Upon This Rock…


A History of the Judsonia church of Christ


The following is a compilation of a series of articles printed in the church bulletin each Sunday from March 10 through September 22, 1996.

The baptism of a teenager, Larrel Young, in 1907 marked the actual date of the beginning of the Judsonia church of Christ. Several families, Skidmore, Burkett, Kimbro, O’Neal, Ferguson and Barkhouser, were meeting in a berry pickers shack (strawberries and cotton were the main crops then) on the southwest corner of the Clarence E. Skidmore place, one mile north on Highway 157, also known as "Four-Way Corner."

During berry season they met in the Skidmore home. Noah Young led the singing and taught a Bible class. Mr. and Mrs. Perry Evans were members until moving to Little Rock where they were responsible for starting two congregations. Ed Wright and Martha Barkhouser were members, but they never attended after they were married.

Larrel, oldest child of Noah and Lillian (Lilly) Young, was baptized in the summer before her 14th birthday, October 12, the day following a debate between E.M. Borden, a Church of Christ preacher, and Ben M. Bogard, a Baptist preacher, both of Little Rock. The debate was in a brush arbor on the Skidmore place. She was baptized in "Big Hole," about one-half mile north of Exit 51, by a young preacher, Thomas Jefferson Bonner, who was staying with the Youngs so he could work out in the open fields on the recommendation of his doctor. He was single at the time but later married a girl from Pleasant Plains who was picking berries here and they had three small children when he died.

Occasionally, traveling evangelists were speakers. One was Felix "Champ" Cullum, who died in 1924 in Judsonia, and a Brother Strickland, who was married and had three children. [Felix, a pioneer preacher, was an uncle of Mrs. Don (Jessie) Cullum Dumas, mother of Kate Bennett. That would make him a great uncle of Katie, great-great uncle of Emogene Miller, great-great-great uncle of Donnie and Susan Miller and great-great-great-great uncle of Matthew Miller.]

The congregation quit meeting when the Skidmore place sold November 6, 1919. The Skidmore place is now the Bauer place.

The church was inactive until 1928 when the Bethel Grove church sponsored a gospel meeting in Judsonia. H. Leo Boles, the evangelist, spoke from the front porch of the B. Latham home. He was connected with the Noah Young family by marriage.

The charter members had gone to Big Four or Bethel Grove, where Noah Young was an elder. He resigned from the office to help the Judsonia church, which had started meeting in a room in the Judsonia school.

Noah and Lillian (Lillie) Young had six children: Bertie Young Foshee, Thomas, Bethel Young Solomon, Otho, Mable Young Miller and Larrel Young, who married Newton Bridgeman in 1915. They had four children: Dorothy, Louise, James and Edsel. Other members were Alice Kimbro and her brother Ulysses O’Neal, Mrs. Martha Wright and daughters, Miss Grace Wright and Mrs. Flossie Wright Burkett, who now resides at Oakdale Nursing Home. Flossie had three children: Martha, Mary and Floyd. Mrs. Bessie McAdams, mother of Lilith Pratt and Paul McAdams and grandmother of John and Mary Pratt, Mary Spurlock and Wilda Gibson, was a member. Mrs. McAdams was a sister of Mrs. Perry (Jessie) Evans, one of the charter members. Others were Eulas Hicks, who sold glasses in Judsonia, Miss Eunice Kimbro, Mrs. Dora Burton and Mrs. Joe Roper.

In 1934 the congregation moved to the newly constructed Legion Hut.

William D. Medearis was the first Harding College student to preach in Judsonia. The first Sunday he walked the round-trip from Harding to Judsonia carrying a teacher’s lectern on his back. He didn’t have enough money to ride the bus. He was always invited to the homes of members for the noon meal. He mentioned Rundle and Kimbro families. Marlin T. and Lillie Rundle bought the Skidmore place, but they were never mentioned in any list of members. He also remembered the bus station being near the community building. He baptized James Bridgeman.

In his reply to the questionnaire sent to him, he added that he celebrated his 82nd birthday recently. The reply was dated November 22, 1995. He said he preached here from September 1936 to May 1937. His wife is Carolyn Hall Medearis and they have a daughter, Carolyn Sue Kesterson; a son, William D. Medearis II, and two grandchildren. He is retired and their address is 3503 Vicksburg Drive, Birmingham, AL 35213-1756.

His closing paragraph:

"May God bless you richly in all you do for truth and righteousness. Let each of us in the Kingdom strive diligently to reach that ‘city whose builder and maker is God.’ Yours because of Calvary, William D. Medearis"

I may frame that last paragraph, but I know it will be "Among My Souvenirs."

he church continued meeting in the Legion Hut until it was destroyed by fire July 6, 1937. The next meeting place was the W.H. Davidson house, corner of Adams and Jackson streets, where the old Powell Funeral Home now stands.

The house had been renovated to accommodate Miss Minnie White’s Millinery Shop. They used that part for services and hired the second full-time preacher, Lowell B. Davis. He had served as a missionary in China and was attending Harding College. Lowell and his wife Odessa lived in the back rooms of the house.

J.N. Armstrong, first president of Harding, was the evangelist in a gospel meeting while the church was meeting there. Jack Wood Sears, who has been associated with Harding most of his life as a student or teacher, remembers accompanying his grandfather to some of the services.

