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(Note: This history of the Bridge Street congregation was written in 1996.  Therefore, some references, such as "X years ago" and "at the present time" are to be understood in that context.)

History of the Bridge Street church of Christ

New Martinsville, WV

1921-1996

Introduction

The history of the Lord's church which was established nearly 2000 years ago on the first Pentecost following His glorious resurrection from the dead (Acts 1:3; 2:1 ff), is the history of the kingdom that shall never be destroyed (Daniel 2:44; Matt. 16:18-19).  Thus, it is history that is as significant, and as far reaching, as one could consider.


The first local congregation of the Lord's church was at Jerusalem (Acts 2:41-47).  As these first Christians went everywhere preaching the word (Acts 8:4) the church was established in other localities.  It was the same church as that which was first established in Jerusalem, but it had spread to other geographic areas (Acts 9:31; 11:26; 14:23; 15:36; 1 Cor. 1:2; Gal. 1:2; 1 Thess. 1:2; 2 Thess. 1:1).  Thus, "the churches of Christ salute you" (Rom. 16:16).  The New Testament records the only infallible history of local churches of Christ.

 
The history which follows on these pages of one local church of Christ (the church now meeting on Bridge Street in New Martinsville, WV) is certainly not infallible.  It is not even exhaustive.  Much more could be written concerning the past seventy-five years of the history of this church.  There are many brethren whose names are not mentioned in the following history who have helped to mold the history of this congregation just as those whose names are mentioned on the following pages.  Many works of the church (past and present) which have been omitted from the following pages are as important as those which have been included. Even inspired writers, who recorded an infallible account of the history of the early church, did not always mention by name every work, or every brother or sister involved, in the workings of those local churches (cf. Philip. 4:3).  However, this did not mean then, nor now, that those works, or brethren, not mentioned (past or present) were forgotten for God is not unrighteous to forget your work or labor of love ..." (Heb. 6:10).


May the weaknesses in this feeble effort be overlooked with Christian forbearance.  And may the Lord, in spite of any shortcomings herein, use this effort to deepen appreciation for the sacrifices of those who have gone before us, and motivate us to take the things of His word which we have heard and commit the same to faithful men who shall be able to teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2) so "that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments. . ." (Psalm 78: 6-7).


I want to acknowledge and express gratitude to Harvey Anderson, Lee Cochran, Mae Litman, Mary Jane Moser, and Elden Rine, without whom this work could not have been completed as it stands.  Mae Litman and brethren Anderson, Cochran, and Rine have been so helpful as they have allowed the storehouse of their memory to inform us of many of the persons and events relating to the early history of the church.  Mary Jane Moser has been a great help to me with research as well as doing all of the typing, reproducing, layout and assembly of this book. Hundreds of hours have invaluable.

 
In appreciation for, and in memory of, all who have labored faithfully during the past seventy-five years to the end that the work at Bridge Street would go on with diligence and prosper (Ezra 5:8), this volume is affectionately dedicated.

Charles C. Pugh III

Evangelist

March 22, 1996

A History of the Bridge Street church of Christ, New Martinsville, West Virginia

In late 1920, Harold Feiss, his wife, Ora Kocher Feiss, and two sons, moved to New Martinsville from Erie, Pennsylvania.  Brother and sister Feiss soon learned that the church of Christ was not meeting as a local congregation in New Martinsville.  Therefore, desiring to establish such, they began to search for other members of the Lord's church.  Others who were among the first members to identify with the new congregation at New Martinsville included Jim F. Garrett, Assessor of Wetzel County and his wife; Encil Garrett (brother of Jim) and his wife, and their niece, Rosa Taylor.  Lydia Lewis, mother of Linda Rine, with whom Lydia resided, was one of the charter members.  Sister Lewis, who had been identified with the Adonis congregation on Little Buffalo, about five miles from Sistersville, West Virginia, once stated that the with whom they could begin assembling.  Among those with whom they made contact were Carrie Fuchs and her children, Edith, Harry, and Wilbert; Ida Welling and daughters, Mae, Ollie, Mary, and Atha; and Mr. and Mrs. Frank Smith and their five children establishing of this new congregation at New Martinsville meant so much to her as it enabled her to renew her earlier belief.  The earliest records indicate a total of fifteen charter members of the New Martinsville congregation.

