the church was established in the community.
From the outset this early congregation was vigorous and aggressive. It soon grew strong and influential. One church historian in an article published in 1906 wrote:
"For many years this congregation (Strata) possessed the distinction of being the strongest in the state. In her palmy days (1870's) she has had as many as 500 names on her roll book, and has raised as much as $1,000.00 in one great meeting for evangelizing purposes. The congregation first had its meeting place at Fair Prospect, a wooded hill two miles from the community of Strata, at which place it remained until sometime in the 1870's."
During the latter part of that decade the building was struck by lightning and partially destroyed by fire. The congregation decided not to rebuild there but to move their place of worship to Strata, to meet in one of the buildings belonging to the Strata Academy, which had been established by J. M. Barnes. They continued to meet in the building as it was until the Academy was moved to Highland Home, then the building, which was facing a
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side road, was turned around to face the main highway going south from Montgomery. This building continued in use until the late 1960's when it was torn down and replaced with a new brick edifice.
When the congregation decided to move its place of worship from Fair Prospect the old building was torn down and the lumber that had not been damaged by fire was used to build a meeting place for the colored congregation. This building was put up in the Strata community, not far from their's.
The negro congregation came into being through the work and efforts mainly of Mrs. Barnes in teaching the slaves owned by her husband. They were all taught and were baptized for the remission of their sins. There were others in the community, but these formed the nucleus of the congregation.
On February 10, 1836, a son was born to Elkana and Mary Barnes. To him they gave the name Justus McDuffie Barnes. When he was 18 years old he entered Bethany College in Virginia. This was the school Alexander Campbell had established, and, at the time young Barnes attended, Campbell was its president and principal Bible teacher. Justus Barnes spent two years there, finishing in 1856 with the A.B. degree. He then returned to his home in Strata and began teaching, and later preaching, works in which he continued for the next 57 years.
Upon his return from Bethany College he was undecided as to what he wanted to do with his life, what career he should follow. There was no school in the community, so his father suggested that he open one and teach until he could decide, and to help him, his father, with his own funds, put up a building on his land for this purpose. On September 8, 1856 the school session opened with thirteen pupils. Thus was born the Strata Academy which remained in that community until 1881, when it was moved to Highland Home, Alabama, about eight miles south of Strata.
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The move had come about because of an epidemic of sickness, which had resulted in death, among the students, during the last three years the school was at Strata. It was thought the move would help the situation.
— When the school was moved the name was changed to "Highland Home Institute" then later changed to "Highland Home College," under which name it continued until it closed in 1915.
— In 1898 Brother Barnes left the school and moved to Montgomery where he opened a school known as "The Barnes School."
— Brother H. Leo Boles, in his book "Biographical Sketches of Gospel Preachers," says of Brother Barnes, as a teacher, and of the school, as follows:
"He had all the qualities of a successful teacher, and Strata Academy soon took rank among the best schools of the state. His reputation as a teacher and his good judgment in selecting coworkers enabled him to maintain a school which attracted a great number of boys and girls from many sections of the state. Brother Barnes had associated with him in the school at Strata, and later at Highland Home, his two brothers-in-law, Samuel Jordan and M. L. Kirkpatrick.
Brother Barnes maintained his schools as private enterprises. All the support that his schools received came from his own resources and the small tuition fees which were charged. Any young man desiring to preach was educated without charge. Many worthy boys attended his school and received training without charge. Poor boys and girls were admitted on a credit. None were ever turned away from his school who wanted to qualify themselves better for usefulness in life."
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The influence of the Strata Academy and the Highland Home College upon the church in this area was very strong, and is still felt to this day. They were not "church schools" in any sense of the word, but the Bible was taught and the teachers were faithful, God fearing men. As a result of this atmosphere and influence many of the young men attending were inspired to become preachers of the gospel, and through their work and efforts many congregations were established throughout this part of the state.
J. M. Barnes began preaching when he was in his early twenties, and continued for over half a century. During those years he established congregations throughout the area and preached all over Alabama, and at times in neighboring states. He seldom accepted money for his services because he was a successful plantation operator.
Brother H. Leo Boles says of him as a preacher:
— "There has been but one J. M. Barnes. He imitated no man's style of preaching, and no one could copy his style. He preached with earnestness and fervor; he was logical in his arguments, convincing in his reasoning, and dramatic in his effect. He took the Bible as his only rule of faith and practice and the source of all spiritual truths; he found in it a rich supply of illustration; he needed no other book or literature for his material, and he used no other except the English Bible. His lessons were presented with such clearness and simplicity that even children could understand him. Late in his life he came to the Nashville Bible School, Nashville, Tenn. (now David Lipscomb College), for a meeting. The writer of this sketch was off at a regular appointment when Brother Barnes came and began a meeting on Sunday. He came in Monday afternoon and met Brother Barnes and had a brief conversation with him. That night in the chapel auditorium, Brother Barnes was
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preaching in his usual unique way. He had been preaching about twenty minutes and looked down and said: "Brother Boles, did you pray for this meeting before coming here tonight?" The reply was: "No." Brother Barnes stopped and said: "Let us all kneel while Brother Boles leads us in a word of prayer for this meeting."
No one could conduct a meeting as did Brother Barnes; few have been as successful as was he. When he began a meeting, he insisted that every one sing. He usually led the singing for his meetings. He usually put so much enthusiasm into his preaching and singing that the congregation could not help but share with him in the enthusiasm of the work. Few preachers have established more churches than did J. M. Barnes."
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According to available records, the first time a sermon, setting forth New Testament principles, was preached in the city of Montgomery was in the late 1830's. This was done by Alexander Campbell in January of 1839 when he was making a tour through the south with his daughter, Lavinia, who later became the wife of W. K. Pendleton. The account of his visit, as written by him, is found in the May issue of the "Millennial Harbinger" of 1839. It is as follows:
— "No sooner had we arrived in Montgomery, Alabama, than we were met by Brother Butler, so well known to our brethren as the herald of reformation in this state. He was accompanied by four other brethren: Kelly, of Hayneville; Duckworth of Dallas; Lavander of Illinois—men of high reputation among the brethren. Brother Davis of Montgomery, also met us in the spirit of the gospel on our arrival in that city.
— The Presbyterian, Methodist, and Baptist meeting-houses were shut against us, and the people cautioned against our heresy.
— Next morning, January 10, (1839) we addressed a considerable collection of gentlemen in the court-house.
We had concluded to make no further effort to be heard in that city; but, on motion of Mr. J. F. Belser, Editor of the "Montgomery Advertiser," and judge Martin, friends of free discussion and gentlemen of liberal minds, a second appointment was made.
Through the activity of these gentlemen, the citizens, gentlemen and ladies, turned out en masse on the same evening, until there was no room to contain them, in vindication of themselves from any concurrence with the rulers of the synagogues, who had presumptuously locked the doors of the people's houses against their proper owners.
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We were much importuned to tarry with them but appointments ahead constrained us reluctantly to leave on the next day. Accompanied with those brethren, and helped forward on our journey by them, we visited Hayneville, where we spoke twice; and Mount Willis (Mt. Willing), where we spoke once in the Baptist meeting house, called New Bethel;—the same evening at Carlowsville, Lowndes county, in the house usually occupied by the intelligent and liberal Elder Hartwell, of the Baptist church;—on the County Line, on the 14th, we also delivered a discourse in the Baptist meeting-house;—and again, on the same evening, at the house of brother Randal Duckworth, of the Baptist church. Next day we also addressed a congregation assembled in the Baptist meeting-house, near Portland, called Mount Pleasant; and again returned to enjoy the hospitalities of our good Baptist host, brother Duckworth.
In all these places we had as good a hearing as could have been expected under all the circumstances; and we scattered the seeds of reformation with as liberal a hand as possible for the time we occupied."
In 1857 Mr. Campbell made another tour of the south, and at the invitation of P. B. Lawson of Marion, Alabama, again visited this section of the state. He came from Mobile by boat up to Selma, arriving there on Saturday evening of April 4, 1857. On Sunday he preached to the congregation in Selma, then on Monday he delivered a lecture on education, and that evening preached again to a very attentive audience. A Baptist association was in progress that week-end but in spite of this many of their elders came to hear Campbell. On Tuesday he traveled to Marion, where he remained for several days. From here be made trips to Greensboro, Alabama and to Columbus, Mississippi, preaching and lecturing. When he arrived at Marion he found there a close friend of long standing, brother Jacob Creath, Jr. Brother Creath was one of the great preachers of the restoration movement. He was one of the first, if not the first, to preach the gospel, as re-
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vealed in the New Testament, in Mississippi and Louisiana. Brother Creath's home at the time was in Palmyra, Missouri, but his daughter, Mrs. William A. Corbin, her husband and family, were living in Marion and he and his wife had spent the winter with them. During those winter months sister Creath remained in Marion with their daughter while brother Creath was busy working and preaching in Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee and Alabama; however at the time of Mr. Campbell's visit he happened to be at his daughters' home in Marion. After his visit in that part of the state Mr. Campbell came back to Selma and from there came by boat up the Alabama river to Montgomery. He left Selma one afternoon about 3 o'clock and arrived in Montgomery the next morning. He remained in the city most of the day but there is no record of his preaching or lecturing on that occasion.
Two years later, in 1859, Mr. Campbell, after making a western tour came back into this section of the state on his way home. He visited in Marion and Selma, and delivered one discourse in Selma. After leaving Selma he came through Montgomery on his way to Virginia.
There is no record of an effort being made to establish a church, after the New Testament order, in the city of Montgomery until the late 1870's. Up until that time Brother Barnes would occasionally preach in the city, the services being held usually in the county court house; however on some occasions it would be in someone's home, as there were a number of families in the city who believed after the New Testament order. Some of these were prominent families in the community. They had moved here from Kentucky, from Indiana and Missouri, and though some had been influenced toward the missionary society and the use of instrumental music in the worship, whenever Brother Barnes would preach in the city they would attend the services. Among those living here at the time were to be found the names of F. M.
— 16 —Perry, J. L. Fitzpatrick, Mrs. A. M. Baldwin, the Peachers, Mrs. J. I. McKinney and a Mrs. Graves.
In the late 1870's Brother Barnes and others began to preach regularly in the city in an effort to establish the work on a permanent basis. With this in mind, sometime in 1879—the exact date unknown—Brother Barnes called a meeting to be held in the county court house for the purpose of establishing a congregation here. There were only two others at that meeting with Brother Barnes, C. A. Allen and Mrs. Annie J. Smith. There were, however, others in the city who were vitally interested in the establishment of the church here, but they were not, for reasons unknown, present on this occasion, so another meeting was scheduled for a later time. This meeting, too, was held in the county court house under the direction of Brother Barnes. Those present at this meeting were:
J. M. Barnes
C. A. Allen
Annie J. Smith
At this meeting plans were made to meet regularly for worship each Lord's day; they would meet whether they would have someone to preach for them or not. The information was put in the paper and notices were posted designating the place of worship and the time of services. They planned to meet in the county court house until other arrangements could be made, and Brother Barnes agreed to do the preaching for them; however there would be times when he would be unable to be with them, and on those occasions he would try to make arrangements for some other preacher to be with them.
From this beginning, came the Catoma Street Congregation. In a few months their number had grown to fifteen and they decided to begin keeping a church roll. This was
— 17 —in the year 1880. On that first roll were the following names:
C. A. Allen
Annie J. Smith
H. J. Baggett
James A. Stewart
H. J. Morris
Elmira E. Bell
A. J. Bell
J. W. Henry
J. M. McDonald
Eliza B. Allen
They continued meeting in the county court house until the year 1888, at which time a small church building on the southwest corner of Herron and Hanrick streets was put up for sale. They decided to purchase this building as it would give them a permanent place for worship and a better opportunity for growth. During the eight years the congregation had been meeting in the court house it had not grown. The number fluctuated during that time, but due to their temporary situation, and to their place of meeting, they had not been able to work as they should have, so they thought that this would give them the opportunity they needed. At the time they purchased this building there were only fourteen names on the roll.
The price they had to pay for the building was $1,200.00, and of this amount Brother Barnes agreed to pay $1,000.00 and the members of the congregation would pay the balance of $200.00.
The wisdom of this move was seen in the growth of the church. By 1891 the church roll showed a member-
— 18 —ship of 104, and by the close of the century there were around 200 names on the roll.
The church remained at this location
for about thirteen years. During those years Brother Barnes continued to
preach for the congregation without receiving any pay for his services.
During the first ten of those years—he moved to Montgomery in 1898—he
would come from his home near Strata on Saturday afternoon or early
Sunday morning, preach at the morning and evening services, and often
would preach, either at the church building or somewhere in the city,
during the afternoon. On occasions other preachers would be invited in,
but principally Brother Barnes did the preaching during those years. The
church announcement, which would appear in the papers, usually read
something like this:
— "Elder J. M. Barnes will preach at 11 o'clock A.M. and 7:30 P.M. The members are invited to attend."
— From 1888, the year the church located on Herron street, through the year 1894 there is no permanent record of the work and activity of the congregation; however from the growth that took place during that time, and work done, as shown by later records, it is evident that Brother Barnes, Brother Haynes and others, were busy preaching and holding meetings throughout the city.
Brother W. J. Haynes had been a student at Strata Academy under Brother Barnes. After the completion of his school work he gave his life to preaching the gospel and to teaching. He established a school at Dublin, Alabama which in time was moved to Grady, Alabama. Among the students who attended the school at Grady and came under the influence of Brother Haynes was "Tip" Grider who was later to become one of the most influential preachers in south Alabama.
The records, which began in 1895, show that sometime before 1895 the church had purchased a tent which
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— was to be used in evangelistic work, also it helped to support Brother Haynes in preaching the gospel in this section of the state. Places specifically mentioned where he preached were Geneva, Rutledge, and Seawright, all towns in Alabama.
In the early part of the 1890's Brother Barnes began preaching regularly on Sunday afternoons in the west end section of Montgomery, and as a result established a congregation there, which for some time was supported by the congregation on Herron street.
From the year 1895 to the close of the century, the church continued its work of preaching the gospel. During that time a number of gospel meetings were held in the city. Some of these were held in the church building and others under a tent in various parts of town. In 1895 Brother Haynes held two meetings for the church, one in March of that year, which lasted for two weeks, was a mission meeting somewhere on the east side of the city, then another in June which lasted two weeks. This meeting was held in the building on Herron street, and for this two weeks meeting he was paid $15.00. Another evangelist, O. P. Spiegel, came in March of 1896 and held a five day meeting for the Herron street congregation. Then in May and June of that year Brothers Barnes and Haynes held a meeting under a tent somewhere in the city. The records show that in 1897 a meeting was held in the West End section of the city in June by Brother Barnes and Brother Haynes. In March of 1898 Brother F. D. Srygley, of Nashville, Tennessee, held a two weeks meeting for the congregation, this was in the building on Herron street. He was paid $35.00 for the meeting.
