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The History Of Christian Hope Church

Christian Hope Church of Christ is the oldest Church of its faith in Washington County. Its beginning is traced back to Welch's Creek in Martin county. Going back in the records in Martin County, Welch's Creek is not found in the records dated back to 1771.

In 1850, John M. Gurganus, the founding father, donated the land for the church to be built on. The church was given the name, Long Ridge Church. The building had two aisles with a front door opening to each aisle. It was a custom for the men to sit on one side and the ladies on the other side. In 1854, the name was changed to Christian Hope. The church was forced to disband during the war, but was reorganized in 1886 with 24 members and increased to 50 within two years. Henry Smith rehabilitated them and became the first minister of the church and did so without pay.

September 14,1875, a piece of land was given to the church by John M. Gurganus, Jr. He gave the land because of his love for the cause of Christ and the church held at Christian Hope Meeting House. The deed for the land was presented to Henry S. Gurganus, Wiley Sullivan and Alfred Jackson, which were the trustees of the church at the time. The boundaries of the land were as follows: beginning at or near a pine stump and a red oak on the east side of the main road, thence with the road seventy yards to a pine stump and an oak, thence eastwardly seventy yards to a small branch, thence northwardly to the old Davis line, thence with the said Davis line to the beginning, containing one acre.

January 16, 1883, land was sold to the church for $4.00 by W. F. Morris and his wife Sarah A. Morris. The boundaries of this piece of land was as follows: Beginning at the common on the east side of the road known as Old Lob given to said church by J. M. Gurganus, thence down the road northwardly twenty-one yards to a stump, running thence eastwardly forty-four yards, running thence southwardly to the Old Lob line, thence westward to the beginning containing one fourth of an acre.

The first mention of homecoming was March of 1892. There was a convention held at the church from 1877 to 1879 on Tuesday after fourth Sunday in October. The building was old and needed a lot of repairs so it was torn down and a new on built 1897. This church building was built with one front door and one aisle and the men and women sat together. In a meeting held Saturday before first Sunday in September 1898, the church members decided all mission calls be unheeded and the funds collected be paid treasurer once a month until enough was collected to reconstruct the church building. The amount collected was $126.58 and the amount spent on the building was $130.60.

Christian Hope and its mother church had practiced foot washing. This was a practice of the church until September 9,1900. This was stopped by a sermon on John chapter 13 preached by Thomas Green.

A form letter was written for letter of dismission when a member wanted to transfer his or her membership to another church. The letter was as follows:

The Church of Christ at Christian Hope

To the Church of Christ at ___________________________

This is to certify that brother [or sister] _________________ is a member in good standing and full fellowship with this congregation. We commend ________________________ to your Christian oversight and brotherly care and trust. ___________________ may prove a useful member of your congregation, or body.

In December 1930, the property was valued at $500.00. There were 150 members at that time. A piano was purchased for $100.00 in 1937. The interior of the church was improved in 1938 and this was the first mention of homecoming, which was the first Sunday of September. A communion set was bought for the church in 1929. To improve the look of the church's exterior the church was painted in 1941 for $50.00.

Larger View

April 5, 1942, during Easter weekend, the church, which had been dedicated only 38 years before, was destroyed by fire. Flames from a forest fire that started on the west side of Long Ridge Road quickly engulfed the house of worship. Only the communion set, piano, two gas lamps, two chairs, and the pulpit were saved. Until a new building could be built, Mount Olive Free Will Baptist Church, agreed for the church to have Sunday school with them every Sunday. On first Sunday Christian Hope's minister would preach and on third Sunday Mount Olive's minister would preach. May 3, 1942, the members decided there was a need for a new church building. A building committee was selected and the members were: Leo Gardner, Hallie Browning, and Harold Harris. The style of the new building was decided and it was as following: 30 feet wide 40 feet long with two classrooms, one built on each side 15 feet by 12 ½ feet extending towards the font. The floor plan is to start 5 feet from the front and decline 12 inches, 15 feet from the back. The floor in the classrooms is to be level with rostrum floor, which is to be 15 feet by 30 feet. The opening in said rooms will be closed with sliding doors. The main auditorium will have eleven windows and a double front door. The classrooms will have three windows and one door leading outside. There will be two flues arranged in four places, two in the main auditorium and one in each classroom. The foundation will be latticework. It has not been definitely decided upon as to what will used for siding. It has been decided to use asbestos shingles for the roof. The interior of the building will be finished with wood ceiling and will be approximately eleven feet walls with thirty inch arch in top and thirty-two inch wainscoting at the bottom with the usual trimming. The interior of the classrooms will be the same as auditorium with the exception of arched ceilings. The type of windows to be used has not been decided upon as yet. Homecoming that year was held fifth Sunday at Mount Olive.