The church bought the Davidson house February 23, 1938, securing a loan of $400 from Searcy Federal Savings and Loan Association. The second loan in the amount of $400 was held by W.H. Davidson. Lowell and Odessa signed the deed, which carried the following restrictive clauses: No instruments be used in worship, no use of societies for the work of the church and adherence to the New Testament in all forms of worship. A.P. Strother Jr. was the Notary Public, O.L. Fisher, Clerk Executive Officio, and Forrest Waller, Deputy Clerk.

Lowell continued his work in Judsonia until the spring of 1939. Lowell B. Davis and Odessa White were married December 17, 1934, in Canton, China. They have three children: Avonell Unger, Cline and Anselm Davis; six grandchildren, Geoffrey and Hether Hiten, Heath and Jared Davis, Shawn and Stephen Davis, and one great grandchild, Zachary Bean.

Lowell teaches a Sunday morning Bible class at Brentwood Oaks church and with Odessa works regularly with families of alcoholics and drug addicts. Odessa writes to several prisoners whose families they know. They also do a bit of gardening and freeze most of the vegetables for winter months.

At ages 85 and 84, he said, their energy is fading but they hope to make one more trip to Harding before it runs out. If they do, he said they will come to see me. That will be a pleasant surprise. Their address is 14100 Lazy Ridge Drive, Pflugerville, Texas 78660.

he church bought the North Methodist building October 15, 1942, after the North and South Methodists merged and the members agreed to meet in the South Methodist church building.

Trusteeds deed, Book 165, page 545, states that "we, John A. Henson, Mrs. E.P. Gaines, J.H. Roth, W.B. Chastain, and E.W. Pratt as trustees of the Methodist church of Judsonia, White County, Arkansas, for and in consideration of the sum of one thousand dollars, to us in hand paid by the church of Christ, Judsonia, Arkansas, the receipt of which is acknowledged, it being understood that if and when a dispute shall arise concerning this property, said property shall belong to the church or, persons or parties adhering most closely to the New Testament form of work and worship, as we, the church of Christ, understand it at this time, that no use of instruments in the worship, nor use of societies for the work of the church, and the adherence to the New Testament in all forms of worship.

The deed gives the description of the land. P.E. Bauer was the Notary Public, Forrest Waller, Circuit Clerk and Recorder, and C.C. Spradlin, Deputy Clerk.

F.W. Mattox was the preacher in the early ‘40s. He taught Bible and was Dean of Students from 1942 to 1956 at Harding and was president of Lubbock Christian University from 1956 until his retirement in 1974.

Mattox was married to the former Mildred Formby for 59 years. They had one son, Dr. W.J. Mattox of Searcy, a daughter, Mrs. Rees (Patti) Bryant of Lincoln, Illinois, nine grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren. After the death of his wife, he married Rheba Berryhill and they reside at 5 Harding Drive in Searcy.

John Lee Dykes, math and Bible teacher at Harding College, followed F.W. Mattox and filled in when a preacher was needed for many years after he had served full time.

Harding’s influence caused church of Christ congregations to spring up all over the county, in small towns and communities, some where there was only one store, which also housed the post office. They could get students to preach for a good meal, a small fee and good speaking experience.

Attendance at Judsonia had increased to an average of around 60.

Nedom (Need) and Emma Waller had retired and moved from Clearwater to a house at the end of the street where the Davidson house was located. Wayne Edwards lives there now.

The Waller families attending were: Will, his wife Ora and children Bessie and Billy; Mrs. O.C. (Ava) and children Mildred, Mona and James; Mrs. Roy (Betty), whose daughter Geneva Boyce is the only member of the whole Waller family still attending; Mrs. Dewey (Ruth) Hearn and children James Lewis, Marguerite, Bobby, Linda, Carol and Harold; Mrs. John (Rosabell) Yingling and daughters Ruby, LaVerne and Edith Carter, the only member of the Yingling family still attending. Ruby is in Byrd Haven Nursing Home and is always on the prayer list; Robertson family: J.W. (Bill) and Mattie, Billy, Katy Pankey and Helen Bauer, here but dull of hearing. Ethel Davis, Bertha Malone and Mattie Rogers; Mrs. Ora (Leona) Donnell and son Gene; Mrs. Will (Georgia) Leasure and Mrs. Mary Jane Helton

Thomas Young had replaced his dad as song leader and his wife Dewey taught a class. All of the Youngs, children and grandchildren, are known for their singing ability.

John Lee officiated at the wedding of Ed Miller and Emogene Hubach January 28, 1946, at his home in Searcy. He had been preacher at Bethel Grove, where they attended, before working with the Judsonia church.

He married Gertrude Wilks and they had two children, Norman, who is now an M.D. in Lafayette, Louisiana, and has two children, Kevin and Lisa, and Latina Dykes, secretary to Lott R. Tucker Jr., Vice President for Finance at Harding.

The Dykes came to Searcy from Goodwell, Oklahoma, where he taught math, was athletic director and had charge of the book store at Pan Handle A&M College. He began his career at Harding in 1938 and continued until his retirement in 1977. He died in 1989.

Gertrude and Latina reside at 13 Magnolia Drive in Searcy.

Hugh Harvey Rhodes, youngest of the eight children of H.H. and Mary Roberts Rhodes, of Fredrick, Oklahoma, followed John Lee as evangelist at the Judsonia church. He taught Bible, physical education and was the coach at Harding College. Hugh and his brother Jess, a math teacher at Harding, married sisters Norma Ruth and Pauline Moser. Jess preached at Judsonia occasionally.

