...This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their
righteousness is of me, saith the LORD. Isaiah 54:17
The West 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.
With the help of a hundred dollar down payment from the Central Avenue Church
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.
The church purchased a vacant lot adjacent to the church building for future expansion and for parking.
1940 - 1950
The decades of the ’40s and ’50s 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.
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.
1958 - 1961
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. (1961).
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 were 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 popularize 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 slots, 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 1979.
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 sanctuary.
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.
In 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 as deacons.
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.
Our Service Times
SUNDAY | Morning Bible Study – 9:45 am | Morning Worship Service – 11:00 am | Evening Worship Service – 4:00 pm
James C. Shearry, Sr. serves as an Elder, instructor for the solid foundation class, and a member of the minister’s executive staff.
At the West Adair Church, he served as a deacon, bible school teacher coordinator, member of the finance committee, and bible school teacher. Bro. Shearry has also served as minister for the East Park Avenue Church of Christ in Hahira, Georgia, for fourteen months.
Bro. Shearry attended Valdosta City Schools prior to serving two years in the United States Army as a military police officer. He studied Industrial Residential Electricity at Valdosta Technical College and is currently employed at PCS/Phosphate in White Springs, Florida.
He is married to the former Francine Ceasar. They have three children, Adrina Walker (John), James Jr., and Jennifer Thompson (Timothy) who are all faithful members of the church.
The Woodlawn Forrest Church of Christ has reopened for public assembly as of Sunday, June 7th, 2020. The Leadership Team along with a few others have established protocols to help keep each person who arrives on our campus safe. Please click the button below to register for service. Registering helps us to plan properly before you arrive to ensure all worshippers can practice social distancing per CDC guidelines. If you have any questions or concerns please contact the Church Office: 229-242-7628.