The date given in an early directory for the beginning of the church in New Martinsville is March 29, 1921.  However, sister Mae Welling Litman recalls that there were meetings (perhaps organizational in nature) which occurred prior to this at the Wetzel County Court House and the Eastern Star room across from the Court House on Main Street.  It appears that the first meeting place for an extended period of time was the Ballouz Hall on North Street east of the Central Grade School.  There was a period in 1922, because of the unavailability of Ballouz Hall, that the church was forced to meet in a room over the Post office, Chaplin Hall-Moose Building, and the Court House.  During this time, Ballouz Hall was unavailable because it had been rented to Ohio Valley Building Supply Company.  These were the places of meeting until the first worship service was conducted March 2,1923, in a new building which the church erected on North Street, a short distance east of the railroad tracks.  The original cost of the North Street building was $10,094.00.  This is when the congregation became known as the Church of Christ, North Street.

The church at Sistersville, West Virginia, and other 1eighboring congregations were involved in helping to establish the Lord's work in New Martinsville.  Several families, such as the 0. D. Coopers, often came from Sistersville in the early years of the church to help in the work here.  Brother Cooper was a recognized leader in the church in the Ohio Valley. Sister Cooper {Eunice) often taught Bible classes for the sisters at North Street in the early years. The first gospel meeting was conducted in April, 1921.  C. Russell Rice of Sistersville and T. Q. Martin of St. Marys worked together in this meeting.  Following this gospel meeting, arrangements were made for various speakers for Lord's Day services.  Some of these brethren who preached in the services of the church during its earliest history included Frank Smith, Russell Bankes, J. M. Rine, C. R. Rice, and F. L. Rowe, prominent publisher of the Christian Leader of Cincinnati, Ohio, who made several trips to speak at New Martinsville.  The speakers who came for the regular Sunday appointments taught a Bible lesson and preached a sermon.  Frank Smith is reported to have been an early leader in the congregation until his death in 1930.  Jim F. Garrett, Wetzel County Assessor, and a charter member of the congregation, was well versed in the Scriptures.  He is reported to have been a source of good answers for those with Bible questions.  Both of these men were respected and helpful to others.

New Years Eve, 1921, is a monumental date in the history of the church in New Martinsville.  It was on this day that a gospel meeting began which lasted through February 12, 1922 – a gospel meeting which lasted seven weeks!!   J. H. Pennell did the preaching in this significant effort.  Interest was very high.  Brethren from Sistersville and Paden City chartered streetcars to the meeting.  Many residents from the city of New Martinsville attended to investigate and see what this meeting was all about.  It took place during a snowy winter, but the weather did not hinder interest in the meeting.  So powerful and effective was the preaching of the gospel that many responded to the invitation to forsake denominationalism, obey the gospel, and unite with the church.  The Christian Church was especially affected by the impact of this meeting.  As an example of the great response – during the meeting the personal diary of H. Elden Rine states that one Sunday (January 29,1922) he witnessed four persons baptized in the river.  The following Sunday (February 5) seven were baptized.  This was typical of the positive response to the gospel during this seven week period.

North Street buildingThe first service in the new building on North Street was conducted on the evening of March 2, 1923. The church met in the North Street building for forty-six years.  At various times during these years the flood waters of the Ohio River invaded this building.  The greatest depth was during March of 1936 when water was three feet deep in the low part of the auditorium (near pulpit area) and one foot deep in the back of the auditorium (entrance).

The first elders of the North Street congregation were appointed in 1935.  They were John Gamer, Dave Heasley, and W. P. Welling. In addition to these three brethren who served as the first elders of the congregation, the following men also served as elders at various times during the past seventy-five years: Donald Rille, Harry Anderson, James Batton, Clarence Hartman, Lee Cochran, Clyde Steele, Elden Rine, Bill Cross, Vernon Bailey, A. G. Higginbotham, George Knisley, and Lloyd King.  Of these fifteen elders in the history of the congregation, James Batton served the longest number of years (1950-82).  Brethren Batton, Cochran, and Bailey served as elders, at both the North Street and Bridge Street locations.