Hugh went to Texas in 1957 where he taught physical education at Lubbock Christian College. He and Norma had three children, Hugh Harvey (Harve) Jr., John and Charles, who was killed at age 12 when he fell from the back of a pickup truck. They have three grandchildren, Shelly, Bryan and Anna.

Hugh, Jess and their only sister, Elizabeth, all graduated from Harding. Hugh came to Searcy in August 1996 because of the death of his brother Greg Rhodes, age 87. He gave the eulogy at funeral services commending his brother on his character and service to the church and community. Greg’s wife Cleo still lives in Searcy.

Hugh is retired and the Rhodes attend services at Green Lawn church of Christ, where he serves as an elder, teaches a Bible class and does personal work. Norma enhances the singing with her beautiful alto voice. Their address is 5519 26th Street, Lubbock, Texas 79407.

Dr. George S. Benson, second president of Harding College, was the speaker in a gospel meeting during Hugh’s service here. His oft-used illustration paralleling a $20 bill to baptism was very effective. The bill: the real thing, just as good or counterfeit; baptism by immersion: most agrees is correct, but some say sprinkling is just as good and some say it is not necessary. This is really a shortened version. Dr. Benson was a fine speaker. He died in December 1991 after a battle with cancer.

William Neal (Bill) Fryer began his work here in May 1946 and continued through May 1948. Students from Harding began working with the church as teachers, including Jule and Judy Miller. Dale Jorgensen assisted in leading the singing. Bill’s wife Dorothy also taught a class.

John and Geraldine Pratt were baptized in the summer of 1946 during a gospel meeting. Carl Spain, fine preacher and dynamic speaker, was the evangelist. They were baptized in the Harding pool because there was no baptistry in the Judsonia building. Huge crowds attended the services, filling all the pews and the balcony. The balcony and classrooms wee in the front of the building, facing south, and the rostrum was at the north end.

The first Vacation Bible School was held during his tenure here.

Bill Fryer was a big man in stature and mind. His 1995 curriculum vitae contains six typewritten pages. The 1948 Harding graduate received the M.A. and Ed. D from Columbia Teachers College in New York. He has held numerous positions at Abilene Christian University; served as chairman or president of many boards, associations and committees; listed in nine Who’s Who editions, including Who’s Who In America.

In the early ‘40s he served 3˝ years in the United States Air Force, where he advanced to the rank of captain. Also active in civic work, he was presented the Lowell G. Perry Award by the Kiwanis Club of Greater Abilene for service in Kiwanis and awarded life membership in Abilene Psychological Association in 1992. He retired September 1, 1985, from the position as Chief of Psychological Services at Abilene State School. Dorothy retired in 1980 from 22 years of service as a bookkeeping machine operator and IBM keypunch operator at Abilene Christian University.

Bill and Dorothy serve as volunteers for Freedom in Christ Prison Ministry and Christ’s Prison Fellowship and they are members of University church of Christ in Abilene.

Bill purchased, installed and operated amateur radio station K5AZP/Portable 5 for the missionary program of University church of Christ from 1988 until the present.

They are the parents of two daughters, Bonnie Jean Ratliff and Debra Lynn Glover, and they have one granddaughter and three grandsons. Their address is 833 East North 10th Street, Abilene, Texas 79601-4628.

Jule Miller continued working with the congregation, adding full-time preacher to teaching a class. He worked part of 1948 and until graduation from Harding June 2, 1949, when he received the Bachelor of Arts degree. Dr. James D. Bales gave the invocation at Commencement exercises, Dr. George S. Benson, president of Harding, introduced the speaker, Dean L.C. Searc presented awards, G.L. Ganus, remarks, and Hugh Rhodes gave the benediction. Others were on the program, but the ones listed have held meetings here or filled in over the years when a preacher was needed.

Jule now owns Gospel Services, Inc., and produces audiovisual masterial such as filmstrips, slides and videos for the church. His "Jule Miller Filmstrips," as they are called, were released in 1956 and over 70,000 sets have been distributed worldwide.

Jule and Judy have conducted over 300 Soul Winning Workshops in all of the United States and Jule, a master magician, includes his art in the 30-minute program. He has written two books on magic, using tricks to teach Bible lessons. Judy has written 13 inspirational books for women.

They have 10 children and 24 grandchildren. A son, Todd, and his wife, Joy, live in Searcy. Jule and Judy reside in Houston, Texas. The Gospel Service address is P.O. Box 262302, Houston 77207.

Jack Wood Sears, biology and Bible teacher at Harding, followed Jule Miller beginning in the summer of 1949 and continuing until the fall of 1950. Guthrie Dean, a 1948 graduate of Harding, was the evangelist in the 1949 fall meeting. Huge crowds attended each night during the two-week series. The pews and balcony were full, chairs were brought in and people sat on the podium.

Dr. Sears’ mother, Pattiway (Patti) Sears, was the daughter of J.N. Armstrong, first president of Harding, and his father was Dean L.C. Sears. Three generations have preached at Judsonia.

Dr. Sears retired after teaching 41 years at Harding and five years at Columbia Christian College in Portland, Oregon. Jack Wood and Mattie Sue Sears have a son, David; two daughters, Martha Ann Sears Collins and Patti Sue Sears, and six grandchildren. The Sears attend services at Downtown church of Christ, where he teaches a Sunday morning Bible class. Their address is 920 East Race Avenue in Searcy.

