MIDDLEPORT — Sunday, Oct. 6, the Middleport Church of Christ that began in 1838 with a congregation of nine meeting in a schoolhouse will observe its 175th anniversary.
The speaker for the celebration will be former pastor Bob Melton, who will deliver the message at both worship services, 8:15 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
There will be special music by “Destiny” of the Kentucky Christian University. The group will also present a concert following a carry-in luncheon after that second service. A special invitation is being given to the public, as well as anyone who formerly attended the church, to join in the anniversary celebration.
According to church records in 1842, the congregation was visited by the leader of the Restoration Movement, Thomas Campbell, who it is said greatly encouraged them.
In 1844 a frame church was built at the head of Walnut Street in Middleport which remained in use until 1888 when the floor gave way under a casket during a funeral. A new church was then built on land donated by Phillip and Mary Jones in 1889 on Main Street. Mary was the first member of the church.
As the congregation grew space became an issue so in 1914 an addition was built expanding the auditorium and adding Sunday School classrooms. That became a time of grown for the congregation, which was described as a “very strong body of workers for the Lord with capacity crowds on Sunday not uncommon.” But then as the years progressed, like many congregations, the church faced fluctuating attendance.
In 1971 the body of believers recognized the changing role of the church and added a large fellowship hall, a new kitchen and classrooms. Over the next several years the congregation continued to grow.
In 1997 the congregation saw a dream come true, a Family Life Center. The building opened new venues for fellowship and outreach. Plays could be presented, large dinners could be served, sports could be played and the Gospel story would be woven throughout.
In 2003 the church purchased an adjoining property, which included a house. Today that house is the Teen House and the yard is a playground for the younger children.
Over the past 175 years the mission of the Church as set forth in Matt. 28, verses 19-20, has never changed: “So wherever you go, make disciples of all nations: Baptize them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Teach them to do everything I have commanded you. And remember that I am always with you until the end of time.”