HISTORY OF THE FRONT STREET CHURCH OF CHRIST”
On the first Pentecost following the resurrection of our Lord, A. D. 33, in Jerusalem, the Church of Christ was founded on a solid Rock. Through years of dedicated sowers of the Seed (the Word of God), the church still remains strong today.
We are thankful for the foresight of the Milan Main Street Church of Christ Eldership. They worked in our community preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. The seed for the Front Street Congregation took hold in earnest hearts in 1951. Bro. Quincy Carter conducted a tent meeting at a site on the former Polk-Clark School campus (Harris Street). As a result of that meeting the following were added to the church in 1951: Bro. O’Daniel and Sis. Nettie Whitley, Bro. Witt and Sis. Letha Kemp, Bro. Jessie and Sis. Marie Hurt, Sis. Jessie Rene Taylor and perhaps Sis. Clemmie Whitmore and others.
The new converts had worship services and classes in homes each Sunday and one night during the week prior to acquiring a public worship facility. A new block building, which was funded by the Main Street Church of Christ, was erected on Front Street in the early 1950s. From Main Street Church of Christ, Bro. George Dedmon, the late Bro. Malcolm Ingram, along with others preached, taught classes and assisted with Vacation Bible School for many years. This helped to solidly anchor the Word in the hearts of the early saints. Our membership grew under these ministries :
Approximate Date of Service of Front Street Ministers and their Supportive spouses:
1951 - - 1956 Bro. Quincy (Sis. Carter) Carter
Bro. U. L. (Sis. Esther) Stewart
Bro. Eugene (Sis. Erma) Lee
1956-1960 Bro. Jimmie C. (Sis. Pearlie) Steele
1960-1974 Bro. John (Sis. Virginia) Harris
1974-1977 Bro. George (Sis. Iona) Washington
1978-1980 Bro. Kenny (Sis. Lillie) Andrews
1980-1981 Bro. Clifford (Sis. Sharon) Easiley
1981-1985 Bro. Anthony (Sis. Ira/the late Sis. Vanessa) Booker
1986- Present Bro. Charles L. (Sis. Annie) Taylor
These hard fighting soldiers have won many souls to Christ. Supporting these leaders have been helpful wives and children. We have been truly blessed with their labors of love and concern for the brotherhood.
Bro. O’Daniel Whitley is the only living survivor from the first converts of 1951. He has witnessed many Front Street Milestones. He always has the best interest of the church at heart. Health challenges have limited his activities during the past months. We pray that God will grant him improved health.
Bro. James and Sis. Doris Berry fondly remember Bro. U. L. Stewart who baptized them on September 14, 1952. Bro. Stewart didn’t allow his handicap to slow him down. Before owing a car, he would catch the train from Humboldt to Milan to preach the gospel. Between services he would walk the streets spreading the Good News of a Risen Savior.
Sis. Pearlie Steele, widow of the late Bro. Jimmie C. Steele, recalls driving from Jackson each Sunday. Sometimes being the first to arrive, they would make a fire in the wood/coal heater, sweep the floor and tidy up the building before service began.
Bro. George Dedmon, an eider from Main Street, recalls helping to pour and finish the concrete floor in the old edifice. He sometimes filled in as the minister during the early years,
Bro. John Harris considers Milan as one of the best places that he ever preached. He often speaks of baptizing seven in one family. During his fifty-two years of preaching (in seventeen states and one hundred seventy-six cities), he has baptized eight men who are now gospel ministers.
At intervals during the 1970s and 1980s, Front Street was without a full time minister. Thank God for Bro. Clifford Ragland of the East Jackson Church of Christ, Jackson, TN. From morning Bible classes to the end of evening worship, he literally spent Sundays with us.
Between the morning and evening worship services, Bro. Ragland would be invited into the homes of various members to break bread and fellowship. We truly thank him for the great sacrifices he made on our behalf. We are equally grateful to his wife and family for sharing him with us. Our prayer of thanksgiving is that God continues to bless them.
For over twenty years the Main Street Church of Christ had fully or partially supported the work at Front Street. We received our last partial check from them in December 1976. Beginning in 1977 we became self-supporting. In 1979 the elders of Main Street transferred the property deed to seven trustees and the Front Street Congregation. In 1983 Bro. Anthony Booker, with the assistance of many brethren, added a fellowship hall/kitchen area, minister’s office, additional classrooms, nursery, foyer, and two additional restrooms to the block edifice.
Thru the grace of God, the vision of the brethren, and the generous giving on the part of many, we purchased adjourning properties to the east (1990 and 1993) and to the north (1998) of our original parcel of land. This was done with prayer and anticipation of one day erecting a new worship facility, God willing.
After several years of laying the groundwork, final plans were formulated in 2000 to construct a new building with a seating capacity of 270, a minister’s office, seven classrooms, a nursery, and a fellowship area. York Construction Company of Victoria, Texas was the contractor chosen. They arrived in Milan in early July 2001. The keys were given to us in November. With the help of Almighty God, we moved into our new edifice and held our first worship service on Sunday night December 23, 2001. We held an Open House for the Milan Community on February 3rd.
Our present minister, Bro. Charles Taylor, has recently begun his Seventeenth Year of labor in Milan. He has taught many people the gospel. Our most recent converts,
Bro. Kenny Cherry and Bro. Deante’ Merriweather, were added to the body of Christ in November 2001. Our members are from: Milan, Atwood, Trezevant, Gibson, and Humboldt. We meet here on a regular basis for Bible classes, worship services and other scheduled activities promoting the cause of Christ.
The Lord has been gracious to this congregation over the years. From our number, many have relocated to other cities and remain steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. They have become ministers of the gospel, elders, deacons, Bible class teachers, song leaders, and faithful Christians, it is upon this strong heritage, founded in Jesus Christ, that we build for our future.
WE GIVE GOD THE GLORY (1) for all whose faith and dedicated service have made this history possible; (2) in grateful remembrance of those who have loved and labored and will one day serve God in heaven in a house not made with hands; (3) and for all who will worship here in years to come.
Our vision is to be a Biblical functioning church that reaches into the Milan community and into the world, shining the light of hope and love that Jesus gives. Our desires and goals are to continue bringing many souls to Jesus. Hence, the body of Christ assembling at 4101 N W Front Street will never cease — but remain dedicated, faithful, and strong Christians until Judgment Day. Amen.
(++++This historical reflection is to give us an idea of the many sacrifices and labors of love done for the cause of Christ. For any omissions and errors made regarding names, dates and times, they are not intentional. Many thanks to all who helped provide the information.)