The first gospel preacher to work with the church on a full time basis was Edward White who came to work as the local evangelist in 1943.  Other brethren who served the congregation as full time local preachers when it assembled on North Street were C. D. Beagle, Ralph Hanlin, A. M. Gillespie. Weldon Warnock, William Daines, Robert Manasco, James H. Bailey, and William Renner.  Herman Truex often conducted Singing Schools at North Street.  Numerous brethren in various congregations today still acknowledge the influence of these Singing Schools in teaching them the fundamentals of congregational singing.  The congregation has been blessed for many years with several song leaders.  Clair Twyman, one of the many good song leaders in the congregation today, and the son of Errett Twyman, who at the time of his death in 1995, was the oldest male member of the congregation, has led singing for 49 years of which 31 have been at the North Street and Bridge Street locations.

From its earliest history, the congregation has placed great emphasis on the faithful preaching of the Word of God.  There have been many great gospel preachers who have proclaimed the truth from the pulpit of this congregation.  In addition to those already mentioned above, some (but not all) of the preachers who have preached in meetings, or at other appointments, with the congregation during the past seventy- five years, include Reid Robinson, H. W. Bankes, Russell Bankes, Raymond Straight, Oliver Johnson, Boyd Fanning, Horace Taylor, Joe Taylor, Elmer Taylor, Chester Gray, Kenneth Adams, Harry Postlethwait, Wellington Gallagher, James Gallagher, Fred Dennis, Cornelius Abbott, F. S. Harper, D. H. Hadwin, Tom W. Butterfield, Carl Rine, Elden Rine, Willard Fortney, Harold Hadley, Robert Cooper, James Cooper, Halley Smith, Earl P. Stevens, Sr ., Cecil Dotson, Ray Dotson, Jess Nutter, Paul Gray, Lewis Mikell, Pat Gibbons, Frank Higginbotham, Clifton Inman, James Seelbach, Bill Heinselman, Earl P. (Steve) Stevens II, Tom Butterfield, Tom Gaumer, R. C. Oliver, W. Terry Varner, D. Gene West, Denver Cooper, Eddie Cooper, Wendell Winkler, Burt Jones, Wirt Cook, Emanuel Daugherty, and Bert Thompson.  There are many other preachers whose names could have been listed in the preceding, but the lack of time, and complete records, will not enable us to give the names of all of those who have preached from the pulpit at North Street/Bridge Street. However, the preceding list is sufficient to show that the congregation has recognized the value of faithful gospel preaching during the seventy-five years of its existence. In addition to the earlier mentioned seven week meeting (1921-1922) in which J. H. Pennell did the preaching there have been many other great meeting efforts through the years. These were attended by hundreds of people and often resulted in overflowing crowds.  Folding chairs were often placed in the aisles to accommodate the large numbers.  There were times when so many attended these efforts that all could not get inside the building at North Street and thus some had to stand outside and listen, by means of a public address system.  Perhaps the late Fred E. Dennis of Marietta, OH, preached in more meetings at North Street than any other preacher.  His meetings with the congregation spanned at least four decades.  The North Street auditorium would seat approximately 260-275. It became a common occurrence for attendance at some services to be in excess of 300.

Steelton buildingIn 1958, because of an average attendance exceeding 300, and a lack of space to accommodate the growing numbers, it was decided to establish an additional congregation in the Steelton area.  It appears that some brethren who lived in that area had already met for worship some years before at a school building to provide worship opportunity for some of the residents of the nearby County Home.  Furthermore, it was thought that establishing another congregation in the Steelton area would be helpful to those who had transportation problems in getting to the North Street building from Steelton.  The Steelton building project was a success, and in September, 1958, the first services were conducted in the new Steelton building on East Thistle Drive.  Approximately 52 members of the North Street church made up the list of charter members of the new Steelton Church of Christ.  Eight years later, with the two congregations working together, the entire indebtedness of $55,000.00 on the Steelton building was paid in full.

Another building program was begun by the North Street church in the Fall of 1967.  The need was for more classrooms and facilities to teach and preach the Bible.  In the Spring of 1968, the site where the present meeting place on Bridge Street is located was selected, and ground was broken for this new building on September 14,1968.  The church met for its first service in the new building on Bridge Street on June 1,1969.  From that time to the present, the congregation has been identified as the Bridge Street Church of Christ.  On November 21,1975, indebtedness was paid off on the Bridge Street building.  Total cost of this building was approximately $104,000.00.