Guthrie became the preacher at Judsonia in the fall of 1950 after he was awarded the Master’s degree at Sul Ross College in Alpine, Texas.

The membership increased from around 60 to over 100 during his first year. The building was remodeled outside and classrooms and a baptistry were added.

The church was set in order with elders and deacons. Lloyd Maness served as an elder until he moved to Michigan. His wife Lola still attends services here when she visits her relatives. Lloyd and Lola raised two nieces, Jean Rae and Shirlene Gower.

Other elders were Paul Ghray, J.W. (Bill) Robertson and O.B. Williams. Deacons were Neil Miller, Roy McAdams, R.T. (Bob) Pankey and James Wiggs.

Guthrie was absent from the church for six weeks each summer to hold meetings. Joe Hazelbaker, a Harding student, filled in for him the first summer. His opening remark at the first service was, "I’ll never be able to fill Brother Shoes’ Dean." A little nervous at first, but he progressively improved each Sunday and by the end of summer it was evident that he was on his way to becoming a fine preacher.

Dr. James D. Bales substituted for Guthrie the second summer.

The work was growing and at peace when the March 21, 1952, tornado completely demolished the building, along with most of the Judsonia houses and businesses.

Billy Waller, a member, and his seven-year-old daughter Jeanette were killed in the grocery store located across the street from Farmers and Merchants Bank, now First Security. His wife Muriel received broken bones and young son Michael, minor injuries. Another member, Ray Parrish, 20, was also killed.

A tent was erected before the Wednesday night services following the Friday storm. The tent was also used to distribute food, clothing and other items needed by the storm victims.

Mennonites had come to Judsonia to help in the cleanup work. They stood outside the tent at each Wednesday night service. They were always invited in, but they politely refused.

The new building was finished by the end of summer. Woodrow Joyner was the contractor and church members did a lot of the work. Bobby Hearn, age 16, built the pulpit and Communion table with the help of his Aunt Betty Waller, who carved the words "THIS DO IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME."

The membership increased to over 200 and a vacation Bible School was held at the completion of the new building with 301 enrolled.

Eugene Britnell was the evangelist in a meeting in the fall of 1952. He developed a sore throat and penicillin had helped Guthrie when he had the same malady, so he gave it to Eugene. He grew worse, so Guthrie gave him more. They soon learned that Eugene was allergic to penicillin. It almost turned out to be "Minister Murdered at Meeting." All’s well that ends well. Eugene continued after two nights (Guthrie filled in for him) and the meeting was well attended. Maybe a little out of curiosity, but more probable because Eugene is a dynamic speaker.

Eugene is the preacher at Hays Mill church of Christ in Athens, Alabama, where he owns Britnell Publications, P.O. Box 505, Athens 35611. He also conducts a radio program each Saturday at 8 a.m. over AM station KMTL, 760 on the dial in Sherwood, Arkansas.

Guthrie remembers baptizing Ora Donnell, Dewey Hearn, Paul McAdams and Woodrow Joyner. He said he couldn’t remember any more, said he just kept the number and let the Lord remember the names.

He also baptized Geneva Boyce, Linda Miller and Betty Lloyd and he officiated at the wedding of Victor Lloyd and Betty Dhoritey October 26, 1957, at his home behind First Security Bank. Attendants were James (Jimmy) Pratt and Frances Wooten.

Guthrie married Mary Muriel Larkin Waller January 8, 1953, and they had one daughter, Georgia Ann. The Deans left Judsonia in the fall of 1954 to work with the Northside church of Christ in Malvern. After one year there they moved to Ruston, Louisiana, then back to their home in Judsonia and stayed nine years with the Bald Knob church of Christ. The next move was to Franklin Road church in Nashville, Tennessee, and from there to Fort Smith as preacher of Blair Avenue church as long as his health permitted.

He has done extensive writing for several gospel papers, published a number of tracts which have received wide circulation, for one year edited and published a semi-monthly religious newspaper, "The Arkansas Christian Herald," and published a book, "Handy Bible Helps."

Guthrie has had bypass heart surgery, gall bladder surgery and a hip replacement. Muriel was bed-fast and on oxygen constantly for three years before her death, July 25, 1996.

During Guthrie’s ministry from 1944 until the present he has either baptized or assisted in baptizing 4,509 people.

Other than their daughter, Georgia Ann Rice of Fort Smith, and Muriel’s son William Michael (Mike) Waller, they have six grandchildren, Jennifer, Heather, Amanda and Michael Rice and Chris and Scott Waller and two greaty grandchildren.

Guthrie’s address is 4822 South 29th Street, Fort Smith, Arkansas, 72901.

Guthrie started the Ladies Bible Class in 1952. It met each Tuesday afternoon and he was the teacher. He composed the questions and after he left Judsonia, Billy Norris, College church preacher, wrote them. He always included a trick question. An example is, "Did Noah take fish into the Ark?"

Elmo Hall, a Harding student, preached one summer while Guthrie was holding gospel meetings and when he graduated in 1954, he started full-time work with the Judsonia church.

Elmo’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Hall, were almost as great assets as Elmo and Anita.

Elmo baptized Edith Yingling Carter.

He stayed at Judsonia a little over a year, left in the summer of 1955. He is now a teacher at Oklahoma Christian University. They have two daughters, Janet and Teresa and one grandchild, Victoria. Their address is 1721 Kings Road, Edmond, Oklahoma 73013.

Gene A. Ellmore worked two years with the Judsonia church – from August 1954 to August 1956. He came back to the area in 1966 and worked one year in Harding’s Public Relations office.

