Riverchase church to celebrate 25th anniversary

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 2, 2004

Christians began meeting at the church of Christ in Riverchase Nov. 4, 1979 – 25 years ago Thursday.

Riverchase members will celebrate that anniversary this Sunday, Nov. 7 with a combined service at 10:30 a.m. Speaker will be E.R. Brannan, involvement minister at the Madison Church of Christ in Madison, Ala.

The church met for the first time as an outreach effort of the Central Church of Christ in downtown Birmingham.

Recognizing the movement toward growth in the North Shelby County area, members of the Central church helped to secure land and a building along Highway 31 in Riverchase.

According to Johnny Hobbie, one of the ministers at the church, 226 attended that first meeting.

&uot;Many of their (the Central church) members came to help begin Riverchase when they saw the opportunity for growth in the Hoover/North Shelby County area,&uot; he said.

Since that time, Riverchase membership has increased to some 330 families with an average attendance of 625.

With the ever-increasing attendance, the membership converted to two services on Sunday mornings, one at 8 a.m. and another, identical service, at 10:30 a.m.

Also since that time, facilities at RCOC have undergone considerable changes.

Hobbie said there have been several building expansion projects through the years including an education wing expansion, construction of a new auditorium and a parking lot expansion.

In fact, the original meeting area for church members in 1979 is now used by members as a gymnasium.

Current elders at the church have recently authorized a $4.5 million expansion to begin in the next month.

This expansion will feature additional classrooms for adults and children, additional office space and meeting rooms, a children’s library to complement the adult library and further expansion of the parking lot.

Hobbie, who works alongside minister Dewayne Spivey, said Riverchase offers a number of programs to meet its ever-increasing membership.

&uot;Riverchase members are involved in efforts to help others in our community,&uot; he said.

&uot;Our children’s ministry worked at Childhaven, a foster care facility in Cullman, earlier this year. Our teens have painted dozens of homes in Jefferson and Shelby counties, and more than 100 people will help deliver Thanksgiving groceries this weekend as part of our United Neighbors Food Drive.&uot;

In addition, there are programs for seniors, affectionately referred to as the Live Wires, singles and young professionals.

And there are always events planned for the youth, which number 220 children and teenagers, Hobbie said.

A few of those programs include a Sunday night Adventure Club, a worship program especially for 2-year-olds through second graders; the Molder of Dreams Banquet in which first through fourth graders invite their schoolteachers for a special honorary banquet; and care package preparation for Owens House and Rainbow Omega.

&uot;Riverchase teens have begun our fourth year helping at South Haven Nursing Home. We have painted numerous homes as part of our United Neighbors outreach,&uot; Hobbie said.

In addition, he said, teens develop leadership skills during Leadership Training for Christ and Teen Leadership University.

Following the growth of the church has been the growth of the members’ ability to aid in mission efforts in the United States and around the world.

RCOC also sponsors mission efforts in Africa, Brazil, Guatemala and Scotland with mission trips by members to Guatemala, Scotland, Texas and Wisconsin.

Riverchase is led by six elders, Don Bowen, Don Genry, Grover Jackson, Ron Jackson, Tim Parker and Ron Steen, along with 19 deacons.

Service times at the church include 8 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. worship on Sunday; 9:30 a.m. Bible study on Sunday; 10:30 a.m. ladies Bible class on Tuesday; and 7 p.m. Bible study on Wednesday