In June and July of 1898 Brother J. A. Harding, of Nashville, Tennessee, also held a meeting for the church. This meeting lasted for four weeks and was held under a tent which had been erected on a plot of ground at the corner of Mildred street and Pleasant avenue known then as Wilson's grove. At one of the night services dur-
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ing the meeting there were four well known and outstanding preachers present, Brothers J. M. Barnes, T. B. Larimore, F. D. Srygley, and J. A. Harding, who was doing the preaching. Among those baptized during this meeting were Warren Allen, who was twelve years old at the time, Alma Mead and Joe Morris. They were baptized in the Alabama river, in the vicinity of the old depot. Brother Harding was paid $100.00 for this four weeks meeting. In August of the same year the church supported Brother Haynes in a meeting with the congregation in West End.
The longest meeting in which the church was engaged in was held in July and August of 1899. It was held by Brothers Cline and Carpenter and lasted for six weeks. The meeting was not held in the church building but under a tent somewhere in the city—the location of the place is not given—and for this meeting they were paid $180.00.
As a matter of interest, and to show the contrast in values, the differences in the work of the church then and now, and the contributions and expenses, the following record of the church for May 1899 is shown:
May 7—Collections.......................... $9.81
Sunday School .……........... .50
May 14—-Collections ..................…… 3.41
Sunday School …………….. .35
May 21—Alabama Comer …………… 1.00
Collections …………………. 3.51
Sunday School ………........ .29
May 28—Collections ................……… 1.51
Sunday School .................... .17
May 1—-*A. Hunter, wages for April ….. $4.00
May 2—Gas bill for April ……………….. 1.44
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May 7—Ice for church …………………..….. .05
Washing table linen ………………... .10
May 11—1 box carpet tacks ……………….... .05
May 14—Ice for church ………………………. .05
May 16—Sunday School literature 2 Qtr. ….. 3.50
1 Sunday School record ………….. 1.00
Post Office charge ………………… .10
May 29—Ice for church ……………………… .05
May 31—A. Hunter, wages for May ………... 4.00
*A Hunter was the janitor
In the spring of 1899 an event took place in the city that was of utmost concern to the leaders of the church, and that was a conference attended by many of the preachers and leaders of the Disciples of Christ, which espoused the missionary society and advocated the use of instrumental music in the worship. We know them today as the Christian church.
These additions to, and innovations in, the work and worship of the church were not of recent origin. They go back many years.
The idea out of which the missionary society came was around in the 1830's. At that time many of the churches had begun to have what they called cooperation meetings. Their purpose was to discuss the progress of the cause and to suggest ways and means of evangelizing the particular community in which member-congregations in the cooperation were located. In time these community cooperation meetings became state cooperation meetings, and from that they became brotherhood wide. This finally culminated in the formation of the "American Christian Missionary Society," on October 23, 1849 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
There was opposition to these meetings from the very beginning. Many of the churches opposed them as being unscriptural and many of the preachers spoke out against them. Brother Barnes was one of those who opposed
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them on the grounds that they were a departure from the scriptures.
Many of the churches in Alabama were among those who favored the cooperation meetings and later endorsed the missionary society. There was a cooperative meeting held in Marion, Alabama in 1848, another there in 1860. In 1865 one was held at Pine Apple, Alabama.
These meetings were not without opposition from Brother Barnes and others. They would attend them and voice their opposition; and their efforts were not all in vain, because many congregations in the state did not take part in these meetings.
These cooperative meetings finally resulted in the founding of the Alabama Christian Missionary Co-operation in 1886. This took place at a meeting in Selma, Alabama.
The issue concerning instrumental music in the worship was first raised in 1851, but it was not until after the civil war that it began to spread among the churches to any degree, and then there was no stopping it.
History shows that the story of its introduction in most cases was a story of division, law suits and bitterness. In almost every case where it was brought into the worship service a serious eruption was occasioned.
By 1886 division had come and the lines of fellowship were drawn.
Brother J. M. Barnes was just as strong in his opposition to the instrument of music in worship as he was to the cooperation meetings and the missionary society which followed. In an article written by him, and appearing in the "American Christian Review" in 1885 he said:
— "No doubt there are men who claim to be brethren that rejoice that he (Ben Franklin) is dead. But they should remember that, like Abel, "though dead, he yet speaketh."
— 23 —
His great works will live far into the periods of the future, and the unborn will call him blessed. He was truly a great commander, one that could see far into the future, and as such often has he lifted his warning voice to the host, among whom he so nobly battled, and sought to lead to higher scenes and purer joys. Often has he pointed out to the brotherhood a Judas, with his innovations, and time has proven him correct. Men hated him then, and now they hate his name and influence. But, Brother Rice, there will grow out of the church of Christ, in the United States, a sectarian party. They will be composed of the progressive and organ element. Let them go; the sooner, the better. They are a curse to the cause we plead. I like Brother Lard's position, as expressed in his "Quarterly," in regard to the organ, not to preach for a congregation that uses the organ. We will fight for the truth against innovations."
For some twenty or twenty-five years after the lines of fellowship were drawn in 1886 the division continued. Congregations divided, churches split, and in nearly every case with bitter feelings. The division would even be felt in families. Brother N. L. Walker said that his father fussed at him and called him an "anti" for not going with the digressives.
Many churches in this part of the state went with the digressive movement, such as Greenville, Plantersville, Mount Willing, Marion, Greensboro, Oxmore and Selma, to name a few; however the churches in this immediate area, due to the influence of Brother Barnes and those standing with him, remained faithful. They were the congregations here in Montgomery, at Strata, Highland Home and Berea.
With the division, and all of the strife and bitterness engendered by it, fresh in their minds it is no wonder the leaders of the church were alarmed when they learned
— 24 —
that the conference was to be held here, and that O. P. Spiegel was the principal one connected with it. He was acquainted with most of the members of the church and it was felt that his influence might disrupt the peace and oneness of the congregation if a determined effort was put forth in the city.
With this in mind, and in an effort to forestall the danger, Brother E. R. Barnes, the son of Brother J. M. Barnes, who was one of the leaders in the church, though not an elder at this time, invited Brother Spiegel, and a number of those with him, to come to his home for a meal and a meeting. Brother Barnes at this time was living on Mobile street, he was 29 years of age and his wife was 22. Also there from the Herron street congregation were Brothers, Morris, Macey, J. M. Garrett, and Fitzpatrick, elders of the church.
The meeting was to be in the evening following the meal which had been prepared for all of them. The atmosphere during the meal was most cordial and friendly, no sign of differences or indications of disagreement were manifested in any way. It was a most pleasant period of fellowship; however after the meal, in the discussion of the purpose of their gathering, the feelings were somewhat different. The account of what took place, as given by Brother Barnes is as follows:
— "I had planned the meeting in order to make an appeal. I spoke my best. I had polite attention. I got nowhere. In my appeal I said: "Brother Spiegel and visiting brethren. Mine is an unusual procedure. I perceive an unusual crisis coming. Montgomery, the city, is being taught: it is not a field for a missionary effort. After the regulations laid down in the New Testament for spreading the gospel; for congregational worship, the truth is being preached and practiced. My brethren in this city are largely at a oneness, doctrinally . . . . Your activities in other cities Brother Spiegel, always
— 25 —
have aroused discord and brought about division.
In the blessed name of Jesus, our teacher, our Master, I appeal to you: Do not inaugurate a campaign in Montgomery; cease to do what already you are doing; transfer your activities to an uncultivated field." I got nowhere."
Some seven or eight years passed before the Disciples of Christ established a permanent congregation in the city, but more about that later.
From the growth of the church that had taken place since its establishment in the latter part of 1879 or in the early part of 1880, the work that had been done, and the many meetings that had been held in the city and surrounding vicinities, we can see that the church was active and busy during the years it was on Herron street.
— 26 —
One day in the spring of 1898, W. B. Davidson, a real estate dealer in the city, stopped J. M. Barnes on the street and told him that the Jewish synagogue on Catoma street, Temple KahI Montgomery, was for sale for $7,500.00. He suggested to Brother Barnes that it would be a good place for his school, as there were a number of class rooms in the basement, and also a fine auditorium in which the church could meet. Brother Barnes told him that he would think about it and hurried on as he had an appointment to meet. When he reached home later in the day and told his family about it they were well pleased with the proposition. In the meantime Mr. Davidson went to see Brother C. A. Allen, who was in the grocery business on the first block of south Court street, and told him of the proposition and of his conversation with Brother Barnes. Brother Allen was in favor of making the move, so the next evening he and Mr. Davidson went to Brother Barnes home; the meeting added fuel to the flame that had started. They talked with others and then decided to put the matter before the entire congregation.
The owners of the synagogue wanted $2,500.00 in cash, and there were some in the congregation who at first were not willing to the deal because of this, thinking that they would not be able to raise that amount, but after much prayer, and considering all things, the deal was approved; however it was not until 1901, three years later, that the deal was closed.
With the approval of the deal the members of the church began to try to raise the down payment. It was this effort that put the church to the test. Brother Barnes rode over the city and the county picking up fifty cents here and a dollar there. Other members were doing the same. There were many in Montgomery, who were not members of the church but were friends of those who were, who helped raise the money; also many businesses helped, some of them owned by those who were even
— 27 —members of the Temple, Kahl Montgomery.
The congregation, too, should never forget the liberality of the churches at Highland Home, Letohatchee, and Fort Deposit for their help at this time.
The owners of the synagogue would not agree to sell to the church as such, either because they did not want to sell to a religious group or because they wanted a specific individual responsible for the notes and payments. They said they would sell to Brother C. A. Allen, whom they all knew and respected as a business man in the city. Brother Allen agreed to assume the responsibility, knowing that the church would take the property off his hands, so he signed the notes and closed the deal, which was as follows: $2,500.00 was to be paid down in June of 1901, and five notes of $1,000.00 each to be paid on the first of September each year, the first to be paid in 1902 and the last in 1906.
The down payment was made and the notes were paid each year as they came due until the indebtedness was cleared.
In the meantime the congregation of KahI Montgomery had built a larger and more modern building of worship just one block away, on the southwest corner of Clayton and Sayre streets.
The building on Catoma street was not old at the time it was purchased, yet the history connected with it goes back many years. The story leading up to its construction, the people who worshipped there, their type and style of worship, are all facts that will add interest to our knowledge of its history.
From two booklets, "Diamond Jubilee of KahI Montgomery, 1852-1927" and "Original Constitution of KahI Montgomery," we learn the following facts:
"The revolution in Germany and the longing for religious and political freedom brought to American shores numbers of French, German, and Polish Jews, some of
— 28 —
whom settled in Montgomery. These early immigrants had limited education and trades, but they were imbued with that early religious training which they had received in the Fatherland. The old Jewish traditions were firmly implanted in their hearts and minds. It was little wonder then that their longings and aspirations prompted them on March 17, 1846, to form an association. First, for the relief of their sick, and then on May 6, 1849, a small chevra or group who, amidst their new surroundings, could freely and untrammeled worship the God of their Fathers and keep aglow the religious torch of light and truth.The congregation was orthodox in many of its outward forms and practices, for the leaders were not only chabarim, but shochetim, who killed fowls and cattle according to the old Rabbinic Law. The men wore their hats at service. The women sat apart from the men. The pulpit was in the center of the house of worship.
In 1858 the congregation or "KahI" received a gift of $2,000.00 from Judah Touro, a Sephardic Jew and philanthropist, who lived in New Orleans, Louisiana. This bequest served as a nucleus for a building fund for the Temple which was later erected.
During the Civil War on March 8, 1862, the first permanent synagogue was erected on Catoma street. Organ and choir, the first symbols of reform Judaism, were installed.
We have spoken of the time when we had a gallery, or balcony, where the women sat apart from the men, where hats were worn during the services and we had a pulpit on the center. The latter was removed in 1874. In the same year it became optional with the men to keep their hats on, but only a small number continued this practice.
The original constitution of KahI Montgomery was written in the German language. This was the language
— 29 —
that was used when the congregation met at 100 Catoma street.
"Any member wishing to address the meeting must rise and address the chair in the German language, and only one person can be allowed to speak at the same time; every resolution to be decided by majority of the votes." Fines were imposed on members who were absent from meetings. Sickness or business out of the city was taken as an excuse, but "absence on pleasure, as hunting and such, will not be taken as an excuse."
Brother E. R. Barnes, who served for many years as an elder of the congregation, told of a visit he made to a service there with his father in 1877. He said: "When I was a little boy, my father carried me to this old building. On a night, our visit was, when worship was to be conducted.
My father followed the course of the worship, I am sure, with intelligence and respect. Many of the men in the congregation were his friends — his merchants, his bankers, his cotton warehousemen. These had bidden him come to their service.
My young eyes were taken with the bright gas lights. In the village in the tip end of Montgomery county where I lived kerosene lights were used. Here, at the front, stood two giant candelabra, each bearing seven brilliant lights.
A yet more novel thing: the men worshippers kept their hats on all during the worship. Never had I known men to wear their hats indoors, even at a school concert. Here were serious and dignified men with their hats on during their own religious service.
Years later I learned that the Jewish men kept their heads covered as a token of respect for Jehovah. They were not neglectful of the prevailing custom—to remove the hat in the house; but they were showing reverence for the Protector who so often had succored them in distress and delivered their nation from peril. They chose to remain covered in the presence of Jehovah."
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This building is now one of the oldest in the city. As of this writing (1973) it is 111 years old. The construction of it began in 1861, and as has been previously mentioned, it was dedicated the Catoma street temple of KahI Montgomery in March of 1862.
The land, which was purchased in 1859, cost $2,500.00, and the building was erected at a cost of $14,000.00.
