Adair Street Church of Christ had its beginning in the summer
of 1930 when Evangelist Marshall Keeble of Nashville, Tennessee,
was called to conduct a series of gospel meetings. A tent was
erected on the corners of Magnolia and York Street. Brother
Keeble preached nightly with Brother Luke Miller leading the
singing. The outstanding result was 163 precious souls baptized
into the body of Christ.
help of a hundred dollar down payment from the Central Avenue
of Christ, the disciples purchased the property at 519
West Adair Street, where then stood the Dreamland Dance Hall.
This building, which formerly housed lust and sinfulness, was
converted into a place of worship for the Saints and a parsonage
for the minister. The disciples assembled there for the first
time with Brother Luke Miller as their minister. The following
year Brother Keeble returned to conduct a second campaign and
the result was 166 baptisms.
(Picture of the old dance hall the church used for worship)
Gospel Preachers - Marshall
Keeble & Luke Miller)
The church purchased a vacant lot
adjacent to the church building for future expansion and for parking.
The decades of the 40’s and
50’s saw a great outreach effort that resulted in the planting
of a dozen or more daughter churches in the states of Georgia,
Florida, and Alabama. Congregations were planted in the following
towns in Georgia: Albany, Adel, Lakeland, Thomasville, Quitman,
Tifton, Hahira, Moultrie, Waycross, Cairo, and Valdosta. Congregations
were established in Live Oak, Lake City, and Tallahassee, Florida.
Congregations in Alabama included: Brundidge, and Enterprise.
Leading those efforts were men like John Henry Clay, Pedro Black,
Alonzo Rose, Luke Miller, Ulysses Shields, F. L. Thompson, and
W. D. Sweet. Others who assisted were Brother Purdy, Willie Ray,
Willie F. Washington, Sammy Balloon, Columbus Nixon, Robert Simmons,
John O. Williams, Howard Goodman, and Ross Butler.
of Christ, now known as Woodlawn Forrest, in 1949)
In April 1948,
under the leadership of Brother Luke Miller, the disciples purchased
property located at 810 York Street from Mr. Charlie Butler for
$1,641.10 to be used as a parsonage for the minister. The congregation
continued to meet in the old dance hall until the ministry of
Brother S. J. Dudley.
Under the guidance
of Brother Dudley the old building was eradicated and members
assembled under a tent pitched in the back yard of the parsonage
on York and Adair Streets for worship while the new facility was
being constructed. The new building was a brick and concrete structure
capable of seating over 300 persons. Quite a few young people
were baptized during Brother Dudley’s ministry. Two of the
young men were Zebedee Moore, Sr. (1960) and Leroy Butler, Jr.
(Picture of the old West Adair Church of Christ building)
The decade of the
sixties was a very turbulent time for the church. Strife and dissension
resulted in a split. Dozens left and formed the West Street congregation
which later became River Street Church. At the center of the controversy
was the firing of the preacher for some alleged misconduct of a
moral nature. John Henry Clay was called to take the pulpit and
to try to heal the breach. Several returned to the West Adair congregation
and many more made confessions of sin. However, there were still
a few who refused to be reconciled and remained separate. The River
Street Church of Christ, then an all white congregation, sold the
group their building. Shortly after, Brother Alonzo Rose was hired
as their preacher. This group remained separated until the ministry
of Brother Leroy Butler, Jr. in 1981. After much investigation,
consultation and prayer, the River Street congregation was restored
to full fellowship with congregations in Valdosta in July 1982.
Brother Clay’s tenure ended in 1967. Upon his resignation Brother Clay recommended Robert L. Ivory as his replacement. Brother Ivory was a gifted preacher and extraordinary singer. He was a pioneer in helping to popularizing what was called quartet singing among members of the church of Christ. He assembled a talented group of young people into a singing group that became quite popular and well sought after throughout the local area. Brother Ivory served the church faithfully from 1967 until 1969.
Over the years, several adjoining
lots were purchased to provide parking and additional room for
expansion. In February 1976, a vacant lot at 709 Second Avenue
was purchased from Sister Rossie Lockett Payne. A year later under
the ministry of Brother Zebedee, the church constructed a new
2,500 square foot classroom annex. The new building contained
eight classrooms, an office for the minister, and a spacious conference
room. In July of the following year, the church contracted with
O. L. Anderson to purchase the lots at 705 and 707 Second Avenue.
Brother Moore was successful in
establishing a very strong prison ministry and was able, thereby,
to baptize scores of men in the Lowndes County prison system.