The first preacher to serve as the local evangelist with the church at its Bridge Street meeting place was William Renner who was the local preacher at North Street at the time of the relocation.  He was followed by Daniel Hamm, James H. Bailey (who returned to serve a second time as preacher having also worked at North Street, 1965-67), Robert Cossin, Bernard McGrath, Steven Davis, and Charles C. Pugh III who is presently in his ninth year with the Bridge Street church.  Pugh commuted from Vienna, West Virginia, for eight years until moving with his wife and children to New Martinsville in July, 1995. He will begin his tenth year as the Bridge Street preacher in September of this year (1996).

The work at Bridge Street has grown through the years to wield an influence on other congregations and communities throughout the Ohio Valley and other areas.  One example of this has been the participation of the congregation in the annual Ohio Valley Lectureship hosted annually in August by one or more congregations in the Ohio Valley area.  Now in its 51st year, this Bible Lectureship has been hosted by Bridge Street three times.  The first was August 16-20, 1948, when the 3rd Annual Ohio Valley Lectureship was held in Paden City, WV, and hosted in a cooperative effort by the congregations at North Street, Paden City, and Sistersville.  Carl Rine, member at North Street, took notes in long hand on every lecture presented during the five days.  These notes were then published under the title Notes On Lectureship.  Brother Rine wrote, "After the 1947 Lecture Course, held at South Parkersburg, W. Va., the brethren of Sistersville, Paden City, and New Martinsville, W. Va., agreed to work together in this year's services.  It was agreed that the meeting be held at Paden City as it was centrally located, and so the program would be under the supervision of the elders of the Paden City congregation."  The attendance at this lectureship was outstanding.  The largest crowd was Thursday evening (August 19) when approximately 700 attended.  The sisters of the three host congregations served both the noon and evening meals every day to those attending the lectures.

PCHSThese meals were served at the old Paden City High School gymnasium.  The crowds for these lunches and suppers numbered 230-350 at each meal.  Brother Rine wrote concerning the Friday evening meal, "The sisters of New Martinsville, Paden City, and Sistersville served supper at the school house to more than 355.  Still had plenty of food for everyone and to spare.  The food that remained unused was distributed to some poor families in Paden City.  The sisters of these three congregations are to be commended for their splendid work and the fine cooperation. . . Many remarked they never saw so much food and so many people to feed.  More than 100 congregations of the Church of Christ were represented during the meeting.  Largest gathering of the Church of Christ ever to be held in this section of the country.  Beds for visitors were provided by members of the three congregations.  Over 2,280 meals were served during the four days, without cost to the public.  The church can't get along without the women.  Everyone present expressed the enjoyment they received from these services and the fine way in which they were treated" (Notes On Lectureship, pp. 61, 68).  Brother Donald Jarrett, preacher at Paden City, "expressed appreciation for the splendid co-operation during the meeting".  Brother Lawrence Gardner, preacher at  Sistersville, stated, "This has drawn the three congregations closer together in this meeting.  It makes the congregations stronger."

In 1983, Bridge Street hosted the 38th Annual Ohio Valley Lectureship.  All sessions were conducted in the Bridge Street building.  The theme was – "Christianity -A Victorious Way Of Life".  Keynote speaker was Tom Gaumer of Dallas, TX.

Ten years later, the 48th Annual Ohio Valley Lectureship took place in New Martinsville August 9-12, 1993.  This may very well be one of the most monumental events which have occurred at the Bridge Street building since it was built twenty-seven years ago.  The Lectureship was hosted by the Bridge Street church and its sister congregations, Proctor Church of Christ and Steelton Church of Christ.  The theme of the Lectureship was “WHY I BELIEVE" and the keynote speakers were Bert Thompson and Wendell Winkler, both of Montgomery, Alabama.

Lectures were presented by 29 gospel preachers.  All of these lectures were delivered at the Bridge Street building.  There was also a daily class for women only taught by outstanding Christian women. These classes for women were conducted at the Steelton building.  The interest and enthusiasm throughout the Lectureship was remarkable.  Many who attended believed it to be one of the greatest weeks in the history of the Lord's church in New Martinsville.  The spirit of unity and cooperation among the three host congregations (Bridge Street, Proctor, and Steelton) was beautiful to behold.  Attendance was outstanding.  At the closing night of the lectures nearly 500 were in attendance.  Chairs were placed in the aisles to accommodate the large crowds.  The singing was excellent.  Jerry Yost, preacher at the Duffy, Ohio Church of Christ was the song leader at every session.  Many believed this to be some of the best congregational singing they had ever heard.  Dan Kessinger, Charles C. Pugh Ill, and D. Gene West, the local preachers for the Proctor, Bridge Street, and Steelton congregations, respectively, planned the lectureship schedule of speakers and subjects, and worked together hand in hand throughout the planning, preparation, and presentation of this Lectureship.  A book of more than 330 pages was published which contains lectures in outline form.  Lunch was served daily by the sisters of the three host congregations at the Lewis Wetzel Family Center. The week of August 9-12,1993, will be recognized for years to come as one of the greatest weeks in the history of the church in New Martinsville.