The name and date can be read today in the top most circle on the building's front; it reads as follows:
Erected A.M. 5621
Pelham J. Anderson
George M. Figh
David L. Cohen
The building, on the outside, looks today as it did when it was built, as there have been no major alterations or changes made; however some changes have been made in the auditorium. As was mentioned, when it was built the pulpit was in the center with the seats around it, but in 1874 the pulpit was moved to the dias in the front of the auditorium, under the picture showing the tables of stone and the all seeing eye, and the pews were rearranged in the order in which they are today. There was no baptistry in the auditorium at the time the church bought the property so one was built into the dias, under the pulpit, and for several years, whenever a baptism took place, the pulpit would have to be moved so that it could be opened up, causing some inconvenience. To alleviate this the pulpit was moved to a place in front of the drapes which set the dias apart. Other than this change the inside of the building is as it was in the long ago.
The scene of the tables of stone inscribed with the finger of God was painted on the glass and then installed
— 31 —across the railroad tracks that came through the city, some twelve or fifteen blocks west of its first location on Herron street.
There is an incident concerning this building and the West End congregation that is of interest. The congregation, once it was settled in a permanent place, began to grow. Among the preachers who would hold meetings for it was Brother John T. Poe of Clearview, Texas. Brother Poe had held a number of meetings for the church and was well acquainted with the members. At the time of one of his meetings the need for additional space was being discussed by the Elders and the members. The need for additional space was there, but the problem was what to do about it. Because of sentimental feelings attached to the building the members of the church were reluctant to change or alter it in any way. It was their first meeting house, and not only theirs, but had been the first meeting house of the church in Montgomery, and the desire was to keep it as it was. Brother Poe told them that he would take his knife and cut splinters from one of the boards and give a splinter to each member and when they felt sentimental about the building they could chew on the splinter, but that, regardless of their feelings, they needed to enlarge the building.
The building was enlarged to meet their needs, and of course changed in the process. It continued in use for many years until the congregation put up a modern brick building on Eugene street. The old building was then sold to a business concern which so used it for a number of years. Today, 1973, it is being used as a meeting house for a religious group calling themselves "Emmanuel Holiness Church."
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in its present location, high above the dias and the pulpit, at the time the synagogue was built. It was painted by Mrs. Annie J. Smith, one of those who met with Brother J. M. Barnes in the county court house, some 17 years after the completion of the synagogue, when the church was established in the city. She was one of the original members, but she did not live to see the congregation move from Herron street to the building on Catoma street.
When the congregation moved into the building there were some who wanted the picture removed, saying that it was a symbol of Jewish worship and should not be there now. Most of the members felt though that it would take nothing from the worship of the church and that as part of the building it would be fitting to leave it there.
One of the leading architects of the city had this to say about the building, "This church is a perfect example of Italian Romanesque architecture. The intricate brickwork, round windows and arches are outstanding." In 1971 it was declared a historical landmark by the Alabama Historical Society.
When the decision was made to purchase the building on Catoma street and move the congregation there the question came up as to what would be done with the building on Herron street. It was decided that since Brother Barnes had put up a thousand dollars of the twelve hundred that was needed to buy it, and since the church had never paid him any of that amount back, that the property should be deeded in its entirety to him, and this is what was done.
As has already been brought out, Brother Barnes, sometime before this, had established a congregation in the West End section of the city but it was lacking a permanent building in which to worship, so after the building on Herron street was deeded to him he decided to give it to the church in West End. It was then moved from the southwest corner of Herron and Hamrick streets to the southwest corner of Herron and Cullman streets. This was
— 32 —
From 1901, the year the congregation moved from Herron street to Catoma street, through 1906 the church was busy in its efforts to raise the money in order to pay off the $1,000.00 notes that came due each September through 1906; however it was not neglecting its responsibility of teaching and preaching the gospel. In July of 1902 Brother J. A. Harding held another meeting here, and, this one too, lasted for four weeks; also during those years Brother F. W. Smith held a meeting for the church, but the time and date are not recorded. Brother T. B. Larimore, too, held a meeting for the church, and it is thought that it was also during this period of time.
The tent, which the church had purchased some years back, was still being used by various preachers in meetings and mission work throughout the counties in this part of the state, some of these efforts being supported entirely by the Catoma street congregation.
Brother J. M. Barnes was still doing most of the preaching for the church, receiving no remuneration for his work. Many times, when he would have to be away, Brother Sammuel Jordon from Highland Home, Alabama or Brother Will Haynes of Grady, Alabama would preach in his place.
Brother E. L. Cullom, a faithful member of the Catoma street congregation for some 57 years, whose primary interest in life was the church, in an article written some years ago, gives us a glimpse of how it was when he came to Montgomery and to the services at the Catoma street congregation. He said:
— "I have attended Catoma street since October 1,1905. At that time the elders were J. M. Barnes, J. M. Garrett, C. E. Walton, J. L. Fitzpatrick, C. A. Allen and J. W. Macey.
Brother Barnes was an able preacher, doing
— 34 —
most of the preaching for the congregation, and without any remuneration. He was also a musician and loved singing. Under his direction the bass occupied chairs arranged in front of the pulpit (at that time the pulpit was over the baptistry). There were ten or more of these men singing bass.
There were a number of men who could carry on the service in the absence of Brother Barnes. He would announce, "I am going to Selma next Sunday, Jim (Mr. Garrett) you will preach," again he would say, write Sammie (Brother Jordan) or Will Haynes to come up."
The year 1908 was not an ordinary one for the Catoma street congregation. Two events took place that year that caused it to be remembered. The first came in the early part of the year, and was one that brought utmost concern to Brother Barnes and the other leaders of the church. The church was to be faced with the influence of digression.
It was learned that a determined effort was to be made to establish in the city, on a permanent basis, a congregation of the Disciples of Christ.
An effort had been made in 1898 to establish a congregation here but it had not been too successful; then in 1899 the conference of many of the leaders and preachers of the Disciples of Christ was held here, at which time the leaders of the church saw that in time another effort would be made, because their plea, made at the meeting at the home of Brother E. R. Barnes, in which they asked Brother O. P. Spiegel, and those with him, not to endanger the peace and harmony which prevailed here with the issues which they advocated, went unheeded. They knew that in time the church would be faced with this danger, and now that time had come.
The Disciples of Christ sent in two preachers who were most capable, A. B. Dubber and S. P. Spiegel, brother
— 35 —of O. P. Spiegel. They preached in the city auditorium in a meeting which lasted for four weeks, and through their efforts a congregation was established.
The fears of the leaders of the Catoma street congregation were realized because among the twenty-one members of this new congregation of the Disciples of Christ were a number who left Catoma to take their stand with them.
The other event in 1908 that was of importance to the church was the engaging of a preacher to work on a full time basis with the congregation.
When the building on Catoma street had been purchased, and the indebtedness incurred, Brother J. M. Barnes had agreed to preach for the church without remuneration until the indebtedness was paid off. That had now been done, and as the church had grown during those years, it was thought advisable to now find someone who could give full time to the church and its work. Brother Barnes planned, as soon as someone was found, to work with the congregation in West End to strengthen it and to help build it up.
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In June of 1908 Brother John E. Dunn came to Catoma to preach in a meeting for which he had been scheduled. He made such an impression on the members of the congregation that the elders asked him to come and work with the church. He accepted the invitation, and thus became the first preacher to work on a full time basis with the congregation. His salary was $100.00 a month.
The records show that during that year help was given to support the preaching of the gospel in Birmingham, Alabama and in New Orleans, Louisiana; also that Brother Dunn, using the tent belonging to the church, began evangelistic work in Highland Park, in east Montgomery, which culminated two years later in the establishment of the Highland Avenue congregation.
In 1909 the church again sent support for the preaching of the gospel in Birmingham, Alabama. In May, Brother G. A. Dunn from Texas, brother to John E. Dunn, preached in a meeting for the Catoma street congregation. In September the church helped with the expenses of a meeting conducted by the West End church. The records also show that the tent, belonging to the church, was still being used in mission work.
There was no meeting scheduled for the church during 1910 according to the records. The church did send its preacher, Brother John Dunn, to Greenville, Alabama, to preach in a meeting there. In his absence the preaching at Catoma street was done by Brothers Haynes, E. B. Jones of Wetumpka, Alabama, and Guy Renfro.
In the early part of 1911 the congregation was again faced with the danger of losing some more of its members to the congregation of the Disciples of Christ, or the Christian church.
This possibility arose because of the preacher who was coming to work on a full time basis with that con-
— 37 —
gregation. He was O. P. Spiegel, brother to the one who had helped establish it some three years before.
O. P. Spiegel was a man of exceptional ability. His home had been in north Alabama, and as a youth he had gone to Mars Hill Bible School, there studying the Bible under Brother T. B. Larimore, who said of him, "He is one of the very best and most promising of the Mars' Hill boys—young, fine looking and destined to make his mark in the world." He was one of the most active and influential preachers of the Christian church, establishing over thirty congregations during his lifetime of work.
The reason his coming here caused concern among the leaders of the Catoma street congregation was because of his being so well acquainted with many of its members. He had held a meeting for the church in 1896, when it was meeting in the building on Herron street, had made friends then, and since that time had been in and out of the city, maintaining his ties of friendship with many of the people, and the leaders and elders, aware of these ties, were fearful that he would be an influence upon some of the members of the congregation to leave and take their stand with the Christian church with which he was working.
On April 1, 1911 Brother Spiegel began his work here with the Christian church, which at that time was meeting in the basement of the old Y.M.C.A. In 1914 a lot was purchased on the southwest corner of Sayre street and West Jeff Davis avenue and a small building was erected on it. The congregation remained there until moving to its present location at High and Perry streets.
As had been feared by the leaders at Catoma street his coming did influence some of the members to leave and cast their lot with the Christian church; however his influence, and that of those associated with him, was not what it might have been, had it not been for the stand taken by Brother J. M. Barnes, and those of like mind with
— 38 —him in this part of the state, against the missionary society and the use of instrumental music in the worship. Because of them most of the churches in this area stood firm in their convictions against these innovations and the digressive influence was never able to make much headway here.
In May of 1911 a gospel meeting was held for the church on Catoma street with Brother S. H. Hall of Nashville, Tennessee doing the preaching and Brother E. L. Jorgenson of Kentucky leading the song service. In October of that year Brother John Dunn, after a little over three years, terminated his work with the church. The elders then contacted Brother C. E. Holt of Florence, Alabama about working with the church here. He came down to see them and as a result agreed to make the move. He came in December to begin his work. During the time the church was without a regular preacher Brothers Guy Renfro, Samuel Jordan, Charlie Landers and Will Haynes did the preaching.
In 1912 the congregation again sent financial help to the church in New Orleans, Louisiana. The records also show that Brother Holt held a meeting for the church in Lebanon, Tennessee, and one for the church in Fort Deposit, Alabama in September. There was no meeting conducted for the Catoma street congregation that year according to the records, nor, as a matter of fact, for the next four years.
In April of 1913 Christians throughout the state, and especially in this part of it, were saddened by the news of the death of Brother J. M. Barnes. His death came as a result of an accident. He was in his automobile traveling south of Montgomery on the highway leading to Snowdoun, near the bridge which crosses Catoma creek, when he lost control of the car and it went into the ditch, throwing him from it. His injuries, resulting from this accident, brought on his death a few days later.
The Montgomery Advertiser of April 29,1913 carried this announcement:
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"After an illness of two days J. M. Barnes, one of the most widely known men in the state died at 2:15 o'clock Monday afternoon at his home in Cloverdale.
Mr. Barnes was injured Friday when he was thrown from his automobile down a twenty-foot embankment several miles from Montgomery. He received a broken collar bone and internal injuries. Surgeons, who attended Mr. Barnes, were of the opinion that he would recover, but the patient suffered a relapse at 1 o'clock Monday afternoon."
A later paper carried the following obituary notice:
"The funeral services of J. M. Barnes, who died at his residence in Cloverdale Monday afternoon after an illness of two days was held at 3:30 o'clock Tuesday afternoon from the Catoma Street Church of Christ. Reverend E. C. Holt, pastor of the church, assisted by Reverend J. T. Poe, Reverend Charles Landers and Reverend W. J. Haynes, officiated. Interment was in Greenwood Cemetery.
The following acted as pall-bearers: from the Catoma Street Church of Christ, J. L. Fitzpatrick, C. E. Walton, and F. C. Schwend; from the West End Church of Christ, J. B. Clements, John Durden and J. L. Churchwell; from Highland Home Church of Christ, P. A. Langford, and from the Birmingham Church of Christ, John T. Lewis. Many floral designs accompanied the body to its final resting place."
Brother John T. Poe was from Glenview, Texas. At the time of Brother Barnes' death he was conducting a gospel meeting for one of the congregations in the city, and having been a friend of long standing to Brother Barnes, he was asked to have a part in the funeral services.
Brother Poe began his remarks with these words, "I feel like Elisha did when Elijah was taken away."
— 40 —
The records for the year 1913 show that the church helped support the preaching of the gospel being done at New Hope, Alabama; and though it is not shown, Brother Holt must have been away working in a number of meetings as several preachers filled the pulpit during the year in his absence. Among those were Brothers Boyd of Highland Home, Renfro, Jerry Watson and a Brother Smith.
The records for 1914 show no events of unusual interest. There is no indication that Brother Holt was away in any gospel meetings. It seems that the entire year was spent in working with the church here.
In 1915 Brother Holt preached in a number of gospel meetings. In April he was with the church in Luverne, Alabama, and the Sunday he was there, Brother C. A. Buffington, who worked with that congregation, preached for the Catoma street church. In July Brother Holt preached in a meeting in Gadsden, Alabama, and in his absence Brother Jordan from Highland Home, Alabama preached at Catoma Street. In September Brother Holt was in a meeting somewhere in Tennessee—the name of the congregation is not given. His last gospel meeting for the year was with the church in Fort Deposit, Alabama. This was in November.
During the first half of 1916 Brother Holt preached in a number of meetings in Tennessee—the locations not being shown. In September, after nearly four years with the church here, he gave up the work. The church was without a regular preacher until November when Brother C. M. Stubblefield moved here to take up the work.
The records for 1917 show, besides the regular activities carried on by the church, that a gospel meeting was held for the congregation in March with Brother C. M. Pullias of Nashville, Tennessee doing the preaching. This was the first meeting the church had had in several years.
— 41 —
— In 1918 we find the church sending financial help to the Belgium Relief Fund and also to the Bowling Green Orphan Home in Kentucky. These were the only two places, as shown by the records, other than the regular work, in which the church had a part.
— In 1919 Brother E. A. Elam of Nashville, Tennessee, preached in a gospel meeting for the church. This was in the spring of the year, in the month of May. The records also show that a financial donation was made to the Nashville Bible College in Nashville, Tennessee.
