East Church Street Location
The early to mid—l880’s were exciting times in American religious circles. It was an age of spiritual renewal sometimes called "The Second Great Awakening". One of the most significant products of that time in our nation was the birth of what has come to be known as the "American Restoration Movement”. The religious division of that day was deplorable in the eyes of many religious leaders from different Protestant churches. Many of these leaders, including Alexander Campbell of what was then Bethany, Virginia, committed themselves to an effort to cure religious division by going back to the Bible and trying to restore New Testament Christianity to its original state, including a New Testament name, "Church of Christ".
The movement caught on and grew with amazing rapidity throughout the eastern United States, especially in the Ohio Valley. lt was only a matter of time before it reached the Woodsfield area. By the mid-l800’s the movement had become strong enough in Woodsfield that a decision was made to purchase a lot and build a building to house the fledgling Church of Christ meeting there. Property was purchased on April 1, 1855 by Samuel Cunningham and David Kirkbride of behalf of the Woodsfield Church of Christ at a cost of $150.00. A building was constructed on this site at East Church Street the next year and it has become affectionately known as the "Old Brick". The building was officially dedicated some time later with Alexander Campbell traveling down to deliver the dedicatory address.
The Woodsfield Church of Christ would meet in the "Old Brick" for nearly one hundred years. During that time the church would experience growth both spiritually and numerically. During the 98 years or so the church met on East Church Street it was served by a number of elders including Leland Christy, Charles Drum, Chalmer Gardner, Jimmy Jeffers, Billy Loper, C.L. Melott, Forest Moberly, Jacob Marple, L.P. Oblinger, Billy Richner, Riley Smith and Sanford Willison. Deacons and Trustees at the "Old Brick" included Ralph Ault, Isaac Beardmore, Barney Bott, and Stanley Seals. Located ministers during the "Old Brick" era included H.H. Adamson (1924-27), J MA. Traylor (1927-43), E. Gaston Collins (1943-52), Jack Hawkins (1942-52) and Charles Hendershot (1952-55). The church was also served by many visiting preachers during this time for Gospel Meetings and other activities. These visiting ministers included: Alexander Campbell, Bathan Crooks, Cam Melott, J .C. Rhody, Tom Christy and Cecil Dotson.
During the time that the church met in the "Old Brick" the decision was also made to purchase a house for the local minister. That house was deeded to the church March 10, 1948. lt would serve the church in that capacity for many years until arrangements were made for the minister to purchase his own home. The former parsonage now is home to Brian and Carla Rose and family. Congregations exist to spread the gospel throughout their sphere of influence. When that is done diligently they grow, and when they grow they sometimes outgrow their current facility. This eventually happened to the Woodsfield congregation and the "Old Brick" was no longer sufficient for their needs. After 98 years a transition was made to a new facility on South Main Street. Those 98 years are remembered fondly and the "Old Brick" will always hold a cherished place in the annals of the Woodsfield Church of Christ.
South Main Street Location
The Woodsfield Church of Christ, having assembled together to worship together for nearly 100 years in a church building on East Church Street, affectionately known as the "Old Brick", had reached a point where it felt that another facility would better suit its growing needs. In December of 1948 a lot was purchased from William and Margaret Penn for the sum of $4,000.00. The lot was located on South Main Street and those acting for the church in the purchase were Isaac Beardmore, Miles Lallathin and Orville Willison. A few years later a meetinghouse was completed on the South Main location and the congregation began meeting there for worship in 1954.
For the next 29 years the congregation would utilize the church building on South Main Street. That location was destined to witness a period of great growth for the Lord’s church in Woodsfield. During this growth the building was expanded in 1963. Those who served as elders for the congregation during this time period included Lester Ackerman, Chester Ault, Ralph Ault, Charles Baker, Gailord Bott, Raymond Christy, Glen Harris, Raymond Stoehr and Lester Landefeld. Deacons at South Main included Chester Ault, Clyde Ault, Ralph Ault, Stanley Ault, Gailard Bott, Delmas Gibbons, Dick Harris, Brady Jackson, Harold Jones, Paul Landefeld, Lewis Matz, Ed McConnell, Brady Smith and Frederick Stoehr.
