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“A Jubilee for West Side Church of Christ”

According to Ms. Marion Williams’ The Story of Todd County, Kentucky 1820 – 1970 and from information supplied by the late Mrs. Allen Spann (former elder’s wife) of Elkton, West Side Church of Christ began its journey on March 3, 1964, when sixteen individuals met at the home of the late Bill Potter and his wife Mrs. Louise Potter to discuss the formation of a Church of Christ in Elkton. Original plans were for the church to support orphans’ homes, the national radio program The Herald of Truth, and several other worthy works. Three weeks later, on March 26, 1964, several Todd Countians again met, this time at the late Stan Miller’s furniture store on North Main, and discussed arrangements to purchase a building site and begin construction of a church building through the sale of bonds. Until the completion of that building, interested individuals met at the former Elkton Elementary School for worship services.

Thus, the history of West Side Church of Christ began with its first worship services held at Elkton Elementary on Sunday, March 29, 1964. Construction on the main structure soon began, and the first church service at the present site was held on Sunday, September 12, 1965. Saturday, July 5, and Sunday, July 6, 2014, saw West Side celebrating its first 50 years of existence in Todd County. Obviously, many faces have exited our world since the formation of West Side 50 years earlier. However, those early individuals laid a solid foundation for West Side, and today, 50 years later, West Side remains a viable entity focused on serving Christ.

Fifty years is indeed a milestone in any church’s history, and West Side is indeed appreciative of those who journeyed many miles to join in the 50-year celebration. Former West Side preachers Roger Russell (1996-2004) and Bruce Holt (2006-2010) traveled from Arkansas and from Tennessee to be guest speakers at the jubilee celebration. Former elders and deacons including Bob Ogden and John Hite also journeyed as well to join once more with folks from yesteryear. Also returning for a visit was Mrs. Moyna Sims, wife of the late Glen Sims, a former West Side deacon and former Todd County Extension Agent as well, along with two of her daughters who live in neighboring Christian County. It is safe to say that those present on Saturday night and on Sunday spanned in age from folks in their 80’s through one newborn young lady, Adalyn Michelle Watkins, daughter of Josh and Amie Walters Watkins and granddaughter of David and Janet Watkins. Adalyn earned her distinction as the youngest present being born on June 25, 2014. Running close to her in age was young Noah McGhee, two-year old son of Steven Kurtis and Ashley Upchurch McGhee, grandson of Danny Bruce and Sandy McGhee of Elkton, and great-grandson of Billy and Willadean McGhee, one of West Side’s first deacons and later an elder.

Also present for the jubilee celebration were five generations of the family of Mrs. Eva Mae Sims, one of the first members of West Side. Those present from her family on Sunday included Danny and Dianne Higgins, granddaughter of Ms. Eva, and the Higgins’ three daughters, Kim Higgins Sears, Cherie Higgins Morris, and Brandi Higgins. Completing the fourth generation were Dr. Dusty Reed, Logan Powell, and Ki Higgins, grandchildren of Danny and Dianne. The fifth generation was represented by Kane Reed, young son of Dr. Dusty Reed and great-grandson of Danny and Dianne. Included in attendance as well was young Kayleigh Arvin, ten-month old great-granddaughter of the late Tony and Jane Camp of Elkton, granddaughter of Terry and Susie Greenfield, and daughter of Lindsey and Kevin Arvin of Pembroke. The late Mr. Tony served for many years as one of the elders of West Side.

West Side has accomplished much during its 50 years – in years past it was involved in the Joy Bus Ministry, and even today some Todd Countians still recall their attending Bible study and worship services through this effort. Obviously, West Side offers to the public Bible study and worship services on a weekly basis, and in recent years West Side has been instrumental in the jail ministry effort. For those interested, West Side offers AA and CASA (Christians Against Substance Abuse) meetings on a weekly basis, and in the last several years West Side has served as the sponsor for the local Cub Scout pack. During most years West Side hosts a VBS open to the youth of our area, and for those who have experienced losses in the community, West Side for the past several years also supplies grief baskets to local funeral homes. West Side’s card ministry and email ministry are also well known with many folks receiving messages both electronically and through the postal service.

Relay for Life has been another integral part of West Side’s efforts, and West Side’s “Cooking for a Cure Cookbook” has supplied monies for Relay for several years. Fish fries have also been a ministry for several years with numerous benefits providing monies for individual cancer victims, for Relay for Life, for the Church of Christ’s mission efforts in India, and for the Todd County Backpack Program. Just this past week “pocket change cans” to support Potter’s Children’s Home and Family Ministries in Bowling Green were collected, a testament of the importance of the founding fathers’ early desire and emphasis on serving orphans. For many years the congregation has collected school supplies to offset the expenses of individuals and schools needing materials to begin the school year, and Christmas angels and food baskets have also been part of West Side’s ministries on a regular basis. Since 2003 West Side has hosted a “Thanksgiving Day Meal,” supplying a meal to those in our community and in our area who are in need of a healthy meal on Thanksgiving Day. Add to those ministries mission trips to Mexico to assist with church buildings and to Mississippi following several disasters, and the early mission of participating in ‘worthy causes’ still resonates at West Side.

Yes, 50 years ago a group of individuals had a vision for a Church of Christ in Todd County, and 50 years later that vision is still one that maintains a very strong presence in our community. A “jubilee” is viewed as a milestone in marriage, in the history of our nation, in the past history of monarchs throughout the world, and now in the history of West Side. It is indeed noteworthy that a small group of individuals had a vision for serving Christ, and that vision is still one strongly impacting our community. Dr. Jon Partlow, West Side’s preacher since 2010, said it rather well, “For 50 years, God has blessed this church, and because of his faithfulness, we celebrate this important mile marker. Our hope is that the blessings we experience now will continue, so that, barring the Lord’s return, in 2064 the West Side Church will continue to be a vital presence in Todd County (1 Samuel 7:12).”

~Article by Carolyn L. Wells (Member of West Side Church of Christ Since April 1972)

~Written and Published in the Todd County Standard, July 2014

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