In 1920 the records show that the church gave another donation to the Nashville Bible College, and also helped in a financial way the church in Samson, Alabama.
Brother Stubblefield notified the elders around the first of the year that he was planning to terminate his work with the church in September, thus giving them time to find someone to take his place before he left.
Brother Stubblefield had been with the congregation almost four years, and during that time had had a great impact on the church. He had been instrumental in starting many of the members into taking an active part in the work and services of the church. Among those was Brother Warren Allen who began to lead the congregation in its worship through singing, a work in which he faithfully served for many years.Brother Stubblefield, on one occasion, conducted the funeral services for a man, who was a member of the church, by the name of Stone. This man had not been faithful, he had led a life of dissipation and had been in jail many times. He was in jail when he died of tuberculosis. At the services Brother Stubblefield began his remarks with these words, "Brother Stone was an auditor by profession, his books are now closed and his balance sheet has been turned into be audited; but yours and mine have not been closed yet and our balance sheets have not been turned in - - -.”
During this year Brothers E. R. Barnes and N. L. Walker were installed as elders of the congregation.
In an effort to find someone to take the place of Brother Stubblefield a number of preachers were invited to Catoma to consider the work. Brother J. W. Bradley from Dickson, Tennessee came in June, and in August Brother J. G. Malphurs from Chaplin, Kentucky came, but neither decided to make the move.
— 43 —
In September Brother Stubblefield left as he had planned, and since no one had been found to take his place, the church was without a regular preacher. Brother L. L. Jones of Wetumpka, Ala., preached for the congregation during that time.
In October two other preachers came to consider the work here The first was Brother A. W. Wrye from Tennessee, then Brother Fred Little from Yuma, Tennessee came, and an agreement was made with him to come and work with the church, a work which he began in December.
In 1921 the congregation gave financial help to a Brother G. C. Vincent, a missionary who spoke at the church. The records show that the church in Selma, Alabama was in need of financial help and that Brother J. H. Hines was sent over there to investigate their need. Later Brother Little was sent one Sunday to preach for the congregation and to take a sizeable donation from the church. Brother Moores, from Wetumpka, Alabama, preached for the church in the absence of Brother Little. Also, as the records show, Brother John A. Churchwell, one of the members at Catoma Street, preached at Selma, at Ozark, and at Strata.
In 1922 the congregation began supporting, on a regular monthly basis, Brother W. T. Grider, who was preaching and working in South Alabama. This support was to continue for several years. Again the records show that Brother Churchwell was sent to preach for the churches in Selma, Ozark and Cold Springs, all in Alabama. A donation was sent to the church in Etowah, Tennessee to help in the construction of a building in which to meet for worship.
A gospel meeting was conducted by the church in April. In this meeting Brother C. R. Nichol of Clifton, Texas did the preaching. In September, while Brother Little was away in a meeting, Brother Cottle of Elba, Ala-
— 44 —bama preached for the church, and for the same reason, in September, Brother Buffington occupied the pulpit one Sunday. In December Brother Price Billingsley preached for the congregation one Sunday.
The year 1923 was an eventful one for the church. The records show that in February Brother J. C. Mosely from Columbus, Georgia preached in the absence of Brother Little, then in April Brother C. R. Nichol, who had preached in a meeting for the church the previous year, returned to preach in another one.
In June, as a result of the efforts of the Elders at Catoma Street, a debate was held in the city. This debate did not take place in the building on Catoma Street, but in, it is thought, an auditorium annex of the First Baptist church on south Perry street.
— The subject of the debate was instrumental music, and it was between S. H. Hall of Nashville, Tennessee, who was representing the church and J. J. Walker, representing the Christian Church.
— J. J. Walker was, at this time, one of the most able debaters among the preachers of the Christian Church. He was also a first cousin of brother N. L. Walker, one of the elders of the Catoma Street congregation.
— Sister N. L. Walker, on the day the debate began, prepared a noon meal to which she invited Brother Hall and the leaders of the church, along with, because of kinship, J. J. Walker, his mother and father and some of those who had come with him. There were some twenty or twenty-five present for the meal. When they had all gathered sister Walker said to them, "I have prepared this meal for your pleasure and enjoyment and have invited all of you for the association and fellowship you might have as you partake of it. Now the debate is to begin this afternoon, and there will be plenty of time for discussions then, so I am asking that it not be mentioned during this meal as I want you to enjoy it for the purpose for which it has been prepared."
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— During this year, also, financial assistance was sent to the church in Anniston, Alabama. Too, the Highland Avenue congregation, here in the city, was in the process of building a place for worship and to help with that the church gave $870.00.
In 1924 Brother Little, besides his regular work with the Catoma street congregation, was busy in evangelistic work. He preached in a gospel meeting in Prattville, Alabama. This meeting was under a tent. He also held a tent meeting in the Chisholm section of the city, and was the speaker in a meeting in Troy, Alabama. While he was away in these meetings the records show that the pulpit at Catoma was filled by Brothers Moores and Jones of Wetumpka and Brother Allen Dillard from here in the city. Brother F. A. Howell also preached during that time.
The church had promised to give $1,000.00 to help in the construction of the building on Highland Avenue for the Highland Park congregation. In 1923 all but $130.00 of this had been given, so that was given this year.
The church continued its support for Brother Grider in his efforts to strengthen weak congregations and to establish new ones in south Alabama. This support was $50.00 each month.
In 1925, as it had been in 1924, there was no gospel meeting scheduled for the Catoma Street congregation; however the church was active in its regular work and in the supporting of the preaching of the gospel in other places. Brother Little, as often as he could be spared, was sent to preach in the mission places in south Alabama; assisting Brother Tip Grider in that field of work, as he, Brother Grider, for the time being was working mostly with the congregation in Troy, Alabama in an effort to strengthen and build it up. The Catoma street congregation sent $500.00 to the church in Troy in addition to its continued support for Brother Grider. Financial assistance
— 46 —was also sent to the church at Letohatchee, Alabama.
The records for 1925 show that of every dollar contributed to the church, 71 cents was used for the preaching of the gospel and helping those in need.
In 1926 the church continued its support for Brother Grider as he worked with the church in Troy, Alabama and in his preaching in south Alabama, and Brother Little, as often as he could be spared, was sent to assist him in these places. Financial assistance was also given to the colored congregation on Holt street here in the city.
In June of that year Brother S. P. Pittman from Nashville, Tennessee preached in a gospel meeting for the Catoma street congregation.
In November Brother Little informed the Elders that he would give up his regular work with the church effective April 1, 1927; by which time he would have been with the church a little over six years.
In March of 1927 he, Brother Little, wrote a letter to the Elders in which he listed some suggestions that he thought the new preacher and the church should consider in the immediate future. There were several suggestions listed, but only two of them might be of interest to us:
1. Establish a congregation in Capitol Heights.
2. Work toward either building an entirely new house of worship or remodeling this one within four or five years.
This might be of interest too as it concerns the building. In the business meeting in April, of 1927, Brother N. L. Walker said that an offer of $35,000.00 had been made for the church property.
There were a number of families living in the Capitol Heights area of the city who were interested in establishing a congregation there, and in April a meeting, with this in mind, was held in the home of one of the families. To this meeting some of the leaders from the Catoma street
— 47 —congregation went, but no definite results came from it at that time.
Brother C. J. Copeland from Nashville, Tennessee came down to consider the work but no agreement was made with him. Then Brother T. B. Thompson, who was preaching and working with the church in Lakeland, Florida, came to preach and discuss the work here, and as a result he agreed to come and work with the church, beginning in June.
During the time the congregation was without a regular preacher the records show the following filling in and preaching on Sundays: J. C. Dixon, Elba, Alabama; J. P. Hanlin, Guy I. Renfro; J. S. Moores; L. L. Jones, and Samuel Jordan.
Financial assistance was also sent during the year to the congregation in Coffee Springs, Alabama to help them in the construction of a building in which to meet for worship.
After Brother Little terminated his work with the church in April of 1927 he spent the rest of the year in preaching in south Alabama. His support in this work came not only from the Catoma street church, which was giving $50.00 a month, but from other churches in that section of the state.
To show how active he was and how extensive the work in which he was engaged, the report he made for June is shown as follows:
Preached at:Repton in school building, June 1st, 8 P.M. Jones Mill in Methodist church, June 2nd, 8 P.M. Monroeville in court house, June 3rd, 8 P.M. Excel Church of Christ, June 4th, 8 P.M., June 5th, 11 A.M. & 8 P.M. Fort Deposit, June 12th, 11 A.M. & 8 P.M. Providence rural church, June 12th, 11 A.M. & 8 P.M. Fort Deposit, June 19th, 11 A.M. & 8 P.M.
— 48 —
Awin, near Pine Apple, June 15th 8 P.M.
Dickey's school house near Calhoun, June 19th, 3 P.M.
Evergreen, June 26th, 11 A.M.
Spring Hill in Methodist church near Repton Mission meeting, preaching twice daily from June 26th to June 30th—preached ten sermons.
Meeting at Pine Apple postponed on account of Methodist revival in the town.
The support for this work in south Alabama was discontinued at the close of December; however the support for Brother Grider was continued. He was working with the church in Troy, Alabama as well as preaching throughout that section of the state. In his report for the year he preached in eight meetings in which eighty persons were baptized.
In 1928 Brother Thompson preached in meetings in Biloxi, Mississippi, Troy and Selma, both in Alabama. During his absence Brother Guy Renfro preached for the church here.
Financial help was sent to the congregation in West Palm Beach, Florida during the year.
An effort was made to have a gospel meeting for the church in the fall but the preachers who were contacted were unable to come at that time, so the Elders suggested that Brother Thompson do the preaching, and that he bring in someone, of his choice, to conduct the song service. He contacted Brother C. H. Woodruff of Kentucky who agreed to come and help with the meeting in that respect.
For some time the Elders had been looking for a house which might be bought to be used for the preacher's home. After considering several locations the house at 128 Sayre street was purchased in February of 1929.
In March of that year, 1929, a gospel meeting was held at Catoma Street, in which N. B. Hardeman, President of Freed-Hardeman college at Henderson, Tennessee,
— 49 —
did the preaching. This was a city-wide meeting as far as the churches here were concerned. It was planned and paid for by the churches in the city, and the reason it was held at the building of the Catoma Street congregation, was because of the size of the auditorium and the location of the building to the center of the city.
During that meeting the balcony was used to seat the people; it has not been used for that purpose since.
On June 24 Brother John L. Fitzpatrick died. He had served as one of the elders of the church for more than twenty-five years, and for many of those years had also served as superintendent of the Bible school department.
The church contributed to the support of Brother Floyd Heaton, who was attending Dasher Bible School in Georgia to prepare himself to preach the gospel.
The suggestion made by Brother Little in 1927 regarding the establishment of a congregation in the Capitol Heights section of the city became a reality in May of that year, 1929. He, Brother Little came back to Montgomery and preached in a gospel meeting—where the present building is located—and as a result of that meeting the congregation came into being.
In 1930 the church began sending regular financial support to Sister Sarah Andrews, who was working as a missionary in Japan, and also to Brother S. K. Dong in Korea.
— Brother Thompson was away for a month during the year and, during that time, instead of bringing in a preacher to fill the pulpit in his absence it was decided that the members of the church would do the preaching. Those who did were: E. L. Cullom, N. L. Walker, L. D. Cauthen and R. L. Douglas.
In 1931 the church continued its financial support for Sister Andrews in Japan and Brother Dong in Korea; also support was given to Brother Charlie Landers who was
— 50 —preaching and working in north Alabama. During that year Brother Thompson preached in meetings for the churches at Liberty, Highland Home and Elba, all towns in Alabama.
In April, Brother Claude Woodruff, who had conducted the singing service in the meeting for the church in 1928 in which Brother Thompson had done the preaching, came back to preach in a gospel meeting for the Catoma Street Church.
In 1932 Brother Thompson preached in a meeting for the church in Jacksonville, Florida, and in his absence, Brother Fred Little, who was still preaching and working among the churches in south Alabama, preached for the congregation.
During this year the congregation in the Highland Gardens section of the city was in the process of erecting a building in which to worship and to this work the church gave financial help.
The Elders decided that, instead of bringing in a preacher to hold a gospel meeting for the church, it would be good for the members if Brother Thompson would, each night for a week, preach a series of sermons on Fundamentals.
Brother L. O. Brackeen was appointed superintendent of the Bible school, a work that had been under the supervision of Brother N. L. Walker for a number of years.
The trustees for the church property at this time were: E. R. Barnes, N. L. Walker, E. L. Cullom, Warren Allen, C. E. Walton, John S. Pitts, J. J. Campbell, T. H. Cook, and R. L. Douglas.
As a matter of interest the financial report for the church for the month of August of 1932, as shown in the records, is as follows: Balance as of August 1 was $45.20; contributions for August were $280.88; disbursements were $325.14, leaving a balance of 94 cents as of Septem-
— 51 —ber 1. The unpaid bills due amounted to $44.71.
In an effort to improve the financial situation a letter was sent to all the members asking that they increase their contributions.
In October Brother Thompson notified the Elders that he was terminating his work with the church as of December 31, as he had accepted an offer to work with the church in Jacksonville, Florida.
In January of 1933 the Elders began to look for someone to preach for and work with the church. There were four preachers who came that month to consider the work. They were: Robert Alexander of Nashville, Tennessee; Hugo AlImon of Winchester, Tennessee; J. C. Dixon of Elba, Alabama and D. Ellis Walker from Centerville, Tennessee. From among these four Brother D. Ellis Walker was the one selected, and he moved here and began his work with the church in April.
In August the church terminated its support for Brother Charlie Landers and his work in north Alabama; however it continued its monthly support for Brother Dong in Korea and Sister Andrews in Japan.
There was a need for additional class rooms for the Bible School so the Elders began considering plans for the construction of a building on the vacant lot on the north side of the church building.
In 1934 the church continued its support for Brother Dong and Sister Andrews; also, along with the Highland Avenue congregation, it began support for a preacher for the colored congregation on Holt street here in the city.
In March Brother Batsell Barrett Baxter, president of David Lipscomb College in Nashville, Tennessee preached during the morning service one Sunday. He was in the city on behalf of Christian education.
The plans for the new class room building began to materialize but it was not until 1935 that the building was put up.
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The financial record for the church for August, 1934 showed the following:
August 1 balance .………………. $ 0.41
Contributions ..…………………… $402.36
Disbursements …………………… $397.33
Sept. 1 balance ………………….. $ 5.44
In 1935 the plans for the new building were carried out and the building was erected, giving additional class rooms for the Bible School.