Homecoming was not held in 1943. In 1944, homecoming began to be the first Sunday in October. Three Sunday school rooms were added to the church in 1959 then the next year two restrooms were added. On April 15,1962 Christian Hope began having services two times a month for the first time in the history of the church. June 29,1963 the Roanoke District Convention was help at the church. The morning speaker was Mr. Paul Duckett and special music by the Zion's Chapel Church. It was raining so for the noon meal the convention went to the Pinetown School for a beautiful feast. After lunch they returned to the church where Mr. Glen Moran was the speaker and special music by the Poplar Chapel Church youth choir. Then on Sunday, June 30,1963, the singspiration was held at the church. The church was so full that the latecomers had to stand outside.

The church received land from Elmer and Edith Boyd February 11,1965. The land was receives by a trade of pieces of land.

A sing-a-long was set to take place the second Friday of each month starting in 1966. Also in 1966 a building fund was established and a collection be taken on fourth Sunday. Green shingles were put on the church. The heating and air conditioning unit was installed at the church in 1969. It had been at the church to only have part time service until 1971 when the church started having full time worship services. The church purchased 21 new pews in 1973 at the cost of $3,340.00. The church has new carpet put down and also purchased a new pulpit and communion set at the same time they purchased the pews.

The church purchased some more land in June 1975 from E. H. Browning and Ruth Browning.

The church started a library November 24, 1976. The librarian was Margaret Taylor.

On Easter Monday 1978, the men of Christian Hope, with the support of the women, gathered at the church with tractors, trailers, chain saws, and a willingness to work; and began cutting their own trees to build a fellowship hall. A contractor was hired to dry in the building, and the men of the church did the finish work. Because of rain on Homecoming Sunday that year, the fellowship hall was used before it was finished. It was completed in the spring of 1979. There have been many wonderful gatherings in that building since that first homecoming.

After a sizable donation by one of our members, the church began to make plans for a baptistery. Several years passed before any plans were completed. In August 1987 work began on a very important project. That project included building nine new classrooms, two new restrooms, and a complete renovation of the church building, including a handicapped ramp. In this project, the entire complex was bricked and a new roof put on. The cost of the project approached $170,000.00

On October 2,1988, the completed complex was dedicated to the glory of the Lord.

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Name Date

H. S. Gurganus 1866 ? 1902

J. L. Winfield

Thomas Green 1900, 1914 ? 1918

J. J. Walker

Charlie Lee

George Moore

John R. Smith 1905, 1908, 1909, 1911,

1912, 1921, 1926, 1927-


H. H. Ambrose 1913

C. E. Lee 1920 ? 1925

J. B. Respess 1926 ? 1930

Warren Davis 1929, 1933

(Uncle of Dennis Warren Davis)

J. F. Padgett 1931 ? 1935

D. W. Arnold 1935 ? 1939

Robert Lee 1940 ? 1949

Frank Butler 1950 ? 1951

Wilmer Chesson 1951 ? 1960

(Not ordained)

Ward Marshall Woolard 1960 ? 1964

Dallas Ayers 1964 ? 1970

William "Bill" Comer 1970 ? 1975

Daniel "Danny" Everette 1975 ? 1977

Larry Woodley 1977 ? 2004

Thanks to Teresa Beddard for gathering and writing this history.

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