He is presently minister at the church of Christ in Norwalk, California.

Gene and his wife Gladys Ann Claypool Ellmore have a son, Gary A. Ellmore; two daughters, Holly A. Ellmore Burkert and Wendy L. Ellmore Martin, and three grandchildren.

Their address is 15333 Pioneer Blvd., Norwalk, California 90650.

Norman Starling followed Gene beginning September 1, 1956, and remaining until December 31, 1958. He was the first preacher to occupy the house owned by the church. The land was given to the church by Mary A. Phipps. The deed, book 237, page 323 describes the dimensions of the lot and is dated November 19, 1956.

Norman’s brother, Harvey Starling, was the evangelist in a meeting while Norman was here. Harvey baptized Tammy Avery November 21, 1988, in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.

Lester and Cleffie Hicks Burford, both Judsonia natives who lived in Bald Knob, began attending services here. Lester led the singing on Wednesday nights. Cleffie is the daughter of one of the charter members, Eulas Hicks, a photographer in Judsonia. Her brother Alan Hicks lives in Searcy. Lester died in 1992 and Cleffie lives at 541 North Main, Watervliet, Michigan 49098.

Norman is an International Evangelist and rturned August 22, 1995, from mission work in Romania. Norman and his wife Betty have one daughter, Angela, and they attend services at University church of Christ, where Norman is an elder.

Mona Barnes thought Norman, assisted by Billy Norris, baptized her dad, O.C. Waller, but Guerry Moorer convinced her it was Harvey Arnold, Bald Knob preacher, and Billy Norris. He is probably correct because the dates of Norman’s stay here and the baptism do not agree. O.C. was in Porter R. Rodgers Hospital on Woodruff Avenue. He was taken on the only elevator to the therapy room and baptized in a huge bath tub. He did not leave the hospital after that because he lost his battle to leukemia March 4, 1955.

Roy was the last of the Waller brothers to be baptized in 1956 by Rue Porter. His 96th birthday, March 10, was noted in the February 26, 1989, bulletin. Roy died December 29, 1990. Will, a brother of Roy and O.C., had been a member for a long time.

Bernard (Boo) Waites, a 1959 graduate of Harding, started preaching at Judsonia the first Sunday in March, 1959, and left the last Sunday in January, 1962. During his stay here the church suffered its first split. The elders were dismissed and the deacons resigned. Some of the members went to Bald Knob, where they still attend, and some went to Bethel Grove.

Boo has been in Woodville, Mississippi, since leaving Judsonia. He preaches for two congregations, one known as Perrytown and the other Corinth. They are the only congregations of the church of Christ in Wilkinson County, Mississippi. He also teaches Social Studies at the local private school and drives a school bus.

Boo and Silvia have three children, Lourelia, La Donna and Van. Lourelia is a graduate of Harding and is married to Roger Colvin. Roger and Lourelia were great assets to the church while they were attending Harding. Rogers conducted a very successful Vacation Bible School one summer. They have two children, Jonathan, 9, an d Beth Ann, 7. La Donna is a graduate of Mississippi University for women. She is employed as a paralegal with the law firm of McCoy and Wilkins in Jackson. Van is working for Leggett Heating and Air Conditioning in Clinton. He married Chrystal Knouse September 23, 19195. All the children live in Clinton, which is "just across the street" from Jackson. During the late ‘60s Boo served eight years as superintendent in Wilkinson County, Mississippi, an elected office.

He has held meetings in California, Louisiana, St. Vincent Island in the Caribbean Islands and Poona, India. Boo baptized Van and Wilda Gibson.

Silvia is the daughter of Eldon and Maxine Hager, who attended services here for many years when they lived in Kensett. Maxine died in 1996 and her funeral was held in Searcy. The Hagers had moved to Woodville because of her health. The Waites’ address is 1409 Buffalo Road, Woodville, Mississippi 39666.

John Simpson began preaching at Judsonia in June 1962 and left in June 1965. He received the BA degree from Harding University, the MA from Harding University Graduate School of Religion, the Master of Divinity from Memphis Theological Seminary and the Doctor of Ministry from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He preached in Arkansas for 15 years, in Memphis 20 years, served as pulpit minister for East Frayser Church 13 years and Park Avenue Church 3 years. He began full-time evangelism and Family Enrichment Seminars January 1, 1988, with the Raleigh church of Memphis as his home congregation.

He is a past vice-president and president of Harding University Graduate School of Religion Alumni Association, where he was 1979 "Alumnus of the Year" and adjunct instructor of Ministry from 1982-1987. He was coordinator and instructor in Freed-Hardeman University Memphis Extension Studies from 1977-1981; has been a member of the Advisory Board of Harding Academy of Memphis from 1973 until the present; was a member of the Board of Trustees – Zambia Christian Schools from 1972 to 1987. He represented churches of Christ in the Mid-South as a regular panel member each Sunday morning on "What is your Faith?" on WREG-TV in Memphis from 1976 to 1992. He received his Certified Counselor/Family Therapist Certificate from the American College of Counselors. He was made a Certified Counselor and Family Therapist by the American College of Counselors.

John and his wife Dorothy have three daughters, Anita Gilbow, Janell McCorkle and Carolyn Simpson, and seven grandchildren. John and Dorothy live at 4073 Stillwood Drive, Memphis, Tennessee 38128.