This need for additional space had been brought on by the increase in Bible School attendance, especially in the class taught by Brother John Churchwell, a class made up of those between the ages of 18 and 25. The number in attendance, in this class, had grown to well over a hundred. It was called "The Friendship Class."
The need for additional space for other age groups was also pressing as the Bible School had grown considerably under the able and efficient leadership of Brother L. O. Bracheen, who, in the fall of that year, had to give up his work with the church here as he was transferred, in his work, to Auburn, Alabama. His duties as Bible School superintendent were assumed by Brother R. L. Douglas.
The church, together with the Highland Avenue congregation, supported Brother Marshall Keeble as he preached in a gospel meeting at the Holt Street church for the colored; also the support for the missionaries in Japan and Korea continued.
In April of 1936 Brother C. A. Norred from Abilene, Texas, preached in a gospel meeting for the congregation at Catoma Street.
Brother John Davis became superintendent of the Bible School, relieving Brother R. L. Douglas of that responsibility.
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During this year the church began monthly support for the preaching of the gospel in Cuba, a support which continued for a number of years.
In 1937 the two chairs, which today sit on the rostrum behind the pulpit, were given to the church by Sister N. L. Walker.
After more than four years with the church, Brother D. Ellis Walker resigned, effective July 1, 1937, and moved to Richmond, Virginia to preach for and work with the congregation there, and Brother I. L. Boles was engaged, on a temporary basis, to work with the church until a full time preacher could be secured. This arrangement continued from August through December, during which time efforts were being made to find someone to take up the work here.
The church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama was constructing a building in which to worship and requested help from the Catoma Street church in the purchase of seats for the auditorium. The church sent the requested help; also financial assistance was sent to the church in Prattville, Alabama to help them in the payment of their building.
The church was also having a part in the establishment of a permanent congregation in Auburn, Alabama, in that one of the members at Catoma Street, Brother Furman Cauthen, was preaching and working with the church there; which at the time was meeting in the theatre. Brother Cauthen, before this, had been working with and preaching for the church in Dothan, Alabama.
The regular support for the work in Korea and Japan continued, as well as the support for the preaching of the gospel in Cuba. The support for the Cuba work was being sent through the Nebraska Avenue church in Tampa, Florida.
— 54 —
In February of 1938 Brother James H. McBroom of Atlanta, Georgia came to work on a full time basis with the Catoma Street church. He, later in the year, preached in a gospel meeting for the Highland Gardens congregation here in the city. He was assisted in the meeting by Brother Furman Cauthen who conducted the song services. Brother McBroom and Brother Cauthen were also in a meeting with the church in Prattville, Alabama.
In the spring of 1938 Brother I. L. Boles, who had filled in temporarily at Catoma Street after Brother Walker left, began a work in the Cloverdale section of the city, on Finley Avenue. A number of the members of the Catoma Street congregation moved their membership in order to have a part in the work of this new congregation. That was the beginning of what is known today as the Cloverdale congregation.
During the year a number of new officers were selected to serve the congregation. Two of those were selected to serve as elders, Brothers R. L. Douglas and Rufus Furlong, and eight were selected to serve as deacons, Brothers Frate Bull, Flynn Cauthen, John Davis, Nix Lane, George Slauson, Bibb Stough, Dr. W. V. Stough and T. L. Perdue.
During the year financial support was sent to the church in Cambridge, Mass. The church continued its monthly support for the mission work being done in Japan, Korea and Cuba; however as of the close of the year the support for Sister Andrews in Japan was discontinued.
As 1939 began Brother Charles Bennett was superintendent of the Bible School and plans were being completed for the gospel meeting in April in which Brother Horace Busby of Fort Worth, Texas would do the preaching. It was decided to use someone other than a member of the congregation to conduct the song service dur-
— 55 —
ing the meeting, and Brother Sterling Turner, who preached for the church in Selma, Alabama, was engaged for this.
In June fans were installed in the auditorium, on both sides, just under the edge of the balconys, in an effort to cool it during the summer months.
In July Brother George Slauson gave up his work as a deacon because he and his family were moving to Pasadena, California.
Brother Furman Cauthen, who had been preaching for the church in Auburn, Alabama, was now preaching for the Liberty church, about ten miles south of the city.
In the church bulletin entitled "Catoma's Friendly Message," dated April 1939, is an article written by Brother Furman Cauthen that should bring back memories concerning many of the members of Catoma Street. The article is as follows:
"I uttered a lusty yell and a cheery "Good morning" to this world some years ago and recognized the gentleman hovering over me as Dr. Stough. During those early days of my life, my mama demanded the very best in the grocery and vegetable line so she naturally selected Mr. T. H. Cook and Mr. George Green to furnish these items. Mrs. Evans brought doughnuts over for me to eat, but because I was so young, my papa always ate them. Mama bought my baby shoes from George Slauson, and when I grew up she bought shoes from Nix Lane. Dr. Kendrick and Dr. Glenn Davis kept my teeth in good condition. Mrs. Carnie Turner was my grammar school teacher, and landing in high school, I was fortunate in having Miss Ermine Walker as tutor, but mama thought I was awfully dumb so decided that I needed personal tutoring in Mr. Elly Barnes' private school. Papa was wise in starting a trust fund for me in Mr. Cullom's bank, and we always stopped to chat with Charlie
— 56 —
— Bennett and Auburn Moorer when going down to see Mr. Cullom. Papa bought some insurance from C. Duncan, and often went down to see John Davis about buying a Money Order or depositing Postal Savings. Somehow we always saw Bibb and Durden Stough at the Post Office. When I turned 21 I found Warren Allen a willing helper in getting my poll tax paid. Later I came back to Warren's office to secure a marriage license. John Lawrence supplied wedding invitations, while out of town friends were notified through Nelle Cauthen's Western Union. Clyde Duke and Ethel Whare furnished bride's wearing apparel. Brother McBroom performed the ceremony while Lena Mae Black sang. Flynn Cauthen offered a Montgomery City Lines' bus in which to take a wedding trip, but we chose instead Rufus Furlong's A.C.L. and Tom Perdue's L. & N. Ralph Kennamer and David Harris offered their legal advice in helping us over the barriers of life. I made application for lights at Alma Davis' Power Company, and found that each month I paid my bill to Love Wray, I could speak to Henry Raley, Nell Andrews, and Furman Cauthen. Everyone at Catoma Street has been very nice to us, even Brother Lawson Walker has invited us to come out to Oakwood Cemetery to see him finally."
In April of 1940 Brother H. Leo Boles of Nashville, Tennessee preached in a gospel meeting for the Catoma Street church. In that meeting Brother Warren Allen conducted the song service. Sometime during the spring months the church sent Brother McBroom to Norfolk, Virginia to preach in a meeting for the church there; also he was sent later by the church to preach in a meeting for the church in Samson, Alabama. Brother Faber Cauthen conducted the song service in that meeting.
In July the congregation discontinued its support for
— 57 —
Brother Dong and his work in Korea, support which the church had sent on a monthly basis for the past ten years.
The records show that, for some months, the church supported Brother Rawden Bullard who was preaching for the church in Panama City, Florida; also that financial assistance was given to the church in Ramer, Alabama to help in the construction of their building.
In 1941 Brother Horace Busby of Fort Worth, Texas preached in another gospel meeting for the Catoma Street congregation. This meeting was in April of that year.
During that year the church began supporting, on a monthly basis, Brother Athel Crowson who was preaching in south Alabama; also, financial help was given to the Capitol Heights congregation to assist them in the construction of their new building, and to the church in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The support for those preaching and working in Cuba continued.
In 1942 there was no gospel meeting held at Catoma Street, but the church was active in seeing that the gospel was being preached in other places.
It began monthly support for a preacher to work with the church in Dothan, Alabama, and Brother Cecil Perryman, who was preaching for the church in West Palm Beach, Florida, moved to Dothan to preach for the church there. Financial support was also sent, on a monthly basis, to Brother Lewis Casey to help support him as he preached and worked in south Alabama, especially with the church in Excel. Help, in a financial way, was sent to the churches in Biloxi, Mississippi and Boaz, Alabama.
In 1943 Brother McBroom was away during the months of July, August and September, and to take his place during that time, the Elders brought in, upon the recommendation of Brother E. H. Ijams of David Lipscomb College, a young man by the name of James Smythe.
During that year the church again helped the church
— 58 —
in Troy, Alabama, continued its support for Brother Casey at Excel and Brother Perryman at Dothan. Help was also sent, on a monthly basis, to the church at Atmore, Alabama to help them support a preacher, and to the church at Vina, Alabama.
— In January of 1944 Brother McBroom notified the Elders that he would terminate his work with the church in April, thus giving them time to find someone to take his place before he left. During the ensuing months there were three preachers who came to consider the work and to be considered by the congregation. They were Brothers Homer Reeves, who was working with the church in Auburn, Alabama, Billy Norris from Knoxville, Tennessee and Jack Hackworth from Tuscumbia, Alabama. Of the three agreement was made with Brother Billy Norris; however he could not make the move until October.
In January the house at 128 Sayre street, which the church had bought for the preacher's home, was sold. This left the church without a house into which Brother Norris could move when he came, and as the country was still at war vacant houses and apartments were hard to find. As a result, when he came in October, the church had not found a place in the city for him to live. A house was found, some ten or fifteen miles south of the city, and here he moved his family. Living so far away was a disadvantage to him and his work with the congregation.
The church continued its monthly financial support for Brother Casey at Excel and for the missionaries in Cuba; also monthly support began for the preaching of the gospel in Kosciusko, Mississippi. Financial help was sent to the church in Chiefland, Florida.
The church in Atmore, Alabama notified the congregation that the monthly support being sent there was no longer needed as the church was now able to fully support their preacher.
In 1945 the church sent, in addition to its regular
— 59 —
monthly contribution, $500.00 to the Potter Orphan Home in Kentucky to help in the construction of a new building. Assistance was given to the church at Jemison, Alabama and the church at Oak Bowery near Troy. $1,000.00 was given by the church to David Lipscomb College in Nashville, Tennessee.
Brother Norris, during the year, began a radio program over one of the stations in the city.
In April Brother C. R. Brewer from Nashville, Tennessee, preached in a gospel meeting for the church.
Brother Norris, in September, told the Elders that he planned to terminate his work with the church as of the end of the year.
When January of 1947 arrived the church was without the services of a regular preacher, so the elders engaged Brother Ray Dillard to preach for and to work with the church until someone could be found. Brother Leon Burns from Decatur, Alabama came in March to consider the work but no agreement was made with him; then in April Brother Howard Allen, from Atlanta, Georgia, who had been considering the work, agreed to come.
During the year $500.00 was sent to the church in Eufaula, Alabama to help in the purchase of a lot on which to build; also $300.00 was sent to the orphan home in Tipton, Oklahoma to help repair fire damage there. Support to Potter Orphan Home in Kentucky was continued as well as support for Brother Casey in south Alabama.
In 1947 there was no gospel meeting scheduled for the church at Catoma street; however its support for the preaching of the gospel in other places was continued.
$500.00 was sent to the church in Thomaston, Georgia. The church agreed to support Brother Cecil Perryman, who had been with the church in Dothan, Alabama, in his work with the church in Columbia, South Carolina. This support was to continue through 1948. Financial sup-
— 60 —port was also sent to the churches in Aliceville, Alabama, Pampa, Texas and Durham, North Carolina.
The church sent $500.00 to the congregation in Hopewell, Virginia which had sponsored a tent meeting for the colored in which Brother John R. Vaughner had done the preaching. During this meeting 138 had been baptized, including a Baptist preacher and his congregation. The money was sent to help provide a place for the new congregation to meet for worship. The account, as given by the former Baptist preacher, of his conversion, as well as that of others with him is as follows:
— "I had attempted to preach since I was five, making it public at the age of twenty-three. Having finished Carter G. Woodson High School, I attended Bishop Payne Divinity School for one year; then attended Virginia State College for two years. During this time I was preaching to three Baptist congregations—one in the city and two in the rural districts. These I served for five years.
— It was on September 2, 1947, that I heard the real gospel in all of its purity, preached by John R. Vaughner. Brother Vaughner was in a two weeks' revival tent meeting, which was sponsored by the white church, the only one in Hopewell, Virginia, at that time.
— After a week of stubbornness, I obeyed the gospel, persuading the people I served—sixty-two persons—to walk out of the Baptist Church with me into the Church of Christ. We were all baptized the same day—Sunday, September 14, 1947.
— That following week we went to my home in Prince George County, Virginia, and preached to my mother and father, and, after a long fight, they obeyed and were baptized that same day in old James River."
— As soon as I became a Christian, it was then
— 61 —
that I told the brethren that I wanted to become a preacher of righteousness, and I was told about the Christian Institute (Marshall Keeble’s “Nashville Christian Institute) and its wonderful work, so I began to make ready for Tennessee. I count it all a blessing from God. I found in this school everything that a real man of God should seek for, for they struggle to teach the Bible in all of its truth.
— I am glad to say that I learned more in six weeks under Brother Brents' instruction in Bible and in the class of public speaking conducted by Sister Lambert Campbell than I learned in six years studying at various other schools.
— I am married, and have three boys. My wife was employed as a maid in the Girl's Dormitory at David Lipscomb College while I was a student at the Nashville Christian Institute. I am thirty years old, and am now minister of the gospel at Liberty City congregation, Miami, Florida."
Robert McBryde, a young man from the Holt street church, the congregation for the colored, asked the Catoma street church for assistance so that he could finish his schooling at the Nashville Christian Institute, where he was preparing himself to preach; he lacked a year and a half. The Elders agreed to supply the help that he needed.
In October Brother Howard Allen was away on vacation and Brother J. C. Dixon from Elba, Alabama preached for the congregation during his absence. Brother Allen held two meetings during the year, one at Midway and the other at Clanton, both in Alabama. During his absence for these meetings the pulpit at Catoma Street was filled by the following: Isaac Pittman, Marshall Redmon, Ralph Kenammer, Durden Stough and John Davis.
In April of 1948 Brother J. M. Powell from the Seminole Avenue congregation in Atlanta, Georgia preach-
— 62 —
ed in a gospel meeting for the church. Brother Furman Cauthen conducted the song service during the meeting.
The church continued its monthly support for Brother Dong in Korea during that year, and also sent financial assistance to the church in Newton, Mississippi, as well as to three churches in Alabama, Piedmont, Thomaston and Brundidge.
