Brooke Church To Mark 148th Year

The following article was printed in The Steubenville Herald Star on Friday, September 13, 1963 (Contributed here by Danice Ryan)

Founded in Wellsburg By Alexander Campbell
Brooke Church To Mark 148th Year

WELLSBURG – The Wellsburg Christian Church will observe its 148th anniversary Sunday.

Although the church has served the community over that long span, its membership in the Disciple of Christ movement is 140 years.

The first of two worship services Sunday will be held at 10:45 a.m. which time the minister, the Rev. Mr. George H. McGhee, will use as his topic, “The Church and the Thought of Alexander Campbell.”

The afternoon service will begin with a song service at 2:40 p.m. and worship at 3 p.m. The service is being sponsored by the Brooke-Hancock Christian Men’s Fellowship and is the third annual Communion Service conducted by this group. The offering will be used for restoration of the Old Bethany Church of Christ.

District Ministers Participate-

Ministers who will be taking part in the service are:

John Ruhl, McMechen, call to worship; George Crenshaw, Steubenville, invocation; Clifford Gunion, president of the Brooke-Hancock Christian Men’s Brotherhood, welcome; Harold Doster, Bethany College, offertory sentences; William Taylor, Beech Bottom, Communion meditation; Ernest Harrold, Weirton, Scriptures; John Mostellor, East Liverpool, pastoral prayer, Andrew Laney, Moundsville, invitation; Jerry Deitch, Pughtown, benediction; Allen Fields, New Cumberland, song service and Mr. McGhee, to officiate at the dedication of the new Communion chalice.

Gresham To Speak-

Guest speaker for the afternoon service will be Dr. Perry Epler Gresham, president of Bethany College.

Following the service, the ladies of the church will serve refreshments in the church social rooms.

A sterling silver Communion Chalice will be presented by the Class and will be dedicated at the afternoon service. This chalice is in memory of Thomas Campbell and Alexander Campbell.

The Wellsburg Christian Church was started by Alexander Campbell as a Baptist Church and had a small congregation as early as 1815, according to the records of the Restone Baptist Association of which it was a part. In the fall of that year Alexander Campbell volunteered his services to raise the money for the construction of Wellsburg’s first house of worship, and the small congregation accepted his services.

The first house built in Wellsburg for public worship by any denomination was the meeting-house called the “Regular Baptist Church” which was constructed on the lot belonging to S. George. The money was raised by Alexander Campbell, John Brown and others. Patrick Gass built the church at 12th and Main Street in 1816.

History Traced-

This church, started by Alexander Campbell, was known as the Regular Baptist Church and was a part of the Redstone Baptist Association. In 1823, Alexander Campbell, his wife, and 30 other members of the Brush Run Baptist Church transferred their membership to the Regular Baptist Church at Wellsburg. The church was then organized according to the New Testament pattern with the observance of Communion each Lord’s Day and baptism by immersion. Thus the second church of Alexander Campbell’s Restoration Movement was born (Brush Run being the first), and the Church withdrew from the Redstone Baptist Association and became a part of the Mahoning Baptist Association. Although it was called a Church of Christ, the church was still a part of the Baptist fold until the complete separation which occurred around 1830. It was referred to as a Baptist Church as late as 1829 in the church records. The anniversary will observe the 140 years that the Wellsburg Church has been a part of the Campbell Reformation Movement often referred to as the Disciples of Christ and today as the Christian Churches.

By 1848 the little congregation had outgrown the little brick meeting-house on 12th and Main Streets, and it was torn down and the bricks used in the lower portion of the present colonial style building located at 10th and Charles Streets. The church office, remodelled many times, has served as the home of the Wellsburg Christian Church for 115 years.

While the Wellsburg Christian Church was the second Church of Campbell’s movement, today it is the oldest Christian Church in the brotherhood of Campbell tradition. The first church went out of existence many years ago, and the Wellsburg Church is the mother of the Bethany Christian Church and many other congregations in the area.

The anniversary will observe 140 years of membership in the Disciple of Christ movement, but the church has served the community of Wellsburg for 148 years.