Reggie Nalls came to Judsonia in 1965. In his first sermon, he said if the attendance did not double in one year he would leave. It didn’t – he did. He had accomplished one huge feat – memorizing the New Testament. He also told the audience that he and his wife Elwanda (Teddy) had been married only one year and had five children. They lost their first mates – hers to a cerebral hemorrhage and his to multiple sclerosis. Her children are Reginald and Blane and his are Debbie, Darlene and little Reggie. After they left here they had one son, Timothy.

Reggie came back to Judsonia for one event, a meeting at the Highway church of Christ. He baptized Mary Poe and officiated at her marriage to Robyn Roach May 12, 1966. They named their first child Reginald, after him. Attendants at the wedding were Brenda Bennett and Rickie Roach.

He preached for churches at Harrison, where with Ted Fowler started a preaching training school; Little Rock and Benton before moving to Bryant.

J.D. and Betty Treat and children Karen, Rickey and Michael attended services at Northside church in Benton while he was there. J.D. served as a deacon. They moved to Judsonia about 10 years ago and attend services at the Judsonia church.

Reggie and Teddy have been divorced for several years and about three years ago he suffered a massive stroke.

Roy Henderson followed Reggie. He stayed from September 1966 to January 1968. He was a blackboard artist. Each Sunday morning the congregation was treated to a beautiful picture depicting the theme of his sermon.

His wife Mable is a Bible scholar and generously shares her knowledge. She has taught a ladies class everywhere they have lived and while here taught the Tuesday morning Ladies Bible Class.

Roy started preaching in 1941. They lived in England and he preached for churches in surrounding areas. He also worked with congregations in Oklahoma, Louisiana and Texas before moving back to Arkansas, where his last church was at Bethesda, near Batesville.

He was born in Morgantown in Van Buren. He retired February 9, 1983, and they moved back to Judsonia but his was a short stay. He died of a stroke March 17.

Six children were born to Roy and Mable: Roy, Gene, Anna Lois Farras, Patsy Doyle, June McAnelly, Billy and Danny. The family has grown to 15 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Mable now resides in Murfreesboro.

Before coming to Judsonia in April 1968, Joe R. Risener had left full-time preaching and was working as Executive Director of Public Housing in Russellville. His call to preach at Judsonia was a reintroduction to full-time preaching.

In addition to being a fine preacher, he was also a people person, as was his wife Helen. She was killed in a traffic accident in Gulfport, Mississippi, in July 1983. They had been married 18 years and had three children: Alan of Searcy, Matthew and Juli (now Mrs. Philip Morgan) of Paragould and five grandchildren. Joe is now retired and with his second wife, Georgia, resides in Paragould.

.D. "Herb" Lee came to Judsonia August 17, 1969, and stayed until August 1971. He is now minister at Four-Mile Hill church of Christ and assistant superintendent at Riverview School.

Herb and his wife June have three children, Debra Rene Mills, John Paul and Justin Lee, and seven grandchildren. Their address is 2 White Oak Circle, Searcy.

Leon Jones is almost a non-entity except he set a record in longevity. Five months was the length of his stay here, from September 1971 to February 1972. He liked popcorn and enjoys playing the guitar. His wife’s name is Dolly and their children are Cheryl, Barry, Kenny and Melinda.

Jill Wheeler came to Judsonia in July over two decades ago, and he’s back again in this year’s first July bulletin. About a year after he came here the attendance of around 200 began to increase and he started stressing the need for elders and deacons, but it was very much later when Tommy W. Goslin and Eldon Hager were selected.

The installation was conducted during worship service November 3, 1974. After brief remarks by Bill Wheeler, prayer led by Walt Porter, "Elder Responsibility to Membership" was given by Eldon followed by prayer by Donnie Miller. Tommy closed the service with "Our Plans for the Future." Soon after the beginning of 975, deacons Paul Gray, Wayne Bolding, Walter I. Porter, Jerry Ranes, Bobby Roach and Dr. Sid Tate were installed.

After three years of hard labor by the minister and members, the church was set in order with proper leadership. The bump up in attendance to 250 caused church officials to act on a suggestion by Herb Lee to construct a larger building. The lot was purchased from Lynn and Verla Davis August 9, 1974. The description of the lot can be found at the White County Courthouse in book 283, page 329.

The house located on the lot was bought by Louis and Ruth Harris and moved to 204 Hamilton Street. Ruth, Baldwin Memorial Librarian, still lives there. Louis died December 8, 1988. Members of the building committee were Ed Miller, John Pratt, Earl Taylor, Kenneth Wheetley and Wayne Bolding.

The architect was from the firm of Fletcher, Miller, Dean and Associates of Little Rock and the contractor was R and W Construction Company of North Little Rock. And so the work began.

The old structure was converted to an educational building and the new brown brick traditional style facility with a seating capacity of 500 was ready for occupancy.

The dedication date was set to invite members, relatives and friends to view the décor with interior walls of brick, complemented with birch paneling and eggshell sheet rock, a ceiling of laminated, exposed beams and carpeting of burnt orange stripe with matching orange tweed coverings on the mahogany pews. The service was held June 17, 1975. Bill Wheeler gave the welcome address and former ministers Herb Lee and John Simpson were speakers. Dr. Sid Tate led the congregational singing. The event marked very few times the building was filled to capacity.

A few months later the members were saddened by Bill’s resignation. He preached his farewell sermon January 4, 1976.

1972-1976 – Those were very good years.