As a note of interest, it was in July of 1948 that a city bus, in a collision with an automobile, jumped the curb and sidewalk and went into the side of the building where the entrance is on Church street. The doors and parts of the wall around them were knocked out by the impact.
Notice was received during the year of the passing of Brother L. D. Cauthen, who had served the congregation for many years as one of its elders. At the time of his death he was a member of another congregation in the city, having moved into that part of the town. Brother Cauthen, being a skilled craftsman by trade, made the table upon which the communion service now sits at Catoma Street.
Notice was also received of the death of Brother T. B. Thompson, who had preached for the church in the late twenties and early thirties. At the time of his death he was in Texas, where he had been for a number of years. One of those having a part in the funeral services was Brother C. M. Stubblefield, who had also preached at Catoma Street, from 1916 to 1920.
During the year 1949 the church continued its support of the gospel being preached in other places. Besides the regular monthly support $300.00 was sent to the congregation in Monroeville, Alabama to help in the construction of a meeting house. During the year Brother Allen preached in meetings in Nashville, Tennessee, Midway and Jemison, in Alabama. During his absence those preaching for the Catoma Street church were: Durden
— 63 —
Stough, Isaac Pittman, Ralph Kenammer, Ernest King, H. L. Foshee and Amos Ray.
Extensive repair work was done that year to the outside of the church building. The brick were cleaned by sand blasting and then tucked with new mortar.
In August of 1950 Brother Howard Allen terminated his work with the congregation, and Brother E. C. McKenzie, who had been preaching for the downtown congregation in Chicago, Illinois came to work with the church. Also, during the year financial support was sent to Childhaven Orphan Home in Cullman, Alabama, and to the churches in Demopolis, Alabama and Washington, D.C.
Notice was also received during the year of the death of Brother C. M. Stubblefield in Abilene, Texas. As has been noticed, he preached at Catoma Street some thirty years ago.
In the fall of that year a public address system was installed in the auditorium.
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In 1951 the elevator was installed in the building. The church continued its regular support for the missionaries in Cuba and Brother Dong in Korea, and in addition began sending regular monthly contributions to Childhaven Orphan Home in Cullman, Alabama. Financial assistance was also sent to the congregation at Georgiana, Alabama and to the King Hill congregation here in the city.
In January of 1952 a committee from the congregation, consisting of Brother N. L. Walker, E. L. Cullom, John Davis and Durden Stough, visited the brethren in Eufaula, Alabama with the view in mind of giving them the support and help they needed, financial and otherwise, to establish the church on a firm and permanent basis. After the visit the Elders at Catoma Street gave $500.00 to those brethren to help in the purchase of pews for the building and agreed to give $200.00 each month for two years to help support a preacher to work on a full time basis with them. Until a preacher could be found, who could move to Eufaula and work with the church there, various members from Catoma Street would go on Sunday and preach for them. Those who did this were: John Davis, James Britnell, Charles T. Herndon, Duke Melton, Durden Stough and Joe Tarpley.
In addition to this new work, and along with the regular monthly support being sent to Childhaven Orphan Home, and to those in Cuba and Korea the church gave financial assistance to the churches in Anchorage, Alaska, Monroeville and Tuskegee, both in Alabama, Sumpter, South Carolina, and to those preaching the gospel in Nigeria, Africa.
In 1953 plans were made to establish a Bible Chair at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, and to help in this effort the church gave $1,000.00.
During that year a congregation had been established
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at Demopolis, Alabama and the church gave those brethren $500.00 to assist them; and, in addition to the regular support being sent to other places, financial help was sent to the church in Winona, Minnesota and again to the church in Anchorage, Alaska.
After faithfully directing the song services of the congregation for more than thirty years, Brother Warren Allen requested that he be relieved of that responsibility on a regular basis. He said that he had reached the age where it was putting too much of a physical strain upon him, and so it was time to give that responsibility to a younger man. He said that he would still be available to assist and to fill in whenever needed.
Brother Allen had been faithful and diligent in conducting the song services through all of those years. That was one part of the worship service that the Elders were never concerned about, because they knew that in his hands it would be ably done. Brother Allen was seldom absent, and when he was he would see that someone was there to take his place.
The Elders could have truly said of him as the Lord did to the servant to whom he had given the five talents, "Well done thou good and faithful servant," because he had faithfully used his talent, his ability, in the service of the church.
In October Brother Richard Rivers took the place of Brother Allen in leading the singing of the congregation in its worship. Brother Rivers was the director of music at Huntingdon College here in the city.
In November of that year the congregation suffered the loss of two of its Elders through death. First was Brother E. R. Barnes, who died on November 10, 1953.
He was the son of J. M. Barnes, who had established the congregation some seventy years back.
Brother Barnes had not followed in his father's footsteps as a preacher, though he did preach when the
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occasion demanded it, but he had followed in them as a teacher and an educator. That was his vocation. For a number of years he conducted a school for boys known as "Barnes' School." This school had been started by his father, and at one time had been conducted, for a short time, in the class rooms of the church building on Catoma street. Later the Pickett home on the corner of Clayton and Moulton streets (now occupied by the Sherwin-Williams Paint Company) was purchased and converted for school use, and there the school remained until it was closed in the late 1940's.
Brother Barnes had an ability that was so necessary and vital in one who had the responsibility of guiding and leading the Lord's church, yet it was one that was, and is, so rarely found. That was foresight, the ability to foresee.
God, through the prophet Isaiah said, "I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning."
This ability, within human limitations, to see the end from the beginning, Brother Barnes had. He so often could see into what a movement or a trend would develop. Many times ideas and suggestions would be made, which at the time seemed good and right, but Brother Barnes, with his uncanny foresight, would show into what they might and could lead, and would thus steer the church in the right course to take or the right decision to make.
He saw, from the trends and attitudes among the churches of his day, the resulting problems that would arise; and many of those problems, as he had said they would, confront the church in this year of 1973.
He faithfully served the congregation as one of its Elders for more than thirty years.
The month of November, 1953, was indeed a sad one for the Catoma street congregation. In less than three
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weeks after the death of Brother Barnes, the church was destined to lose, through death, another one of its Elders, Brother R. L. Douglas. Brother Barnes died on Tuesday, November 10, and Brother Douglas died on Monday, November 30.
Brother Douglas had served the congregation as one of its Elders for fifteen years. He had been appointed on June 26, 1938 in a ceremony presided over by Brother Barnes, who preceded him in death.
Brother Douglas was a faithful and dedicated Elder of the Church. His love and respect for God's Word made it a constant guide and a source of strength for him in the carrying out of his responsibilities.
He was not an outward man by nature, more often than not, leaving to others the appearances before the congregation when it came to sermons, announcements, etc.; however he was amply qualified, and when the occasion demanded he would ably perform the duties needed.
Brother Douglas was not one who jumped to conclusions nor rendered quick decisions or judgments—a quality most needed by an Elder of the Church. He was an accountant and Bookkeeper by profession, and the principles of exactness and accuracy, which guided him in his profession also guided him in his responsibilities as an Elder.
When problems arose he would listen to those concerned to make sure he would have all the facts, then weigh them carefully so that he might be as fair and accurate as humanly possible in the decision he would make.
In the passing of Brother Douglas the church lost a good man and a faithful Elder.
— In 1954 the congregation, besides the monthly support being sent to the church in Eufaula, Alabama, and to those preaching and teaching in Cuba and Korea, began sending financial assistance, monthly, to the churches in Monroeville and Demopolis, both in Alabama, to help
— 68 —them until they could become self supporting. Help was also sent to the church in Montevallo, Alabama.
To improve conditions in the auditorium, the fans were replaced with window air conditioning units in the spring of that year.
Also during that year, Brothers John Davis and T. L. Perdue, two of the deacons, were selected to service the congregations as elders, and Brothers Ernest King and James Britnell were selected to serve as deacons.
In 1955 financial support, on a monthly basis, continued for the churches as shown in the year 1954. To these was added another one, the church in Winona, Minnesota. The church gave $1,000.00 to the work at the University in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, also help was sent to the churches in Moundville and Alex City, Alabama, and Dawson, Georgia.
In 1956 the church added to those places receiving monthly support the church in Linden, Alabama and the work at the University of Alabama. Besides these financial help was sent to the churches in Cordele, Georgia and Aberdeen, North Carolina.
In March of 1957 Brother McKenzie terminated his work with the Catoma street church to move to Monroe, Louisiana to work with the congregation there, and for better than four months the church was without the services of a regular preacher. Part of that time the pulpit was filled by various members of the congregation, namely, John Davis, James Britnell, Charles Herndon, Hugh Anderson, Durden Stough and Jerry Simpkins, and at other times preachers from the various congregations within the city would preach.
During that year the old carpet in the auditorium was replaced with new.
Also, during the year, the church continued its support for the spreading of the gospel in other localities. There were nine places receiving regular monthly support
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from the church. Those places were: The missionaries in Cuba, Potter Orphan Home in Kentucky, Childhaven Orphan Home in Cullman, Alabama, the church in Winona, Minnesota, and in Alabama the churches in the following places, Demopolis, Eufaula, Monroeville, University Avenue in Tuscaloosa, and Linden. Besides the help to these places the church sent help to the church at Centre, Alabama.
In August of 1957 Brother Anthony Emmons, who had been preaching for the church in Mayfield, Kentucky, moved to Montgomery to preach for and work with the Catoma street congregation.
In 1958 Brother Emmons was away in a number of gospel meetings. He preached in one for the Woodlawn congregation in Birmingham, Alabama, and in one for the church in Baltimore, Maryland. He was sent by the Catoma street church to hold meetings for the churches at Eufaula and Demopolis, both in Alabama. These churches were being supported by the Catoma Street congregation. During his absence the pulpit at Catoma Street was filled by various members of the congregation.
The church also sent financial help to the churches at Davenport, Millbrook and Tuskegee, all in Alabama.
Also, in October of that year, a new heating system was installed in the building.
In the church bulletin of September 7, 1958 appeared an item of interest:
Tragic Fire Narrowly Averted
— Almost providential timing, and quick action on the part of Brother Duke Melton may have saved our building from being destroyed by fire. On Sunday evening, August 24th, just before the beginning of the service, Brother Melton discovered smoke in one of the downstairs class rooms. He found a set of maps burning vigorously and an electric fan running in the room. Some suspected
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attempted arson, but it could have been merely circumstantial. Thankfully we can report that the flames were extinguished and worship services was not even disturbed.
In 1959 two changes took place in the leadership of the congregation. Dr. Charles T. Herndon was selected to serve as one of the elders, and Brother R. E. Furlong, who had served the church for a number of years as one of its elders, moved his membership to the Capitol Heights congregation here in the city.
Brother Emmons was away in a number of gospel meetings during that year and his place at Catoma Street was filled on Sundays by various members of the congregation.
The church, besides its regular monthly support for churches and for preaching in various places, sent help to the churches at Oceana, Virginia, Oglethorpe, Georgia and Camden, Alabama.
Also, that year, foam cushions were purchased for the seats in the auditorium.
In July of 1960 Brother Richard Rivers, after serving the congregation as song director for about seven years, terminated his work with the church, and Brother Russell Beliech came in October and served as song leader through December.
Also in 1960 Brother Emmons gave up his work with the congregation in July to work with the Dalraida church here in the city, and for more than two months the church was without a regular preacher. During that time Brother Donald Earwood, who had just returned from the mission field, agreed to preach for the congregation until a regular preacher could be found.
Among the preachers who came to consider the work was Brother George Herring, who at the time was preaching for the church in Andalusia, Alabama, and arrangements were made with him to come and work with the church. He came in October.
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During that year a new lighting system was installed in the auditorium of the church building, and a new floor was put in the basement.
At the end of the year the church ended its monthly support being sent to the church in Eufaula, Alabama, because the church there was now able to support itself and the work it was doing The Catoma Street church had been helping support the church there for eight years.
In January of 1961 Brother Edward Ritchie, who assumed the duties of music director at Alabama Christian College, began his work with the church as song director. He remained with the congregation until September.
The church, during that year of 1961, continued to send monthly support to the church in Winona, Minnesota, and to the churches at the following places in Alabama: Demopolis, Linden, Monroeville, and at the University; also monthly assistance was sent to the Childhaven and Potter Orphan Homes. In addition to helping these places the church sent help to the Manhattan church in New York City and to the colored congregation in Ozark, Alabama.
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In 1962 the church ended its monthly support for those who were preaching and teaching the gospel in Cuba. This support had been sent since 1936, some twenty-five years; however it assumed the responsibility of helping to support, on a monthly basis, the efforts to preach the gospel in three new localities. One was the Appleton congregation near Brewton, Alabama, and the other two churches were in Virginia, Norfolk and Covington.
With the addition of these new places the church, in that year was supporting, on a monthly basis, the preaching of the gospel in eight different localities. Besides that regular support financial assistances was sent to the churches at Newnan, Georgia, Grand Forks, North Dakota, Connellsville, Penna., Louisville, Alabama and Manchester, Georgia. The church also sent $500.00 to the Manhattan Church in New York City, $500.00 to the church at Crestview, Florida to be used in tornado relief, and helped, in a financial way, the Capitol Heights congregation, here in the city, with the expenses of their weekly radio program.
During the spring of the year Brother Herring spent a month at Hartford, Alabama. He went there with the purpose in mind of establishing a congregation. He spent the first two weeks visiting the people in their homes and places of business, telling them about the New Testament Church and inviting them to come and hear the gospel sermons that he would be preaching each night during the last two weeks of that month. This preaching he did under a tent located on a vacant lot within the town limits. He spent the days of that entire month in visiting the people and talking with them about the church, and, in addition, preaching each night during the last two weeks. He did not, at that time, accomplish his purpose of establishing a congregation, but he did lay the ground work that resulted in the establishing of one later on.
The records for 1962 show that, with the additional
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mission work undertaken by the church, seventy-one cents out of every dollar contributed by the members was being used for the preaching of the gospel.
On October 9, 1962 Brother E. L. Cullom, one of the members at Catoma Street, died. He had been a member of the congregation for fifty-seven years and was respected by all for his faithfulness, his knowledge of the scriptures, his sincerity, his concern for the church and his participation in the work of the church. Many times when a question would arise concerning the Bible or the church you would hear the statement made, "Ask Brother Cullom."
He was not an elder, could not have been—because he had never married—but was looked upon as, might be said, "an elder without portfolio." Because of his knowledge, experience and understanding he often met with the elders in their meetings and was consulted by them when decisions had to be made regarding the affairs of the church.
