Nashville Churches of Christ History Group on Facebook

Nashville Churches of Christ History group is open to anyone interested in the Stone-Campbell movement in Nashville and Davidson County.  Here is the first post I made a few days ago:

I envision this community as a place to share common interest in the rich story of the Stone-Campbell Movement in Nashville. I am conducting research for a book which will highlight each congregation of Churches of Christ and Christian Churches from the 1820’s to the present…basically the entire movement from its beginning in our city until now. I envision this group as a place to share memories, photos, news and generate discussion and interest. Please join and contribute. Please feel free to contact me directly at icekm (at) aol (dot) com.

The group is open to all.  Help spread the word and generate interest.

E. R. Harper on David Lipscomb

In 1971 E. R. Harper spoke at the Freed-Hardeman lectures on “The Church of Christ–The Kingdom of the King of Kings.”  In his biographical sketch in the lectureship book (page 107) I notice an item I would very much like to see.  Harper mentions that among other tracts, he is the author of one titled simply “David Lipscomb.”

Have you seen it?  Do you have it?  If so would you mind contacting me at:

icekm (at) aol (dot) com

The reference for the 1971 lectureship book is Thomas B. Warren, ed. The Church of Christ–Essential, All-Sufficient, Indestructible, Perpetually Relevant, Being the Freed-hardeman College Lectures of 1971.  Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1971.  Harper’s speech runs from page 107 to 115.

Looking for George P. Salyer

According to Preachers of Today, volume 2 (1959) George P. Salyer was born December 20, 1930 in St. Louis.  He married Yvonne Forrest on July 27, 1952 and together they had at least five children: George, Clinton, David, Sarah and Sharon.  George began preaching in Poplar Bluff, MO in 1954.

He was preaching in Nashville in about 1965 or so, and that is why I am looking for him.  If you know how I might contact him or his family, I would appreciate an email at:

icekm (at) aol (dot) com

Center Point Christian Church

The community that immediately shaped the faith of my Ice ancestors, and in which at least three generations of Ice’s participated, is Center Point Christian Church in Center Point, Doddridge County, West Virginia.  Their involvement in this congregation in the 1850’s and 1860’s is the earliest I can place them, with certainity, in the Stone-Campbell movement. 

The origins of this small congregation are unknown.  Center Point and Doddridge County are basically absent from every indexed Stone-Campbell periodical.  They are meeting in or near the building they now occupy as early as the Civil War.  Isaac Ice’s daughter, aged seven years, died in 1863 and was buried in the church cemetery.  This is not only the earliest date I can place the Ice’s at Center Point Church, it is the earliest I can verify the existence of the congregation.  Isaac, his wife Elizabeth and son Andrew Jackson Ice are buried there.  Andrew’s son Kromer was a member of this congregation for about a year before he went to Hiram College in 1899.  Kromer (K. C.) preached his first sermon at Center Point Church September 6, 1896.  Alex Kuhn, a Bethany College graduate, preached there and baptized Kromer a few months earlier.  The last contact I am aware of which KC Ice had with this church was in 1898-1899.  He returned to West Virginia after he completed the MD at St. Louis College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1903.  I envision him preaching here some while he was a student at Bethany College from 1904-1907 and perhaps again some while he preached at McMechen Christian Church, up near Wheeling, in 1907 and again in 1911.  But I have no proof, only hunches.  If he kept records of any preaching at Center Point other than his first sermon they are likely long gone as no one in the family has them.

The congregation has never been large.  The Wikipedia article for Center Point says it is a “village in the middle of nowhere”…a fact to which I can heartily attest…Laura and I drove to Center Point on our honeymoon in the summer of 1998 (that wasn’t the only destination on our honeymoon).  It is beautiful.  The sort of place I wouldn’t mind retiring to.  The village is rural and remote and the congregation has never had more than about 80 or so members.

Center Point Church is listed in the Yearbooks of the Disciples of Christ from the 1910’s until 1984.  It is listed in the Directory of the Ministry of Christian Churches/Churches of Christ first in 1972 and is still listed there in the 2009 edition with a membership of 75.  In 1984 the congregation decided to discontinue their affiliation with those Christian Churches which became the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  Citing dissatisfaction with the Disciples affiliation with the National and World Councils of Churches, Center Point congregation removed their listing from the Yearbook.  To ask to be “removed from the Yearbook” is tantamount to withdrawing from the denomination.  They had been listed dually in both the Directory of the Ministry and the Disciples Yearbook for a dozen years. 

Tracing the history of this congregation has not been easy.  It does not appear in the indices to the Millennial Harbinger, Barton Stone’s Christian Messenger, Walter Scott’s Evangelist, the Christian Record, Missionary Tidings, World Call, Christian Standard or the Christian-Evangelist.  Doddridge County doesn’t appear either…in any of those indices!  Without some kind of notice in the papers it is next to impossible to locate the men who preached there.  As to the origins of the congregation…I’m totally in the dark.  DCHS does not have a congregational file for this church or for the county. 

There was a West Virginia state paper: the West Virginia Christian.  The bad news is that the holdings at DCHS consist of fragments of three issues I contributed from my papyrological inheritance from KC Ice via Grandad (Dr. MC Ice).  Nothing on Center Point.

So, I have no idea when this church started, by whom or under what circumstances…no congregational file, not even the first mention of this congregation in any of the major indexed periodicals of the Stone-Campbell movement, no mention of it in Cramblett’s state history of West Virginia Disciples, and no idea who preached here, for how long, where they came from or where they went when they left.