Bill went to Missouri Street church of Christ in West Memphis where he has been for the past 20 years. His zeal for church growth has not diminished. Over the years the attendance has increased to the extent that larger structures have been built two times to accommodate the new members.

Bill and Carolyn came back to Judsonia January 28 to attend the golden wedding anniversary of Ed and Emogene Miller. He has also held gospel meetings here in the past. He worked very hard to get a no-gambling act on the ballot.

Bill and Carolyn have three daughters, Lorri Elizabeth (Mrs. Mark Petty), a Nationwide Insurance Agent and the mother of their first granddaughter, Alexandra, born September 1, 1995; Leslie Carol (Mrs. Bert Mosley), a second-grade teacher at West Memphis Christian School, mother of their first grandson, Wheeler Dillon, age 4; and Leigh Anne Wheeler, a travel agent and manager of Elite Travel in West Memphis. Bill’s address is 1600 North Missouri, P.O. Box 262, West Memphis, AR 72303.

Fanny Hall graduated from Freed-Hardeman University in May 1976 and came to Judsonia to begin his first full-time work. He left in February 1979. At Freed-Hardeman he served as class president of the Student Body, was selected as Mr. FHU and was listed in Who’s Who.

Today he is known as "Mr. Smile." He is president of the company which stands for Success Motivation inb Life Enrichment. He works as a free-lance professional speaker and workshop leader. He also served as a consultant to the State of Tennessee.

He has developed a number of workshops which include topics such as Success Inside Out, Award-Winning Customer Service, Time Change and Stress Management, Creative Thinking, and YOUth Can Be Successful.

He and his wife Karen (Kerri) Regina Kinkaid Hall have two sons, Jared Daniel and Mark Cameron. Their address is P.O. Box 148427, Nashville, Tennessee 37214

Avalon Malone is one of my favorites, not only as a preacher, but he helped me at the [Searcy Daily Citizen], with articles for the church page and also with the "Around the Town" column. He worked at Judsonia from June 24, 1979, until November 2, 1980. Trouble had been brewing in the church and the sad part of his stay was the major split when half of the congregation left, including deacons Paul Gray and Walt Porter. Later, two deacons, Wayne Dawson and Wayne Bolding, joined the group.

Avon was born in Dallas, where he attended public school. During that time and while he was a student at Abilene Christian University, he drew sports cartoons for the Dallas Times Herald and the Fort Worth Press. While at ACU he won the "Cox Extempore Speech Contest" and was selected among the Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities. He has both the BA and MA degrees from ACU.

He has done local preaching in Colorado, Texas, Illinois and Arkansas, including West Side in Searcy. He presently preaches for the Wilshire congregation in Oklahoma City, having completed nine years last November. He taught for 11 years on the Harding University Bible faculty before joining the Bible faculty at Oklahoma Christian in 1985.

He speaks widely on college campuses, in gospel meetings and in lectureships. He is the author of four tracts: "Pardon Refused," "The Misunderstood Church," "The Royal Priesthood" and "Merge for Missions." He has videotaped lessons on Philippians, Ephesians, the Timothy-Titus letters, the Thessalonian letters and 12 evangelistic lessons which have been produced by Video Services of West Monroe, Louisiana, (now distributed by Jule Miller).

Avon has been listed in Who’s Who in the South and Southwest and with his brother David co-authored the book "Draw to Christ," which portrays the work of his father, Joe Malone. He is married to the former Mary Ann Hart and they are the parents of two daughters, Glenda and Lavon, and one son, Nathan. His address is OCUSA, Box 11000, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73136-1100.

Irvin Jackson, a native of the Providence community, was the minister at the Judsonia church from December 1980 to July 1982. His pleasant delivery resulted from his beautiful singing voice, which he inherited from his dad, Abner Jackson. Abner had been one of the best bass voices in the whole county and his wife, Wanda Yingling Jackson, will agree. Abner died several years ago but Wanda still lives near Providence and attends services at Bethel Grove.

Irvin leads singing at Boldingville church of Christ and shares preaching duties with Carl Clem of Bradford and Wilburn Rainey of Searcy.

Irvin and his wife Sharon have two daughters, Jennifer (Mrs. Steve Yingling) and Angela, co-valedictorian of the 1995 White County Central graduating class. She married Cole Stewart of the Bethel Grove community in May. She has completed her freshman year at Harding and with her husband plans to enroll at Harding University this fall. Irvin and Sharon have one granddaughter, Monica Yingling.

Irvin is employed by the Bug Man, Inc., of Searcy. Their address is 1708 Forey Street in Judsonia.

Theodore M. (Ted) Fowler started preaching at Judsonia in August 1982 and left in November 1986. He was described by one person as "the man who preaches out of his head." He never used notes. He might quote from Isaiah and turn toward Revelation.

Jeff Taylor was youth director and preaches when Ted was absent. Tommy Goslin had resigned as elder and Paul Miller and Ted served with Eldon Hager. Deacons were Wayne Dawson, Gene Donnell, Donnie Miller, Wayne Stephenson and Bob Wright. Gene also led the singing.

Wayne Dawson and Wayne Stephenson joined the group that left earlier. Donnie Miller moved to Searcy and with wife Leah and son Matthew attends services at the Downtown church of Christ.

Ted was born at Cord, Arkansas, to Theodore and Prudence Fowler. He married Thelma Carey, the daughter of Fred and Geneva Carey of Manila. Ted and Thelma have three children, Ted Jr., Timothy and Terry, three grandsons and two granddaughters. Ted preached at Rose City church of Christ until his retirement in 1995.

