NORTH JEFFERSON CHURCH OF CHRIST
MOUNT PLEASANT, TEXAS
(Pat Lee wrote the history of the local church in the 1970's and she kept
it up to date until February 1999 when she no longer served as Secretary.
In February 2005, Rhodney Freeman expanded the history with additional
information and photos to be published in a Church Directory.)
Sometime between 1890 and 1895 (possible about Spring of 1893), Mr. Jesse G. Riddle saw a need for the members of the church of Christ in Mount Pleasant to have a place to meet on the first day of the week to worship.
He, with a preacher, T. W. Phillips, Sr., and other members met in different homes until 1895 when they purchased a lot in downtown Mount Pleasant on the corner of what was to later be known as Jefferson Street (running North and South) and East 5th Street (running East and West) (March 29, 1895) and built a frame building. The lot was purchased for $200 from S. W. Webber and a promissory note was signed by Butler Rolston, Calvin Cox, D. Scurlock and Jesse Riddle bearing ten percent interest and payable in four installments of fifty dollars each on January 1st, 1896, 1897, 1898, and 1899. A frame building was built in which the congregation met as the church of Christ.
T. W. Phillips, Sr. served as the first minister for the congregation and Brother Stroud is said to have conducted the first gospel meeting sometime in 1895. Some of the early members were: J. G. Riddle, Melvin Keith, a Sister Green, Billy Stephenson, the Butler Ralstons, a brother McGee, a Sister Nugent, a Sister Willie Perkins, and T. W. Phillips, Sr. (author and close friend and confidant of President William McKinley.)
The membership grew and in 1929 they built a larger two-story building of brick veneer.
Allegedly four different buildings have occupied the site. (We are aware of only three --- a frame building, the brick 2-story building and a modern building in 1957). Also, another piece of property joining the lot was added. The address for the church was now 414 North Jefferson Street. The church bought several preachers' homes over the years, and as the years progressed a better home was purchased and the former ones sold. The church and interested members helped the black congregation, Sheppard Street church of Christ, get started and also helped start the congregation in 1939 located in the Greenhill Community, approximately 5-1/2 miles north of Mount Pleasant. (Today the Greenhill congregation no longer exists --- as most of its members either moved into town, to another town, or simply died off.)
On January 23, 1956, the building at 414 North Jefferson burned, completely destroying the meeting place. (The fire was caused from a defect in the heating/air-conditioning system.) Members met in the County Courthouse until a new facility could be built back at the same location.
The new building had a seating capacity in the auditorium of four hundred fifty (450) and several classrooms along the south side of the building, a secretarial office and a preacher's office. Adjacent to the foyer was the Cry Room for babies and toddlers, and the restrooms. Then, in the late 1960's additional classrooms were added onto the back part of the building.
Over the next 10 to 15 years, as the congregation continued to grow, the parking area became too congested for the size of the congregation, so with no more room for expansion the church deacons began looking for another location. Seventeen acres of land (the present location of the North Ridge church of Christ) was purchased one block east of North Jefferson Street and fronting on Interstate 30, for $53,000.00 and plans were set into motion for a new building. Jamie Duncan preached the last sermon in the building at 414 North Jefferson on December 5, 1982. Scripture reading, special prayers and songs highlighted the service.
On September 20, 1981 the ground-breaking for the new building took place. A 22,000 square foot building, with twenty-two classrooms and an auditorium a seating capacity of 850, three offices, a library, a conference room, a large multi-purpose room with adjoining kitchen area was constructed at a cost of approximately $900,000.00.
When the building was completed, the designation for the Lord's church at this location was changed from "North Jefferson church of Christ" to "North Ridge church of Christ." Mrs. Pat Lee, church secretary, suggested the new name. The idea came from the fact that the new location was on a ridge of land just south of Interstate 30.
On December 12, 1982, the new building was dedicated and services were held for the first time. A $90,000.00 concrete parking lot was added in 1985, thanks to the generosity of one of the members of the congregation.
Several ministries were undertaken over the course of the next fourteen (14) years under the auspices of the North Ridge church of Christ. In 1986 a Spanish ministry was started with a full-time minister and the meeting place was in the west end of the existing building. In 1993, a jail ministry was begun and 100-plus baptisms took place as a result of this ministry. In February 1994,a building was purchased for the Spanish ministry at 909 West 9th Street, and the congregation continued to pay a full-time ministry there.
In 1994 a Ukraine work began, when several members, along with others from the states, went to Donetsk, Ukraine, on a campaign and took part in establishing ten congregations of the Lord's church there. North Ridge church of Christ took the oversight of the Budyonovsky congregation and sent David Ingram there as a missionary.