The Bridge Street congregation has been home to several men who became gospel preachers.  Those of whom we have record who came from the congregation, either at North Street or Bridge Street, and preached in full time local work, or by appointment, are Elden Rine, Carl Rine, Roy Hartman, Charles Cochran, Dean Beagle, Edgar Beagle, Frank Higginbotham, James Seelbach, Jack Burgess, Steve Fuchs, George Knisley, Greg Morris, and Bill Longwell.  The church is also a loyal supporter of the West Virginia School of Preaching at Moundsville, WV, which began in the Fall of 1994.  The Bridge Street congregation sends monthly financial support to the school which is under the oversight of the elders of the Hillview Terrace Church of Christ and directed by Emanuel Daugherty.  The Bridge Street church supports their local preacher, Charles Pugh III, as he serves as a member of the faculty of WVSOP.  This is not the first time Bridge Street has been involved in the support of those who are being trained to preach the gospel.  James Seelbach, Greg Morris, and others have been supported by the congregation as they prepared themselves at various schools of preaching.  Brother Seelbach was partially supported in a number of mission works before his death in 1990.

The congregation has been an active supporter of numerous evangelistic works throughout its seventy-five year history.  The congregation has broadcast, by means of radio, the preaching of the gospel during many of the seventy-five years of its history. Radio programs have been conducted by the local preachers at both the North Street and Bridge Street locations.  Although the congregation has not had a radio program since 1988, it believes in the effective use of mass media to preach and teach the gospel, and presently is using newspaper and television as means of teaching the word of God.  Some of the evangelism efforts which the congregation is supporting (or has recently supported) include the following: West Virginia School of Preaching, In Search of the Lord's Way television program (a cooperative effort of Ohio Valley congregations), weekly newspaper article in the Wetzel Chronicle, mission and benevolent work in the Philippines, South Carolina, Ripley, WV, and other areas.  The church has through the years manifested a concern for preaching the gospel, not only in New Martinsville, but elsewhere.  In 1951, brother Charles Cochran, who grew up in the North Street congregation, went to Circleville, Ohio, to establish the Lord's work in that community.  While he and his wife lived and worked there, the congregation here supported him faithfully with financial support.  Brother Cochran tells the story of an unnamed sister at North Street who came to him when he was about to go to Circleville. She had recently sold a cow and wanted to give him part of the proceeds to help him preach the gospel in Ohio.  She handed him twenty dollars.  This incident illustrates the kind of attitude that many in the church here have had (and yet have) with regard to supporting the proclamation of God's Word.

The church office, with office secretary, Mary Jane Moser, who has performed secretarial duties for the church at various times during the past forty years and has been the full time office secretary at Bridge Street for the past eleven years, is home to the printing and publishing of numerous Bible Study, teaching, and preaching materials.  A weekly church bulletin of teaching articles and news items has been published at least since 1945.  Originally entitled "The Light", it is now published under the title "Messenger".  Since 1987, twenty-five Bible study books and booklets, written by the local preacher, have been published by the Bridge Street office.  Thousands of pages of teaching and preaching materials have been produced for sermons and Bible Study classes at Bridge Street as well as other congregations, preachers, and teachers who use these materials in Bible classes and sermons.  The congregation has always emphasized Bible study through Sunday classes and Mid-week services.  Bible classes are provided for all ages beginning with a Cradle Roll Class for babies six months old.  Many dedicated Bible class teachers have faithfully taught the Word of God to children and adults during the past seventy-five years. The Bible has always been (and is) THE Book for study in these classes.  A weekly Wednesday afternoon study is conducted at the New Martinsville Health Care Center.  The sisters of the congregation show concern for the residents of the Health Care Center with birthday remembrances.  A program to provide food for bereaved families has been conducted for many years by many of the sisters of the congregation.  Throughout the years when churches, families, and individuals have experienced losses and were in need of benevolence the congregation at Bridge Street has been willing to assist at home, in the congregation and community, in other states, and abroad.