The congregation was served by some very capable ministers during the 29 years it met at South Main Street. Bob Fraley was the first located minister of that time frame and he preached there from 1955 to 1957. John Hamilton began his work at Woodsfield in 1957 and continued for eleven years until 1968. Charles Hendershot retumed to Woodsfield for a second stay in 1968 and remained in the pulpit until 1974. Larry Lemasters worked with the congregation in 1974 and 1975. Harry Summers moved to Woodsfield in 1975 and would continue as the pulpit minister for the congregation throughout the rest of its stay at South Main Street (he would remain in the pulpit until 1999). During the years at South Main Street Kim Matthews would be employed as Bus Minister from 1981 to 1983 and Keith Jones would begin working with the church in a ministry that continues to this present day.
During the years the congregation met at South Main Street the church began a Bus Ministry that promoted a period of significant numerical growth for the church. That growth, while a blessing, also created some logistical problems for the congregation. The facility was not large enough to accommodate the larger crowds and finding room for parking was becoming a serious concern. For a while these problems were addressed by going to a two—service format on Sunday mornings with an early and a late meeting time. Eventually, however, it was decided that another location with a larger facility would be the best solution. A lot was purchased from Gailard and Wilma Bott in 1981 and, with the completion of a new meetinghouse, the congregation met for the final time on South Main Street in 1983.
The meetinghouse on South Main was eventually sold to the City of Woodsfield and today serves to house the Municipal offices. Cherished memories of the 29 years in this facility remain, but we are also thankful for the growth that precipitated the move to our current facility on Lewisville Road just west of Woodsfield.
Our Current Location
The congregation continued to meet at the South Main location while construction of a new building was being completed and finally was able to begin meeting at the Route 78 site in July 1983. Since that time an existing structure on the property has been converted into our Educational Building, a Fellowship Building (funded by Clyde & Martha Lee Ault in memory of their son Larry) has been constructed, and a Bus Garage built. Work has also been done to convert a part of the woods below the church building into a park.
Harry Summers continued as the Pulpit Minister after the move to our current building. Goldie Chaplin was added to the staff as Church Secretary and Keith Jones was later hired to work full time with both the Bus and Youth Ministries in 1984. Harry resigned in 1999 and Sam Bartrug was hired as Pulpit Minister in September of 2000. He served as Pulpit Minister until 2006. Charles Schultheisz, has worked with the congregation since 2006 and follows 11 other men who have served as full time ministers since 1927. Charles resigned in 2015. Scott McFarland is our new pulpit minister starting in January of 2017. The longest tenures have been served by Mr. J.V.A. Traylor (1927-1943), Harry Summers (1975-1998) and Keith Jones (1983—present). Goldie and Keith continue at this time in a full time capacity as Secretary and Family Life Minister, respectively.
Several men have served as Elders for the congregation since the move to our current location, including Chester Ault, Clyde Ault, Charles Baker, Gailard Bott, Lester Landefeld, Willard (Bid) McConnell, Brian Rose, Raymond Stoehr and George West. Our current eldership consists of Bob Burrow, Keith Jones, Bob Kenney and Duane Landefeld. These men do a wonderful job shepherding the flock of believers here.
The list of men who have served as Deacons for the congregation since the move to our current location is too long to mention. Our current Deacons are Jeff Bettinger, Dan Christman, Ned Day, Rudy Gauding, Alan Hamilton, Gary Jones, Butch Lallathin, Brent McConnell, Brady Smith and Howard Spengler. All of these men have specific responsibilities they are responsible for and are dedicated to the tasks set before them.
There is a constant flurry of activity here at our current location. The buildings are in constant use for such things as bus maintenance, quilting, Young at Heart meetings, clothing giveaway, food distributions, weddings, funerals, etc. The community also makes use of some of the facilities on a limited basis for a variety of activities including blood drives, Scout meetings and various conferences. We feel blessed by God to be able to meet at our current location and we hope that we can utilize these facilities to His continued honor and glory.