Then, in February of 1999, a great number of the members of the North Ridge congregation became concerned about the direction the church leaders were taking. Several meetings were held with the eldership to try to resolve the situation. Since resolution could not be reached, approximately 165 members of the Lord's church began to meet at the Titus County Civic Center. They first met on February 21, 1999 and continued to meet in this facility until a new building could be constructed. The congregation chose four elders, and they were officially installed on November 14, 1999. The elders chosen were: Gene Campbell, Weldon Miller, Glenn Parham and Wayne Pickrel.
In October 1999 the congregation hired a full-time minister, Tom Wacaster, who preached his first sermon to the congregation on December 5, 1999. Then, in February 2000, six deacons were chosen (Randy Ballard, Grady Duncan, Jim Duncan, Jerry Freeman, Bob Hedges, and Ronald Traughber) and they were installed on February 20, 2000. Plans were begun to build a permanent facility in which to meet. Weldon and JoAnn Miller, long-time members of the congregation, donated a large piece of land to the congregation for this purpose. The land was located approximately 1000 feet north of Interstate 30 on the west side of North Jefferson Street. Ground breaking was held on September 8, 1999 for the construction of a building with a seating capacity of 420. Construction on the building began on September 13, 1999. The congregation voted to name the congregation North Jefferson church of Christ since the new building would be located at 2311 North Jefferson Street. The building consisted of an auditorium with a seating capacity of approximately 420, five classrooms, preacher's office, secretary's office, library, a cry room, a large multi-purpose room, a large storage area for table and chairs, etc., a kitchen area, janitor room, a sound room, and behind the pulpit and baptistery there were dressing rooms for men and women, a utility room on one side and a pantry/utility room on the other side, and a drive-through carport. Additionally, a separate storage building was built for lawn care equipment and tools. The congregation occupied the current building on April 16, 2000. Open House was held on April 30, 2000, and a Gospel Meeting began the same day, with Tom Wacaster doing the preaching. The roadside sign and marquee was designed by long-time member Rhodney Freeman, who also became editor of the weekly bulletin, FAMILY NEWS & NOTES, and part-time secretary. He became full-time secretary in May, 2005.
In 2001 a need arose for the hiring of a second minister. Lee Moses, who the congregation had helped to support in the Memphis School of Preaching, was hired and began his ministry at this location on July 1, 2002. Now the congregation had two ministers, Tom Wacaster and Lee Moses.
Tom Wacaster resigned in 2003 and was replaced by David McCain. Lee Moses resigned in August 2004 and took a full-time pulpit position in Mammoth Spring, Arkansas.
Over the years, since 1895, nineteen (19) preachers have served the North Jefferson church of Christ. The FIRST preacher was T. W. Phillips (1895) followed by: R. D. Smith, Claude Keil, J. C. Foster (1924), W. R. Yowell (1931 - 1935), W. S. Wiley (Summer 1935 - August 1940), Luther L. Gieger (August 1940 - January 1944), E. W. Stovall (January 1944 - Summer 1944), S. C. Kinningham (Summer 1944 - December 1945), R. L. Colley (January 1946 - 1948), Flavel Colley (1948 for a few months), Charles Holt (1948 - Fall 1951), Wilburn Whittington, Sr. (Fall of 1951 to February 1952), Basil D. Shilling (February 1952 - November 1960), W. S. Wiley (November 1960 - June 1966), Jamie J. Duncan (September 1966 - March 1984), Jimmie W. Parker (March 1984 -- still preaches at North Ridge church of Christ as of August 2005), At the NEW North Jefferson church of Christ beginning in 1999 the following have served as preachers: Tom Wacaster (December 1999 - 2003), Lee Moses (July 2002 - August 2004), David McCain (September 2004 - present) and then additionally Johnny Ramsey (May 2005 - present). Twenty four (24) men have served as elders: H. E. White, J. R. Hart, J. A. Glass, Robert E. Williams, Walter Miller, Hatley Gordon, Virgle Fox, Foy McCasland,
J. A. Gearhart, Charles I. Lide, Bascom Perkins, Paul Moore, C. B. Burkham, Hollis Lee, Weldon Miller, Wilburn Whittington, Jr., Wayne Pickrel, Gene Campbell, L. D. Wheeler, Glenn Parham, Matt Clark, James Butler, Jim LaRue, Clayton Welborn. Then beginning in 1999 the elders serving the NEW North Jefferson church of Christ were: Weldon Miller, Gene Campbell, Wayne Pickrel.
During the history of the congregation the following have served as Youth Ministers: Eurl Rabon, Willard Holliday, Raynard Screws, Dwayne Guthrie, Mark Young, Gary Stewart.
The congregation continues to reach out to the local area and the world to spread the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.