The congregation also has manifested concern for orphaned children through its support of these children in such homes as Potter Children's Home and Mid-Western Children's Home.  Every year the Potter Home truck visits the congregation to collect food and supplies for its residents.  Bridge Street members have always recognized the need to do good unto all, especially those of the household of faith (Gal. 6:10).  According to available records, those men who have served the congregation as deacons include Lee Cochran, Curtis Burgess, Sr., Jacob Fuchs, Wilbert Fuchs, Carl Lancaster, Duane Tustin, Otis Simmons, Robert Burgess, Paul Fuchs, Terry Hayes, Ervin Beckman, Bill Boggs, Merle Lemasters, Melvin Morris, Bob Nolan, David Moser, and Phil Rine.

Training classes, youth service activities, annual Vacation Bible School, free transportation to services on the church van for senior members and others, sermon tapes, fellowship get-togethers, visitation, gospel meetings, and singing schools are just some of the works in which the congregation involves itself to spread the gospel of Christ and build up the church locally.

Our building custodian is brother Darrell Hart.  John  Anderson, Herb Jung, and David Moser serve as treasurers for the congregation.  Since 1988, the Bridge Street building has become more visible to traffic along State Route 2.  A large blue and white sign near the building, which identifies the meeting place of the church, as well as service times, has become a "Landmark" of sorts in New Martinsville.  Each week moral and spiritual messages are placed on this sign.  Since the installation of the sign, nearly eight years ago, the church office has received numerous calls from residents in the community who comment on these sign messages.  It has even come to our attention that these messages have been discussed in the Sunday Schools of some local denominational churches.  The messages are brief – only 8 to 10 words – but are powerful little "sermons" on Biblical principles.  Bridge Street has come to be known by several in town as "The Church With The Sign”.  This sign is the result of the generosity of the oldest living member of the Bridge Street Church of Christ, sister Thelma Fox.  Although sister Fox has been a shut-in for many years because of illness, her influence is realized every day as hundreds of passersby read the Bridge Street sign.  Sister Fox has also contributed many volumes of good books to the Bridge Street library.  The song books presently used in worship (Songs Of The Church 21st Century Edition) were presented to the congregation by the sate sister Garnet Higginbotham who, with her husband, A. G. Higginbotham, and other family members, was a member at Bridge Street for many years.  The office computer which is used to produce the great amount of teaching materials published by the church office, as well as fulfilling many other office functions, was presented to the church in 1992 by sister Gertrude Bat ton in memory of her husband, James Bat ton, who served many years as an elder with the congregation.

The Bridge Street Church of Christ has approximately 225 members today with a present average Sunday morning worship attendance of 155. The oldest available pictures, and other available records of the congregation, reveal that, of those who regularly attend the services of the church at Bridge Street today, the following attended during the earliest years of the history of the church: Harvey Anderson, Nellie Anderson, Ila Cross, Bertha Fuchs, Ed Litman, Mae Litman, and Lydia McIntire.  To our knowledge, there are no charter members of the church living today.  There are just a few yet living today who even attended the first service.  Sister Mae Litman is the only member at Bridge Street today who attended the first service of the church in New Martinsville.  The Bible teaches us to give honor to whom honor is due (Rom. 13:7).  We honor each of the above six individuals for their faithfulness today, and what they mean to the church at Bridge Street.  The strength of the Bridge Street Church of Christ is in brothers and sisters like the preceding, and all of those yet unnamed, both deceased and living, who through the past seventy five years, "continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers" (Acts 2:42).

"Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" (Psalm 133:1).

"Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.  Amen." (Eph. 3:20-21).

Charles C. Pugh III


Addendum

Because the previous "History of the Bridge Street Church of Christ" was completed in 1996,  it was thought expedient to update this history to the present.  The following is not intended to be a comprehensive account of events, but a synopsis of the most significant of those events.

In the year 2000, Charles Pugh, who had been the preacher since 1987, developed a disease which affected his vocal cords and, consequently, his ability to speak effectively.  He decided at that time to step down from his pulpit position and devote more of his time to writing and teaching.  Scott McKeever, a recent graduate of the West Virginia School of Preaching, assumed the role of pulpit preacher in July of 2000.  Brother Pugh continued his association with the congregation by teaching the Wednesday evening Bible study, writing the weekly bulletin article, and performing various other contributions to the work.

