History of The Cherokee church of Christ
East Tennessee is an area where there is great potential for increased membership; but to inform and educate the people as to what the Church of our Lord really is, must depend upon the leadership of each congregation and the genuine concern and faithfulness of each individual member in teaching New Testament Christianity.
In November, 1940 the Central congregation of the Church in Johnson City held their first worship service in Columbus Powell school building. Six years later the Church moved to a new location in their own building at the corner of Watauga and Boone Streets in downtown Johnson City. This congregation now worships in a new building on Oakland which they moved in to in July 1971. There were 20 original members of this group. Bro. Horace Jones served as an Elder in the Central congregation prior to the establishment of the Cherokee Road congregation where he served in that capacity.
By 1958, the Elders and other interested members felt a need of establishing another congregation; in the hop that the work of the Lord would expand, through the teaching efforts of Christians, working in other areas of the city. Since several Central members lived in the Cherokee community, this area was the most likely place to consider in establishing a new congregation.
The Church first met in the home of Bro. and Sister Joe Shew and a short time later met in the Cherokee School building. On July 6, 1958 the Cherokee brethren began worshiping in the present newly constructed building with a seating capacity of 108, costing $22,000.00. The financial note for the purchase of the land and building was signed by Horace Jones, Joe Shew, Paris Miller and Carroll Price. This occurred before any elders had been appointed to serve the congregation. This building was paid for by 1969 with payments of $1,000.00 each six months plus interest. The building is located in a rapidly growing communi9ty having within a 3 mile radius, three new housing developments along with an older rural community. Downtown Johnson City is only 5 minutes away and East Tennessee State University is only about 1 mile. We feel the Cherokee Community is excellent for “Sowing the Seed of the Kingdom”. The Church’s property consists of 1 acre, having ample parking space with a new parking lot developed in the Fall of 1970, and room for further expansion of the building.
Some financial assistance has been received at various times from Sparta, Kingsport, Elizabethton, Centerview and Laurel Fork. However, each has been limited in their ability to help due to previous commitments or their planned programs. We have likewise received $50.00 monthly form the Central congregation until Jan. 1, 1967.
In November 1966 a minister’s home was purchased costing $14,360.00. At present (Dec. 1971) there is a balance on this of $8,494.00. The Church was renting a house for $70.00 monthly. In view of the fact that he community is growing, the ever soaring cost of real estate, the fact that this house had been occupied for only 6 months and the additional cost of only $25 monthly above renting a house; (plus $600 down payment) it was unanimously felt we would be making a wise investment of the Lord’s money. It was further felt and statistically proven that waiting even a few years in purchasing a house would mean a great financial loss.
Bro. Robert O. Wilson who previously preached for Central moved with the new congregation January 8, 1958 and preached for the Cherokee congregation until May 25, 1958. Bro. Maynard Booher who previously worshiped at Central, and attended Florida Christian College preached form Jun 1, 1958 to June 26, 1960. On Aug. 7, 1960, Bro. Luther Fair began preaching and continued until May 29, 1966. Bro. Jim Stutts who attended Northeastern Christian College began preaching Aug. 28, 1966 as the first full time minister for the Cherokee congregation, and worked with the congregation until Sept. 1968. In Nov. 1968 Bro. K.L. Travis began as a part time preacher. At times when there wasn’t a regular preacher several of the men at Cherokee, as well as men from neighboring congregations have filled the pulpit.
In 1969 three Elders were appointed and in 1971 a fourth. There are two men now serving as Deacons. Of the original four Deacons appointed, one has moved and another has become an Elder.
The Anti-element has, and now, surrounds us, but we must continue to stand for the truth against the pressures from within and without. We have been able and with God’s help let us continue to work together in love and harmony, yet with constructive attitudes, spurring us on to maturity. May God help us look to the future with wisdom and vision and faith strong enough to fully promote his cause; spreading the gospel to those who know it not.
More History of the Cherokee Church of Christ
Johnson City, Tennessee
The Cherokee congregation began in January of 1958. The Central Church of Christ in Johnson City assisted in its establishment, furnishing six families as charter members: Joe and Marion Shew; T. C. and Marie Taylor Harvey; Horace and Una Jones; Claude and Evelyn Lilley; Carroll and Sarah Lilley, Carroll and Betty Price, Paris and Lena Miller. Robert O. Wilson, former minister for the Central church began preaching at the Cherokee church on January 8, 1958.
Following Robert O. Wilson, the following men have preached on a full-time basis for the congregation:
Maynard Booher (1958-60)
Luther Fair (1960-66)
Jim Stutts (1966-68)
K. L. Travis (1968-72)
James Baron (1972-75)
John Yost (1975-79)
Eldon Rogers (1979-82)
Ronnie Jones (1982-86)
Allen Rupert (1986-89)
Duke Gregory (1990-2002)
Sam Taylor II (2002-2005)
Ed DeVault (2006-2010)
Robert Tate (2010-Present)
The first elders of the Cherokee church were appointed in 1968, along with four deacons. Those who have served as elders of the Cherokee church include: Horace Jones; Joe Shew; Ralph Gnann, Jr.; Carroll Price; Dewey Woolbright; Tony Stayer; Tom Lilley; Joe Galloway. Dewey Woolbright and Tony Stayer, are the present elders.
Those who have served as deacons include: James Bennett; Mark Cartier; Clyde Chisam; Kenny Coleman; John Ford, Jr.; Ralph Gnann Jr.; Norman Green; Charles Gunter; Robert Hall, Darrell Honeycutt; Hubert Hoss; Harold Justice; Claude Lilley; Randy Lilley; Tom Lilley; Bob Miller; Tony Stayer; Sherrell Shepard; J. W. Shew, Jr.; Sam Taylor; and Sam Taylor II. Present deacons are: Jimmy Bennett, James Bennett, Greg Jenkins, Randy Lilley, Bob Miller, Joe Miller, Rick Ragan and J. W. Shew Jr.
The Cherokee church has been strongly involved in mission work for many years. Beginning in 1990 we were the sponsoring congregation for Joe Galloway's work with TV Sunday School and its related Bible Correspondence Course program until July of 2009. In 2003 we also became the sponsoring congregation for Jon Galloway's mission work in Glasgow, Scotland until the Greenville Church of Christ took it over in July of 2009 along with the over site of the T.V. Sunday School Program. This occurred due to Joe and Barbara placing their membership with this congregation due to Barbara’s health related problems. In addition, for a number of years the congregation has been a regular supporter of Biblical Viewpoints, Tri-Cities School of Preaching, and the mission work in Peru. The congregation has also been heavily involved in benevolence.