The only names I have are James P. Freese who preached at Center Point in the middle to later 1970’s.  James was somehow associated with Kentucky Christian College.  Charles B. Guthrie preached there from 1972, when they first were listed in the Directory of the Ministry, until 1975.  Beyond that I am in the dark.

It may be that I can visit Center Point again someday.  More to come.

Explorations in Stone-Campbell Bibliography: 2009 Year-In-Review

As we turn the page next week, I think it appropriate to review the year’s literature in the broad field of Stone-Campbell studies.  Though the publishers seem to have scaled back the volume of new titles, several significant studies came our way this year.  I make no claims for thoroughness here; no doubt I’m overlooking something.  If you think so, please chime in with a comment.  I’m concentrating here on Restoration history and theology that engages our history. The list below is in no particular order.

I think it safe to say the volume we have waited for the longest is the third installment of Eva Jean Wrather’s biography on Alexander Campbell.  Alexander Campbell: Adenturer in Freedom, A Literary Biography Volume 3 completes the set which was to have been published in the late 1940’s.  The manuscript, numbering 850 pages with 800,000 words, took her about 70 years to write.  Through a series of ups and downs (see the preface to volume 1 for the details) the mss did not to see the light of day until after Wrather died.  D. Duane Cummins edited with Eva Jean’s oversight the entirety of what is volume 1.  Her declining health prohibited her from assisting with the remainder.  Volume 1 appeared in 2005, volume 2 in 2007 and volume 3 in 2009.  Issued in three nicely done hardcovers by Texas Christian University Press, Wrather’s set will take its place beside Robert Richardson’s Memoirs of Alexander Campbell as required reading for AC.  We wish Eva Jean used footnotes, but she did not.  Nonetheless, the set is a significant achievement.

And the Word Became Flesh: Studies in History, Communication, and Scripture in Memory of Michael W. Casey edited by Thomas H. Olbricht and David Fleer (Pickwick Publications) was presented to the public at the 2009 Christian Scholars Conference at Lipscomb University in July.  It contains a number of first class essays on Restoration history as well as several other engaging essays in a wide range of areas such as Biblical studies, Biblical theology, rhetoric, communication and peace studies.  Mike made a significant contribution to Stone-Campbell studies, particularly Churches of Christ.  This collection is a fitting tribute to Mike and his work; they fill several previously empty niches in Restoration history. 

W. Dennis Helsabeck, Jr., History prof at Milligan College, has added to the work of Gary Holloway and Doug Foster in producing Renewal for Mission: A Concise History of Christian Churches and Churches of Christ (ACU Press).  The first several chapters appeared some years ago under the title Renewing God’s People: A Concise History of Churches of Christ (2001; with Study Guide in 2006).  Helsabeck picks up where Holloway and Foster leave off in 1907 and takes the reader through the particular history of the Christian Churches and Churches of Christ (sometimes called Independent Christian Churches or 4-C’s).  I suggest it as a first-read for 4-C’s, followed by longer works such as those by James B. North and Henry Webb.

Lawrence A. Q. Burnley has rendered a needed service in situating the agency of African Americans in the Christian Church in denominational, historical, educational and racial contexts.  The Cost of Unity: African-American Agency and Education in the Christian Church, 1865-1914 (Mercer University Press) breaks new ground by contextualizing African American educational initiatives in this way.  In other words, Larry does here what hasn’t been done before.  He brings needed attention and analysis to what has largely been glossed over, footnoted or ignored in Stone-Campbell history. 

Earl Kimbrough’s massive biography of F. B. Srygley is another welcome addition to our literature.  The Warrior from Rock Creek: Life, Times, and Thoughts of F. B. Sryley, 1859-1940 (Religious Supply Center, Louisville, KY) nears 650 pages and touches upon every issue or controversy in Churches of Christ during Srygley’s lifetime.  One cannot hardly read an issue of the Gospel Advocate from the later 1880’s until 1940 and miss a Srygley.  I have not yet completed a close reading of Kimbrough’s book, but I have read much in it.  From what I have read, I commend it as a thorough  and well-researched biography. 

Lastly, The Disciples: A Struggle for Reformation (Chalice Press) from D. Duane Cummins is especially welcome for its emphasis on recent Disciples history (recent as in mid-twentieth century until now).  As with Earl’s biography of Srygley, I intend to give Duane’s latest book a careful read.  From what portions I have read, I expect to learn much.

Tolle lege!

Genealogical Workshop

Religious Archives-Registration Form (2)Genealogists in the Nashville area will want to know about this event:

Located in the buckle of America’s Bible belt, Nashville, Tennessee is home to several major repositories of religious records.  Denominational archives, publishing boards, and local congregations offer a wide array of research opportunities.  In addition to documenting de­nominational histories, religious archives also preserve information that tells the stories of the individuals and families who comprise each faith. This workshop provides an overview of historical records, manuscripts, and other documents in Nashville’s religious archives.

PDF flyer: Religious Archives-Registration Form (2)

Oral History Collection to ACU

Click here for the announcement and here for the video describing the donation of this fine collection of material:

The collection consists of 20 separate files, 12 audio cassettes and 5 audio mini cassettes of interviews. The written files contain summary transcripts of the interviews, notes, and related material about each of the individuals interviewed and also essays by Boyd.  Many of the individuals interviewed relate stories about two of the most influential evangelists of the early Churches of Christ: Marshall Keeble and G. P. Bowser.

Thank you to the Boyd’s for undertaking this project and ensuring its preservation.  Thank you to ACU for transcribing the interviews and making the collection available.