In 2002, after many years of faithful service, Mary Jane Moser, the church's secretary, made the decision to retire.  At that time, Lyn Miller assumed the secretarial duties and continues to serve in that position.  Lyn performs her responsibilities with a high degree of professionalism and proficiency and is a tremendous asset to the church.  Lyn handles the functions of the church office, as well as providing secretarial support to our evangelist and elders.  She also edits and prepares The Messenger, the weekly bulletin of the Bridge Street congregation.

Early in 2005, the congregation made the decision to "set in order the things that are lacking" (Titus 1:5) and work toward the appointment of an eldership at Bridge Street.  The Men's Business Meeting appointed a committee to facilitate this process.  Members of that committee were Clair Twyman, Dwight Williams, Scott McKeever, and Charles Pugh.  These men demonstrated much wisdom and efficiency throughout the appointment process, and are to be commended for their efforts.  Charles Pugh is also to be commended for his role in preparing the congregation for appointment of an eldership by teaching a comprehensive class on the eldership on Wednesday evenings during the first half of 2005.

As a result of these efforts, on August 28, 2005, Dennis Dye and Roger Spencer were installed as Elders of the Bridge Street church of Christ.  Terry Varner of Marietta, OH, was the speaker that Lord's Day morning and facilitated the installation process.  Brother Varner's address that morning was inspiring and insightful, and his instructions and admonitions to both the newly appointed elders and to the congregation will always be remembered by those in attendance.  Sincere appreciation is due Brother Varner for his role that day.

Soon after their appointment, the new elders began work toward the appointment of deacons at Bridge Street.  In 2006, this goal was accomplished when Jerry Amos, John Buck, Herb Jung, and Dave McCune were appointed as Deacons.

In June of 2007, Scott McKeever made the decision to move on to another work with the church in Front Royal, VA.  At that time, Paolo DiLuca assumed the role of pulpit preacher for the Bridge Street congregation and continues to serve in that capacity.  Paolo, a native of Italy, has many ties to the Ohio Valley, his wife, Cindy, being the daughter of the late Clifton Inman of Parkersburg.  Paolo had preached for various congregations in Italy from 1983 to 2006, at which time he and his family made the decision to move to the United States.  On April 19, 2009, Paolo was added to the eldership of the congregation.

Many of those who were members in 1996 have gone on to their reward.  Due to a variety of factors, including a struggling local economy and a diminishing and aging population, average attendance at Bridge Street is lower than it was in 1996, averaging at this time about 115 on Sunday mornings.  However, we have faith that as we continue to plant and water the seed of the Gospel, God will grant the increase (I Cor. 3:6), and as we grow spiritually, numerical growth will follow.


Elders Who Have Served Bridge Street church of Christ

John Garner

Dave Heasley

W. P. Welling

Donald Rine

Harry Anderson

James Batton

Clarence Hartman

Lee Cochran

Clyde Steele

Elden Rine

Bill Cross

Vernon Bailey

A. G. Higginbotham

George Knisley

Lloyd King

Dennis Dye (2005-present)   Email Dennis

Roger Spencer (2005-present)   Email Roger

Paolo DiLuca (2009-present)   Email Paolo


Deacons Who Have Served Bridge Street church of Christ

 Lee Cochran

Curtis Burgess, Sr.

Jacob Fuchs

Carl Lancaster

Duane Tustin

Otis Simmons

Robert Burgess

Paul Fuchs

Terry Hayes

Ervin Beckman

Bill Boggs

Merle Lemasters

Melvin Morris

Bob Nolan

David Moser

Phil Rine

Jerry Amos (2006-present)

John Buck (2006-present)

Herb Jung (2006-present)

Dave McCune (2006-present)


Located Preachers

Bridge Street church of Christ

1944-46             Ed White, first located preacher

1947-51             C. D. Beagle

1951-52             Ralph Hanlin

1953-56             A. M Gillespie

1956-59             Weldon Warnoc

1959-63             William W. Daines

1963-65             Robert w. Manasco

1965-69             James H. Bailey

1969-71             William J. Renner

1971-72             Daniel S. Hamm

1972-75             James H. Bailey

1975-80              Robert W. Cossin

1980-82             Bernard P. McGrath

1983-87             Steven L. Davis

1987-2008  Charles C. Pugh III

2000-2007       Scott McKeever

2007-present   Paolo Di Luca   Email Paolo