By the members of the congregation he was held in the same esteem and shown the same respect as were the elders.
In "The Exhorter," the bulletin published by the church, dated August 2, 1959 is an article about Brother Cullom. It is a tribute to him written by Brother E. R. Barnes who was a close and personal friend during all of the years he was at Catoma Street. It is as follows:
— "History oftentimes records the name of a notable character who is praised and honored because he was faithful during a period of national peril. And, too, history will emblazon a name on its pages, because the man has exhibited, with pertinacity and intelligence, one and a single virtue. A rare thing, indeed, it is to read of a statesman, or a soldier, who has been faithful over many things during a long lifetime.
— Our Lord speaking in a parable, has a master
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— to say to his servant: ". . . thou has been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: . . ." The servant was rewarded for discharging well a trust over a few things. For a short season, only, was he faithful—while his master was away on a journey.This little sketch is being servant of Our Lord Jesus, who over many things for nearly half written about a has been faithful a century.
That servant in the parable expected to be recompensed with wages, for all the troubles and care which he expended. The subject of this sketch looked for no pay in his youth, when he began laboring in the Master's Vineyard. Never has he received any reward, beyond the love and appreciation of his fellow Christians.
Nor does he now expect any award, until he shall receive the victor's palm for righteous, able, and untiring service, from the King of Glory.
Forty-three years ago, E. L. Cullom came to live in Montgomery. A stranger. He had employment: he had been previously recommended to the officers of the First National Bank. His coming to the Bank was not a chance happening; but it was attributable to his having already proved, elsewhere, his sense of responsibility and his efficiency.
His first Sunday in Montgomery, he worshipped at Catoma Street. He sat up front, he made himself known to the elders, and to the preacher, J. M. Barnes. Within a short time, important work was assigned to him.
It will be intriguing entertainment for any reader of the Messenger who enjoys arithmetical calculation, to estimate how many times in these long years Brother Cullom has done formal teaching; how many times he has stood before a Sunday School class and taught; how many times he
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— has presided at Wednesday night prayer meeting, has spoken at young people's meetings; how many times he has addressed the general assembly of the congregation.Two thousand two thundred thirty-six times he has instructed in his class on Sunday mornings. Add to this, an estimated average of his speaking to the whole Sunday School at its assembly period, once a month. And an average of once a month his having charge of prayer meeting service.
Also must be added an estimated one hundred times during his forty-three years of membership at Catoma Street Church, that he has spoken before the entire church, from the pulpit; or has assisted at Sunday afternoon services at some mission point.
A grand total this gives, partly estimated, above three thousand three hundred times, that this brother has devoted his talents to the undertaking of teaching the Holy Scriptures.
And what talents!
Brother Cullom possesses a native talent for instructing. He has an earnest manner. He explains carefully and reasons logically. He is never tiresome.
He is well educated, having been schooled in a famous classical academy—the kind of school for which his birthstate, Tennessee, is noted.
Above all, he has an incisive mind and the habit of meticulous investigation. No. Not above all. First, must be put his love of Truth, and his absolute honesty in searching the Scriptures to ascertain truth.
Brother Cullom has equipped himself with a suitable stock of books: the different texts of the Scriptures; authorities on different books; commentaries and dictionaries.
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— The number one man in the Catoma Street Church of Christ, now, for many years, has been
E. L. Cullom. Measured by zeal, knowledge of the Bible, ability to instruct, readiness to respond to calls for service, promptness in being at post of duty, regularity in attendance—measured by all these, he is number one. It is not too much to say, he is first in every one of these virtues.
In only a few matters does Brother Cullom take a small part. He bothers very little about physical equipment and the care of church property. He had no part in superintending the repairing of the damage done recently to the building by a runaway bus.
But he knows more about the people who compose the church than anyone else knows. He calls more of them by their correct names. He knows all who are prevented from attending church services; he visits these. He is the friend of everybody.
E. L. Cullom is the person who unlocks the church door and lights up, on stormy meeting nights—too stormy for the janitor to venture out. He is the person who takes charge whenever any other person previously appointed to a duty fails to appear. He is the person who, every Lord's Day, provides the loaf for commemorating the Lord's Supper.
He comes very close to fitting into the figure, "mainspring of church activities."
— Mr. E. L. Cullom is widely and favorably known in Montgomery. He has intimate friends of influence and importance. These all know of his religious activities; they respect him for his principles.
He is not a busybody, although he is actuated by strong convictions. He does not consider that
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— he has been nominated by Heaven to oversee the other congregations in the city. He is a force for goodfellowship.
Were the question asked of the older members of the Church, who could least be spared, the answer would be, Brother Cullom."
Through his will Brother Cullom gave $200,000.00 to Alabama Christian College. This money was used to construct the building known as the rotunda, and designated the E. L. Cullom Rotunda. He also gave $200,000.00 to the Childhaven Orphan Home at Cullman, Alabama.
In 1963, in addition to the eight different places to which monthly support was being sent for the preaching of the gospel, the church assumed the responsibility of helping to support, on a monthly basis, the efforts being made to establish the church in another locality. Brother Marvin Bryant was teaching and preaching in Gafney, South Carolina and the support was to help him in that work.
In addition to those monthly commitments, financial help was sent to the church at Calhoun, Georgia, the church in Hawaii, the churches in Andrews and Charlotte, North Carolina, Alamo, Tennessee and Greenville, South Carolina. Help was also sent to the brethren in Torrion, Mexico.
Brother Jack Zorn, who had been working with one of the congregations in Pensacola, Florida, moved his family to the town of Donaldsonville, Georgia. There was no New Testament Church in the town and Brother Zorn's purpose in moving there was to remain and work until one was established. In the spring the Catoma Street Church sent Brother Herring there to assist Brother Zorn in his efforts. A congregation was established and to assist them the church began sending monthly financial help. With the addition of the effort the Catoma Street Church was supporting, on a monthly basis, the preaching of the gospel in ten different localities.
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In September Brother Murray Stinson, who was in school at Alabama Christian College, began his work with the church as song leader.
In November of that year, 1963, Brother Sterl Watson, who was working with the Childhaven Orphan Home in Cullman, Alabama, preached in a gospel meeting for the church.
In 1963 the congregation suffered the loss of another one of its elders. Brother N. L. Walker died on April 10,1963.
He had faithfully served the church in that capacity for more than forty years, and was beloved by every member of the congregation for his gentle and kind manner, and for his interest in and concern for them.
Brother E. L. Cullom had, in August of 1961, written an article about Brother Walker. It was a tribute to him. They had been closely associated in the church and in secular life for more than fifty years. The article is a memorial to Brother Walker as a man, as a Christian, and as an elder of the Lord's Church. The following is the article written by Brother Cullom:
"I have known Brother Walker for more than half a century. During all these years he has been active in church work.
In his younger years he was a leader in cottage prayer meetings and Bible study. These meetings were held in the homes of some of the members of the congregation. Their friends and neighbors were invited to join in the study.
Brother Walker spent many Sunday afternoons visiting the sick and indifferent. At that time there were few automobiles in Montgomery. He did not have one; he walked. The congregation, then as now, was scattered over the city. His visits were not confined to any one area.
Until recent years he has been a teacher in Sunday school. Sometimes he taught young people,
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— other times he taught adults. He always brought a prepared lesson to the class. Often he tried to impress upon the pupils a particular point.
Brother Walker has a pleasing personality. When he speaks to a person, he greets the person with a smile and it is not unusual for him to say something good about the person. His motto is:
Turn the brighter side outward.
Brother Walker has held about every office in the church. He has been superintendent of the Sunday School, church treasurer, a Deacon and for nearly forty years has been an Elder. He is conscious of the responsibility and dignity of the office. Things that he could do with impunity he refrains from doing, lest he place a stumbling block in the way of others.
When a delicate problem arises in the church the other elders say, "Let Brother Walker handle it." With his diplomacy and suavity of manner he can successfully handle a problem where another would bungle it. I do not mean to insinuate that he is a pollyana; where firmness is necessary he can apply pressure.
As the years of his days increase, his activity decreases. There was a time when he could and did preach. Things that he used to do, he now delegates to younger men. He is ever ready to give them the benefit of his experience and good judgment.
Even at his age, he perhaps does more church visiting than any other man in the congregation.
Brother Walker is cognizant of the fact that in any congregation there are members who at times are hard pressed financially. He is ever alert to consult the other Elders as to the advisability of the church sending aid to any such persons at Catoma Street.
— 80 —While the Church is Brother Walker's life, he has given liberally of his time to civic affairs. For years he was on the Board of Directors of the Y.M.C.A. He was also a member of the Kiwanis Club. He is well known and respected by the people of Montgomery.
The question, who will take Brother Walker's place? sometimes arises. The answer is easy, no one. The work will go on, but there will not be another N. L. Walker."
In 1964 the church substantially increased its financial help to churches in other places. In addition to the four in Alabama and the five outside of the state which were receiving monthly support, the church gave $1,612.00 to the church in Charlotte, North Carolina to pay for the radio program "Words of Life," which was broadcast each Sunday morning over one of the radio stations there. This was the same program broadcast by the Capitol Heights congregation over one of the radio stations here in the city in which Brother Clyde Fulmer did the speaking. The Capitol Heights church furnished the programs and the Catoma Street church paid for the time. $1,000.00 was given to the church at Hartford, Alabama to help in the construction of a building in which to meet. Financial help was also sent to Brother Orlin Miller, a missionary in Greece, to the Flatwood and Georgiana churches here in the state, and to the churches in Picayune, Mississippi and Fairbanks, Alaska.
During the year the church installed, in the basement of the main building and in the annex, a new air conditioning and heating system.
The monthly contribution to the Childhaven Orphan Home in Cullman, Alabama, which the church had been making since 1951, was discontinued.
In August of that year Brother G. K. Wallace of Henderson, Tennessee preached in a gospel meeting for the
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congregation, and also in that month, Brother Murray Stinson relinquished his duties as song leader of the church as he was moving to Nashville, Tennessee to attend David Lipscomb College. Brother Don Latham, also a student at Alabama Christian College, took his place with the church as song leader, beginning in September.
In 1965 the support of efforts to preach the gospel in other localities increased.
The Elders received word from the church in Demopolis, Alabama that they were now in a position to support themselves and their work, and that the monthly financial support, which Catoma Street had been sending since 1954, was no longer needed, so during the year that support was discontinued; however the church began regular monthly support for the preaching of the gospel in two other places. Those obligations were, $50.00 each month to the church at Sylvester, Georgia, and $100.00 each month to help support Brother Fitzhugh Ellington in his efforts to establish a strong congregation in Camden, Alabama, to which he had moved. The church also began sending a monthly contribution to the Mount Dora Orphan Home in Florida.
In addition to the monthly obligations of support the church again that year, as it had in 1964, paid for the radio time so that the congregation in Charlotte, North Carolina could continue to broadcast the program "Words of Life." That was around $1,600.00. The church gave $500.00 to each of the following places: the Hunter Station congregation here in the city, the congregation at Rockford, Alabama, and to the mission fund for Brother Henry Pierce, who was preaching and working in Africa.
The records for that year show that out of every dollar contributed by the members of the church, seventy-four cents was used for the preaching of the gospel and to help those in need.
In July Brother Don Latham, who had been directing the song services of the church since September of 1964, gave up that work as he was moving from the city, and
— 82 —Brother James Moore, also a student at Alabama Christian College, took his place, beginning in August.
In October a gospel meeting was held at Catoma Street in which a different preacher spoke each night, beginning on a Sunday morning and continuing through the following Friday night. Those who spoke were: E. R. Brannan, Dabney Phillips, Willard Willis, Kenneth Reed, Rex Turner, Franklin Camp and Clyde Fulmer.
In 1966 the church continued its increase of financial support for the preaching of the gospel in other places. By the end of the year it was supporting, on a monthly basis, the preaching of the gospel in ten different localities, five of those were in the state of Alabama and five were in other states. This support amounted to $750.00 each month. Besides that $1,755.00 was sent to Brother J. C. Bailey, a missionary in India, $1,000.00 was sent to the congregation at Auburn, Alabama, and $500.00 to the Carrollton Avenue congregation in New Orleans, Louisiana, and to churches in nine other places financial assistance was sent in lesser amounts.
The financial records for that year show that, out of every dollar contributed, eighty cents was used for the preaching of the gospel and benevolent work.
In August Brother James Moore, who had been leading the song service for the church for the past year, terminated that work with the congregation as he had graduated and was moving from the city. Brother Delisle Black, a member of the congregation, assumed that responsibility.
The church in Monroeville, Alabama notified the Elders that it was now strong enough to support itself and the work it was doing, so, as of the end of the year, Catoma Street discontinued that support. The church had helped support the Monroeville church for twelve years.
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In 1967 the church became interested in the mission work being done in India to the point of taking an active part in it.
In the early 1960's Brother J. C. Bailey, a Canadian, had gone to India and had found the people very receptive to the gospel. Through his preaching and teaching thousands had become Christians, but he had, so to speak, only touched the hem of the garment as far as reaching all of the people who were ready to hear the gospel. More workers were needed so the call went out for help.
Brother Carl Johnson and his wife, also Canadians, answered the call and went into southern India to a place called Mount Zion. Here, besides his preaching and teaching, he planned to conduct a school in which the Indians could be taught the Bible and trained to preach the gospel to their own people.
Brother J. C. Bailey was also in the process of establishing such a school in Madras, which was also in southern India, and it was to help in these projects that the church sent $1,755.00 in 1966. $1,200.00 was sent to Brother Bailey and $555.00 was sent to Brother Johnson.
The Shades Mountain congregation in Birmingham, Alabama undertook the support for Brother and Sister Johnson in their work at Mount Zion, and from their reports, as well as from the reports of Brother J. C. Bailey, of the great opportunities available for the preaching of the gospel and the need for help, the Elders at Catoma Street decided to become involved.
The Elders learned that Brother Cecil Bailey and his wife, also Canadians—only citizens of Canada were allowed to remain in India for any length of time—were planning to go to Mount Zion to assist the Johnsons if support could be found, so they invited him to come to Montgomery to discuss the work and his plans.
He came in the spring of that year, 1967, and as a
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result of his visit and the discussion, the church, through the Elders, agreed to send him and his wife, and to fully support them for three years. His plans were to leave in the late summer, but due to technicalities the Indian government did not clear his entrance in time, so his leaving was postponed until the following year.
