One of the oldest churches in Adams County will be celebrating its 200th anniversary at the end of the month.
The Countryside Church of Christ will be hosting a celebration Friday through Sunday, August 29 - 31, 2014, bringing back previous ministers from its history for services, including Walt Chamberlain, Larry Pierson, Bob Stevens, and Kevin Ziegler. The Countryside Church of Christ has had more than 50 ministers serve over their 200 year history.
A picnic will be held on Saturday at Rich and Jane Hughe’s home starting at noon, and a carry-in with meat provided will be held on Sunday afternoon. Evening services on Friday and Saturday will be held at 7 p.m. and Sunday morning service is at 10:30 and Sunday evening is at 7 p.m.
Countryside Church of Christ was established in 1814 in Point Pleasant with Ralph Peterson Sr. organizing the church community that formed. The church developed out of the Restoration Movement that was started by Barton Stone in 1804. In 1801, Stone had been one of the ministers at a massive revival held at Cane Ridge in Bourbon, Ky. which had over 20,000 attendees. Many of the founders of the church moved to Point Pleasant from Bourbon, Ky. and were influenced by Stone’s teachings.
Point Pleasant was renamed Newport, and, because the similar name was confusing mail heading to Newport, Ky., was renamed again to Lawshe. The first church building was a log cabin constructed in 1814 under Peterson’s leadership. Peterson died of pneumonia in 1818, but the church continued on.
In the early years, “camp meetings,” where the congregants would pitch tents on the grounds of the church were an annual occurrence in September until 1832 when the practice was discontinued. 1832 was also the year that the church harmonized its teachings with that of Alexander Campbell, becoming a Church of Christ.
As the church’s numbers grew, the log cabin structure no longer sufficed and a larger church was built at the corner of the cemetery in 1848. 42 years later, the second building was no longer large enough for the congregation. A larger building was built at the edge of town, still known as Newport at the time, in 1890 at a cost of $804.
A vestibule was added to the church in 1911, and a new wing was constructed on the south side of the building. The new construction had a baptistry under the floor that was filled with rain water collected from the roof. Up until this point, all baptisms were performed in Brush Creek.
1945 and 1946 saw the construction of a basement under the rear half of the building and the south wing. Finally, in 1968 school rooms, indoor restrooms, and a new vestibule were added to the building.
When the new state Route 32 was being planned, the Lawshe Church of Christ considered moving to a new structure that was to be built at the corner of the new highway and Tater Ridge Road. However, there were concerns that exit ramps might be used for the crossings along the new highway, so the congregation decided to build on Tranquility Pike, just south of Seaman.
The new building was dedicated on August 13, 1995, and has been in continuous use ever since. Those interested in attending the anniversary services, and celebrating with the congregants are welcome.