Some of these men got out of prison and lived faithful, productive
lives. Brother Moore raised the level of exposure for the congregation
in the community by originating radio broadcasts that aired during
three different time spots, a live program at 11:00 A.M. on Sunday
morning, 8:00 P.M. Sunday night, and in the middle of the week.
Brother Moore’s tenure lasted from March 1969 until July
In 1979, Brother Luis R. Lugo
of Chattanooga, Tennessee, was called to serve the congregation
as minister. Under his leadership and guidance the church continued
to grow and flourish. Attendance began to increase, and it was
clear that more space was needed to accommodate the growth and
provide for the needs of the church. During Brother Lugo’s
tenure, an old air force barracks was purchased, remodeled, and
enclosed with concrete blocks. After two years, Brother Lugo resigned
and moved to Tampa, Florida, to work with the Highland Avenue
Church of Christ.
In July 1981, Brother Leroy Butler,
Jr. was called to take the pulpit vacated by Brother Lugo and to
serve as minister to the congregation. Brother Butler’s early
emphasis was on evangelism. He trained several people in the one-lesson
(“Firefighter”) technique of personal evangelism, and
as a result of their efforts, some 125 precious souls were baptized
into the body of Christ within the first twelve months.
In 1982, the services of T.M.A. Incorporated
International, an architecture and engineering firm were sought
to help develop a comprehensive plan for expansion. The leadership
was presented with these alternatives: staying on the present site
and building a new sanctuary or finding five to ten acres to build
a new sanctuary. Based on subsequent meetings with the church, a
consensus was reached to stay at the present site and build a new
In 1985, the church was encouraged
to select men with proven spiritual qualifications who could serve
as special servants to assist the Evangelist in managing the business
affairs of the church. On December 1, 1985, four men: Ted Hundley,
Lawton G. Blankumsee, William P. Myers, and Steve A. Myers were
selected to fulfill this role. These men were subsequently ordained
as deacons and trustees. The next year James C. Shearry, Sr. was
added to the list of deacons serving the West Adair Street Church.
The result has been an unprecedented period of peace and progress
that has lasted nearly a quarter of a century.
In October 1992, the church secured
the services of Brother Arnold Watson, a capital gifts consultant,
to assist in implementing a Capital Stewardship Campaign with a
stated financial goal of raising $100,000.00 over three years. Proceeds
from the campaign would be used to pay off outstanding debt and
secure enough funds to pay for plans and preliminary expenses of
constructing a new edifice on the property at 519 West Adair Street.
At the heart of the campaign was a challenge for each member to
grow in faith and trust in God’s ability to provide for our
material and spiritual needs. Brother Lawton G. Blankumsee was the
chairman of the campaign and Brother Leon Dye was the co-chair.
In 1995, in light
of steady numerical growth, the leadership initiated a re-evaluation
of the needs of the congregation in respect to facilities and the
availability of additional land for purchase. After assessing the
suitability and affordability of adjacent properties, there was
substantial support in favor of moving off the existing site, purchasing
several acres of land, and constructing a new edifice.
In January 1996, the decision was ratified by the membership, and
a search for suitable land was initiated. In May 1996, a 17.3 acre
tract of land on North Forrest Street was purchased from the Valdosta
State University Foundation for $121,200.00. The services of an
architectural design and engineering company were secured and plans
to construct a new edifice were implemented.
November 1999, the process began for selecting and ordaining elders
and more deacons. Four months later, the process culminated in
the ordination of Leroy Butler, Jr. and James C. Shearry, Sr.
as elders and Mickey Lane, Sr., Donald Ceasar, and Steven Adams
On December 18, 1999, a groundbreaking
ceremony was held at 1515 N. Forrest Street. A building permit
was issued December 29, 1999, and construction of the new edifice
officially began. Approximately one year later, the building was
completed, and the Woodlawn Forrest era began.
(Picture of the Woodlawn Forrest Church
of Christ building)