In June of 1967 Brother Orlin Miller preached in a gospel meeting for the church. During that meeting, which lasted one week, Brother Jesse Russell conducted the song services.
At the close of that year the church discontinued its financial support for the church at Linden, Alabama. The brethren there felt that the church had grown to the point that it no longer needed outside help. Catoma Street had been supporting the church, on a monthly basis, since its establishment in 1956.
The church continued its regular monthly support for the churches in the following places: the University in Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Camden, Alabama; Covington, Virginia; Winona, Minnesota; Donaldsonville, Georgia; Sylvester, Georgia; Hartford, Alabama and Gaffney, South Carolina. In addition financial help was sent to those preaching the gospel in Paris, France, Japan, Pakistan, Bermuda, and to Henry Pierce in Zambia, Africa. In this country assistance was given to the churches at Coldwater, Michigan; Williamston, South Carolina, and a colored congregation at Lapine, Alabama. $500.00 was sent to Brother Carl Johnson in India and $1,000.00 was given to the church at Auburn, Alabama.
The church also helped with the television program ”Journey To Eternity" put on by the West End congregation, in cooperation with the churches in the city. The amount of financial help was $800.00.
The financial support for the church in Gaffney, South Carolina, was discontinued as it was now strong enough to be self supporting.
In 1968 the monthly support for the church at Hart-
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ford, Alabama was discontinued as the oversight and responsibility for that work was assumed by the Christian Home congregation which was close to Hartford. This left the church with nine monthly obligations of support for churches in different localities, and these obligations were maintained through the year.
Also during that year financial assistance was sent to the churches at Oglethorpe, Georgia and Cherokee, North Carolina, to Brother Donald Daugherty in France and to Brother Ralph Wharton in Kingston, St. Vincent, also to the College Church here in the city.
In the spring a new roof was put on the church building.
After several months delay Brother Bailey finally received from the Indian government approval for the entrance of himself and his wife into India They left in September for Mount Zion, in southern India, planning to remain there for three years.
The records for the year show that the church used seventy-three cents out of every dollar contributed for the preaching of the gospel and for benevolent work.
The records of the church since 1960, showing the number of places to which financial assistance was sent, places in which the gospel was being preached, efforts being made to establish churches or to strengthen churches already established, were as follows: in Alabama 18, in other states 25, in foreign fields 14.
In 1969, besides its regular monthly commitments to churches in this country and the support for Brother and Sister Bailey in India, the church sent financial assistance to those preaching and working in Spain and in France. Help was also given to the church at Millidgeville, Georgia. $1,000.00 was sent to a new congregation at Macon, Georgia which was in the process of building a meeting house. Brother Howard Allen, who at one time preached at Catoma Street, was working with that congregation.
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In May of that year Brother Franklin Camp, who was working with the Shades Mountain church in Birmingham, Alabama, preached in a gospel meeting at Catoma Street. The meeting began on a Sunday and closed the following Friday night, and the subject of his lessons was "The Inspiration of the Scriptures." Brother Delisle Black conducted the song services each night.
During the spring of 1970 Brother Herring spent three months in India. Brother Bailey and Brother Johnson had written the elders asking that he be allowed to come and assist them in the work, especially in the school during the spring session, and to this they had agreed. On the trip over he accompanied the elders of the Shades Mountain congregation in Birmingham, Brothers James Foster, and his wife, and Brother Leslie Sparks. They were going to Mount Zion to look over the work, as it was being supported by that congregation.
The three months Brother Herring spent at Mount Zion were busy ones. The first ten days were spent teaching in a special school session for the native preachers, at which about one hundred preachers were in attendance. His subject was elders and deacons. Between that session and the regular school session he taught a class, during the day, consisting of preachers and their wives, and at night he and Brother Bailey would hold meetings, some nights preaching at two or three different places. When the regular school session began he taught classes in the Old and New Testament, classes on Christian living, Bible doctrines and Bible geography.
The trip was of value to Brother Herring in the experience of it and in the opportunity to work with those people, and it was of value to the people at Catoma Street in that they, through him, would have a better understanding of the work and the problems in that part of India.
During those three months preachers from the different congregations in the city, as well as some of the members at Catoma Street, filled the pulpit in the absence of Brother Herring.
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The church, in that year of 1970, gave, in addition to its regular monthly support, $2,000.00 to the University Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Help was also given to the church at Opp, Alabama and to those preaching the gospel in Nigeria, France and in Barbados.
During that year the Elders received a letter from the church in Winona, Minnesota stating that it was now strong enough to carry on its work without the monthly financial support it had been receiving from Catoma Street, so that support, which the church had been sending since 1955, was terminated.
In the spring of 1971 Brother Bailey's health was such that it became necessary for him to leave India and return to Canada. He and his wife, as has been stated, planned to remain there for three years before returning, but due to his condition he was advised to leave before that time. They had been there a little over two years. In April the church brought them home, and agreed to continue to support him until he could become settled in a new work.
Brother and Sister Bailey had been a tremendous help to the work at Mount Zion. They had not gone to India to do mission work as we usually think of such being done by missionaries; however Brother Bailey did preach, hold meetings, establish and work with congregations, as time permitted.
His work was primarily centered in the Mount Zion Bible School, to teach, and help train and prepare the students to preach the gospel to their own people. He said the main purpose of the school could be summed up in the apostle Paul's exhortation to Timothy when he said, "And the things which thou hast heard from me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also."
Brother Bailey was well qualified for this work, having spent over a quarter of a century in the field of teaching and education. He was able to organize and arrange
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classes and subjects so that the greatest good could be obtained by the students in the time alloted for the school terms.
The untimely departure of these good people was a great loss to Brother and Sister Johnson and the work at Mount Zion.
When it was learned that Brother Bailey would have to leave India and return to Canada, the Elders at Catoma street immediately began looking for someone to take his place, because the work at Mount Zion had grown to the point where it was more than the Johnsons, alone, could carry on.
The Elders learned, through Brother Bailey, that another Canadian, Brother Herb Weir, wanted to go if support could be found. He, at the time, was in the Memphis School of Preaching in Memphis, Tennessee, but would complete his work there in the fall, at which time he would be ready to go. He was invited to Montgomery to talk with the Elders, and as a result of that visit it was agreed that Catoma Street would send him and his wife, and also his daughter, to India, to work with Brother and Sister Johnson at Mount Zion. The church assumed the financial responsibility to send them to India, fully support them while there and then to bring them home at the end of three years. In September Brother Weir and his family left Canada and arrived in India in October to begin their work.
In November Brother Foy F. Wallace, Jr., preached in a meeting for the Catoma street church.
Since the establishment of the congregation some ninety years ago many good meetings had been held for and by the church, but for the timeliness of the subjects, the knowledge and ability of the speaker, and the interest in and support for it, this was one of the best the church had ever had. At each service the audience was large and attentive, many of them coming long distances to hear Brother Wallace. His lessons were long, never under
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an hour, and on one occasion he spoke for three hours. The service on Thursday evening began at 7:30 P.M. and closed at 11:00 PM. On that occasion he spoke for three hours.
The auditorium was completely filled for two of the services and almost filled for the others.
As of the close of the year, 1971, the church ended its regular monthly support for the University church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, because the church there felt that it was now able to support itself and the work it was doing. The Catoma street church had been sending that support on a monthly basis since 1956.
During the year financial help was also sent to the churches at Montevallo and Atmore, both in Alabama, and to the church at Kewanah, Illinois.
In the spring of 1972 circumstances were such that it became necessary for Brother Weir and his family to leave India and return to Canada, and the expenses for his return trip were paid by the congregation in keeping with the agreement the Elders had made with him.
The church continued its support for the work at Mount Zion in India in the amount of $400.00 each month. This amount was sent through the Shades Mountain congregation in Birmingham, Alabama, which had the oversight of that work.
The church continued its support for Brother Cecil Bailey in Canada, where he was working with and teaching in a school of preaching. This support was continued through June.
During the year financial assistance was also sent to the churches at Newberry, South Carolina and Tallassee, Alabama.
The church continued its monthly support for the churches in Covington, Virginia; Donaldsonville, Georgia; Sylvester, Georgia, and Brother Futzhugh Ellington in Camden, Alabama.
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The records show that for the year 1972 seventy-five cents of every dollar contributed was used to preach the gospel and care for those in need.
In March of 1973 Brother Rex Turner preached in a gospel meeting for the church. The meeting, beginning on Sunday morning closed on the following Friday night.
The monthly support for the work in India was increased from $400.00 to $500.00 each month. In addition to this an extra $500.00 was sent to help with the expenses of putting up a building in which to worship.
Besides the regular monthly support, which was continuing this year, for the churches in the localities as shown in the year 1972, Catoma Street sent $100.00 to the congregation at Newberry, South Carolina, $920.00 to the congregation at Anderson, South Carolina, $500.00 to the Madison Park congregation here in Montgomery, $1,200.00 to support the preaching of the gospel in Trinidad, $1,200.00 to the Salem church in Florence, Alabama to help those missionaries in Thailand in their efforts to preach the gospel there, $100.00 to Brother Donald Daugherty, missionary in Paris, France, and $1,000.00 to the White's Ferry Road School of Preaching in Monroe, Louisiana.
We can see, from these figures, that during the year 1973 the Catoma Street congregation was continuing its efforts to see that those who are lost have an opportunity to hear the gospel by supporting the efforts that were being made, in this land and in those beyond our shores.
The command of Jesus, "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel," has shaped the course of the Catoma Street church since it was established nearly a century ago. From the very beginning of its existence efforts were made to preach the gospel throughout the city and then into the counties around Montgomery. Later, as time and means became available, the church supported those who were preaching the gospel throughout the states and beyond. Down through the years the church
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has received many requests for help and assistance, and they have all been given due consideration because the leaders knew that many of them would afford opportunities for the church to help in preaching the gospel in another locality. Of course all of the worthy requests received could not be granted, because the means to do so were not available, but down through the years countless numbers have, and as a result the influence of this congregation has been felt in many places within the state, in many states beyond its borders, and in a number of foreign lands.
The church has been blessed with the means and the ability to help preach the gospel in new places and to uphold the hands of those where the cause was weak. With no building debt to meet and with leaders, who down through the years have felt their responsibility to see that the gospel was preached to a lost world, the church has been able to use most of the contributions made for the preaching of the gospel and helping those in need.
The records show that over the past ten years seventy-five cents out of every dollar contributed was used to fulfill these responsibilities.
The congregation, in numbers, is not as large today as it once was, because at one time it was the only congregation in the city, whereas today there are some twenty or more congregations here, and, in most of these can be found those who were at one time members at Catoma Street or their people were.
As the year 1973 comes to a close the church is conscious of its blessings. The Elders now serving, Brothers John Davis, Tom Perdue and Charles Herndon, are, as those in the past have been, dedicated, faithful and with the utmost love and respect for God's Holy Word. Helping them is Brother George Herring, who has been working with and preaching for the congregation for the past thirteen years. His faithfulness and his love and respect for God's Word are beyond question, and for this he has
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been loved and respected by the Elders and the members of the congregation. It has made for a most cordial and harmonious relationship in the work of the church. The members, too, mindful of the responsibility of the church to carry the gospel to the lost, are liberal in their giving, and the church being free from debts and encumbrances, is in a position to use most of that which is given to see that the gospel is preached in other places.
The Church is indeed grateful for its blessings and is looking forward to continued usefulness and service in the Kingdom of God.
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The History of the Church, as has been shown, tells of the division, law suits and bitterness that resulted from the introduction of instrumental music into the worship of the church and the missionary society into the work of the church. In almost every case of a congregation dividing over these issues those who opposed them withdrew thus leaving the church property in the hands of those who advocated these issues. As a result new places in which to worship had to be found and new buildings had to be erected, and when the deeds were drawn up clauses were included so that the property would be safeguarded against such losses in the future.
With these experiences in mind the trustees of the property of the Catoma street congregation included, in the deed, the following clauses:
2. “No organ or other instrument of music shall be used in or in connection with any of the services, worship or other religious exercises held in or on said property."
3. "No Endeavor society, or other society, auxiliary or otherwise, other than the church organization purely, shall be formed, instituted, established, carried on, or conducted on said property, provided however the church itself may hold services commonly known as Sunday School, so long as such Sunday School shall not be formed into a separate society or organization.
4. "No feasts, fairs or other entertainments of any kind or nature shall be held on said property for the benefit of said church or any religious society or any other organization.
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Those who have served the congregation as its Elders:
J. M. Barnes
C. A. Allen
H. J. Morris
J. A. Stewart
J. M. Garrett
J. W. Macey
C. E. Walton
J. L. Fitzpatrick
E. R. Barnes
N. L. Walker
R. L. Douglas
R. E. Furlong
John E. Davis
T. L. Perdue
C. T. Herndon
E. C. King (appointed March 3, 1974)
Those who have served the congregation as Deacons:
J. M. Morris
F. M. Perry
F. C. Schwend
John E. Davis
P. B. Stough
W. V. Stough
T. L. Perdue
E. C. King
T. H. Cook
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Preachers who have worked with the congregation on a full time basis:
John E. Dunn..................September 1908 to October 1911
C. E. Holt........................February 1912 to September 1916
C. M. Stubblefield..........December 1916 to September 1920
F. M. Little...................... December 1920 to April 1927
T. B. Thompson.............. June 1927 to December 1932
D. Ellis Walker................April 1933 to June 1937
I. L. Boles........................ August 1937 to December 1937
J.H. McBroom................ February 1938 to March 1944
James Smythe* ……….. July 1943 to September 1943
W.B. Norris, Jr. ………... October 1944 to December 1945
Howard R. AlIen ……....April 1946 to August 1950
E.C. McKenzie ………...October 1950 to August 1950
A.E. Emmons, Jr. ……... August 1957 to March 1957
George L. Herring..…….. October 1960 to July 1960
Brother McBroom was on a leave of absence in 1943, and during that time Brother James Smythe worked with the church.
Gospel meetings that have been held by the congregation, when it was first on Herron street and later on Catoma street. Some of these first meetings were in the church buildings and others were under tents.
W. J. Haynes - March 1895
W. J. Haynes - June 1895
O. P. Spiegel - March 1896
F. D. Srygley - March 1898
J. A. Harding - June, July 1898 (4 weeks)
Cline and Carpenter - July, August 1899 (6 weeks)
J. A. Harding - July, 1902 (4 weeks)
F. W. Smith - 1908
John E. Dunn - June 1908
G. A. Dunn - May, June 1909
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