75 years of ministry growth

Chelsea Church of God members mark their ministry’s history through the moves it’s made. Members have worshipped in bush arbors and inside a garage since the church organized in 1934 with 26 members.

The Chelsea Church of God recently celebrated 75 years of ministry with 170 people present for a morning concert and dinner in their fellowship hall. According to the recollections of early church member Eunice Turner, their first services were held in the Chelsea school.

Rev. Frank Johnson and his wife Emmie –– well-known radio evangelists of the time ––held revival services in the school house around 1933.

“The church evolved from those,” Emmie Johnson said.

Stories passed down from early members say even before that time some of the people were meeting in bush arbors.

It was after complaints about services in the schoolhouse being too loud, that the congregation moved to Erwin Crane’s garage. Then in 1935 the congregation constructed a building of their own on land donated by members of the Chesser family.

Dewey Bradley and Rev. Oliver Kendrick blasted out rock to start the foundation. George Weldon, who owned a sawmill, donated materials for the building.

Through the years, renovations and additions were made to that little, white church building. In the 1970s it was bricked. Finally, in the spring of 2007, the congregation moved into their present building located at 2020 Highway 39 in Chelsea.

A 20 by 30 collage, displayed in the church entrance hall, depicts the congregation’s moves and growth with pictures of its various church buildings.

Background for the church photos is a picture of the faux stained-glass window in their old building. Graphic artist Kelley Brasher, wife of Todd Brasher, descendant of church founders and early pastor Oliver Kendrick, copied pictures of the old buildings and put the collage together.

Pastor Mike Kiker asked her to make the poster, Brasher said, and she was glad to do it.

“God gave me creative abilities, so I like to use them for His glory whenever I have the opportunity,” she said.

Shelba Nivens can be reached by e–mail at ssnivens@bellsouth.net.