Home Page

Our Worship

Plan of Salvation

Searching for a Preacher

 

KNOX CITY CHURCH OF CHRIST HISTORY

From the time that Knox City was founded in 1906 until 1921 there was no church of Christ in the town.  But scattered among citizenship of the young village were a goodly number of the faith. 

About 1913 or 1914 when the automobile had become a pretty general means of transportation, some of the members drove twelve miles to Munday to worship with a newly-organized congregation there.  One of the families that did this was the John Griffith family who lived on a farm about 3 miles east of town.

While Mr. Griffith did this for several years, he always clung to a hope and a vision for a church of Christ for Knox City.  So, in 1916, when the town put on a special lot sale, Mr. Griffith bought the lots where the church now stands with the hope in his heart that someday he would see a congregation there.

Time went along…weeks, months, even years.  Some members grew indifferent, some moved away to where they could have access to the church but as is always the case, a few new ones moved in.

One Sunday afternoon, in the spring of 1921, Mr. Griffith came to town to visit with friends and neighbors.  As he rode along the street he met two friends walking along the sidewalk in front of Alford Livery Stable (now Smith’s Liquid Gas Plant).  The friends were Dick Cook and Claude Stine.  The three stopped to pass the time of day and as men will, began to talk about crops, cattle and weather.  None seemed to be in a particular hurry but all seemed to be in a visiting mood.  One by one they each squatted down, making themselves more comfortable by leaning back against the livery stable, and continued their conversation.  Along in the conversation the subject of church and religion came up each equally interested and concerned.  There in that unique setting, on a sunny Sunday afternoon, were laid plans for the present church of Christ in Knox City.

Before that session broke up, these men had pledged themselves to arrange and finance a week’s meeting of the church somewhere in Knox City in order to get the scattered members together in an effort to see what could be done about organizing a congregation here.  When the men began to look around for a place to hold the meeting, the First Christian Church offered the use of their building which was accepted.  They then contacted Brother U. R. Forest, Minister for the church of Christ in Stamford who consented to come and hold the meeting.  The meeting was very successful and two, Tom Dearing and Jim Darr, were added to the church.  Plans were begun for a permanent meeting place.  The leaders realized that it was not wise to let the little group scatter again, so they got permission from the school board to use one room of the school building until a permanent meeting place could be arranged.

On the next Sunday, which was the third Sunday in August 1921, the congregation, consisting of seventeen members and their families, met in the school building for worship and study.  For Bible study, the little congregation was divided into three groups.  Mrs. Claude Stines was asked to teach the youngest group; Mrs. B. B. Campbell, the intermediates; and Mr. Griffith taught the adults.  John Griffith and Claude Stines were appointed the first elders.  J. G. Parish and Dick Cook were the first deacons. 

On Monday morning after the meeting closed Sunday night, the work of financing the building was started.  Part of the money was raised by personal donation; the rest was handled through a loan made by J. G. Parish.  That same day, workmen began clearing the lots.  Before the week ended actual work on the building was begun and progressed rapidly, due to the zeal of the young congregation and the abundance of labor.  The work was begun the last week in August 1921 and was finished the last week in September.  The house was a small, crude building, thirty feet by forty feet with home-made pews, pulpit and communion table.  Now that the congregation was housed in its own building, its trouble was not over.  Members were few and money scarce but they managed as best they could.

The first sermon in the new building was preached on the first Sunday in October by Brother Batsell Baxter Sr. of Abilene.  For several years the church had no regular minister.  It met regularly for worship and study, and occasionally Brothers Baxter and R. C. Bell came up from Abilene to encourage and teach the young congregation.  John R. Rice big of stature and mind, known throughout the Brotherhood for his size and spirituality, held several summer meetings for the congregation.  Always the church was edified and new members added.

By 1926 the church had outgrown the little original building and an addition was made consisting of a pulpit, a baptistery and two dressing rooms, which in turn, were used for classrooms.  In spite of the depression of the 1930’s and other besetting obstacles, the church continued to grow. 

By this time the eldership and deacons had changed.  J. T. Berryhill and C. A. Richardson had been appointed elders; Otis Cash, B. B. Campbell, Sr and F. L. Montandon, Sr, deacons.  Realizing that the building was inadequate for the teaching program, the congregation decided to remodel the old building for a parsonage and build a new church.  A drive was made and a building fund started.  About this time World War II came along and the building program was of necessity given up temporarily.  However through the war years, the fund was carefully guarded and added to.

During the depression years when money was so scarce and teachers were having to discount their vouchers, Sunset School hired a Mr. Wilburn Hill as superintendent.  Mr. Hill was a member of the church and had preached some.  Being interested in adding to his school salary, he agreed to preach for the church for what it was able to pay.  J. Cleo Scott, a teacher in the Haskell schools, did the same thing.  Melvin Weldon, a Bible major in ACC, came on Sundays to help finance his college work.  Through these and perhaps others not mentioned, the church was able to keep a minister through most of the thirties and forties.  The first resident minister the church had was AustinVarner, a young man just out of college.  He was with the church thru 1939.  In May, 1940 he married a local girl, Inaleen Williams, which increased his expenses so he had to go to a greener pasture.  Thus the church was without a regular minister again.

After the church had been without a regular minister for sometime, it was decided that the church would be able to keep one if it had a home for him.  They took the building fund which had accumulated during and since the war, built a parsonage on the church grounds south of the church and hired Stanley Shipp as local minister.  Interest picked up and the congregation grew much too large for the present building so during his second year it was decided to remodel the original building for an educational department and add on the west end an auditorium, baptistery, dressing rooms, rest-rooms, foyer, a study and a utility room.  This was done and the whole was brick-veneered, making on the whole a very pretty, modern and comfortable building.  Stanley Shipp remained with the church five years.  The church grew and prospered and he was followed by a number of young preachers who did an equally good job: Wesley Reagan, Mitchel Greer, Harold Mobley, Jerome Savage, Roger White and Dick Biggs.  These men left the church here to go into foreign fields as missionaries.  Today they are scattered over the European world, from Sweden to the Congo. 

Today in 2013 the church of about 30 is still meeting in the same building worshipping God and studying the bible and trying to grow.   We continue to strive each and every day to be the type of Christians and servants on this earth that God has commanded us to be.

Church of Christ
507 SE 2nd Street
Knox City, TX 79525
(940) 657-3331