After Ted left, the third split came – which almost wiped the church out. Victor Lloyd was filling in until the church could get a full-time preacher. He was a favorite in churches all over the county and was called on to speak at more funerals than any other preacher in the area.

A native of Johannesburg, South Africa, he married the former Betty Dhoritey on October 26, 1957. They had two daughters, Vicki (Mrs. Tim Copper) and Renee (Mrs. Greg Drewery), and two grandsons, Gregory Drewery and Blake Cooper.

Victor received the Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in English and a minor in Bible at Harding in 1956. He taught in Elkins, Tuckerman and Gosnell before moving to Judsonia in 1974, where he taught English, Speech and Drama until suffering a heart attack in 1982. He continued to preach at Judsonia and Pleasant Plains.

Victor dies January 19, 1995, at his home in Judsonia – and we all grieved.

Then the Martins came to Judsonia in 1987, it was like a breath of spring. Attendance and morale were at a record low. Norman Martin is a five-talent man and he didn’t bury even one.

He could have chosen a career in sports. A forward in basketball, he was named to the All-State team while playing in Foyil, Oklahoma, High School and played first base and right field for the Texaco Minor League Baseball team in Chelsea.

His knowledge in farming enables him to teach backyard gardening and perennial flower and shrub production which he does every spring.

A prolific writer, his publications include Spiritual Relations of Christians, Elders, Preachers and Teachers, Backyard Gardening Handbook, two down-to-earth non-fictional novels, "Upon Dog Creek" and "Upon the Buffalo." He also writes articles for newspapers.

His first choice in a vocation was preaching, which he has done full or part-time most of his life. He taught at Dardanelle Vo-Tech School from 1949-1953 and was district sales manager for General Mills. He delivered his first sermon in 1944 in New London, Connecticut, and has preached and held meetings in many churches in Arkansas and Mississippi. While serving churches in the Memphis area, he attended Harding University Graduate School of Religion. He attended Harding College (now University) in the ‘70s and preached at Melbourne, Ash Flat, Elizabeth, Salem, Cherry Valley, Oliphant and Sulphur Rock. He received his degrees in Biblical Studies in 1978. The apex of his talent is teaching a Bible class, which he has done along with preaching part or full-time since he began attending here.

He served in the Navy during World War II and advanced to the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade (Lt. JG).

Katheryn, friendly, gregarious and hospitable, can feed the multitude (and often does) with food, canned or frozen, from Norman’s garden.

Gary Clayton served one year at the Judsonia church. He started October 1, 1989, and left in October 1990. His wife Minnetta taught the the Ladies Bible Class.

They have three children, Cameron, 18; Brandon, 13, and Nicholas, 12. He preached in Goodland, Kansas, for five years and now they are house parents at the Kennett, Missouri, Children’s Home. Their address is 61`3 Homecrest, Kennett, Missouri 63857.

William T. (Bill) Lambert Sr., Professor of Bible and Director of Harding School of Biblical Studies, followed Gary in the fall of 1990 and continued through May 1992.

He is married to the former Helen Carter, also a professor at Harding, and they have two sons, William T. Lambert Jr. and Carter E. Lambert, and a daughter, Joanna Lambert Berry, and eight grandchildren. Their address is 504 East Center Avenue, Searcy.

Victor Lloyd, Norman Martin and Richard McCall shared the responsibility of preaching at the Judsonia church until Mark Clairday came. Mark, one of the friendliest, most amicable, most sympathetic preachers to ever fill the pulpit here, is the son of Ellis and Lil Clairday of West Helena.

He was married to Susie Evans July 11, 1974, by Richard Kelley at the Richmond Hill church of Christ in West Helena where they were baptized March 5, 1985, by Harold Smith, elder. They are the parents of three children: Mark II, 16; Kevin, 12, and Kelli, 8.

Mark worked at Arkansas Power and Light, Richie Plant in West Helena from 1978 until the summer of 1989 when he decided he wanted to be a preacher. He attended Harding School of Biblical Studies from August 1989 until August 1991. He began his work here in July 1992 and continued until December 1994, when he changed his mind about preaching and went to work as Maintenance Technician for Yarnell Ice Cream Company in Searcy.

The whole family enjoys fishing and Mark is an avid hunter. Their address is 5232 North Vinity, Searcy, and they attend services at McRae church of Christ, where Mark teaches a teen class on Wednesday nights and has been preaching at the Sunday morning worship service since the death of the regular minister, Eugene Wilson. Norman Martin, Dave H. and David Roper have also assisted in the preaching.

David Roper is the last to resign as full-time preacher here. He’s been there, done that, even pulled a rabbit out of a hat, but he will now devote more time to his greatest talent – writing. His first mate is always nearby to encourage and help him any way she can.

He’s truly an Okie, where most of the important events in his life have occurred. He was born to Dave H. and Lillian in the Panhandle, raised in the Southwest, finished high school at Moore, where he received honors in sports, speech, music and FFA, was baptized at Lone Wolf, preached his first sermon at age 17 at Moore, where he married the former Jo Annette Tibbles June 11, 1954.

He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Abilene Christian College (now University) majoring in Bible; Practical Field and Minoring in Bible; Biblical Field. He also received the MS in Biblical and Related Studies from ACU in 1988. He has preached in meetings in many U.S. states and Canada and taught at ACU in teacher workshops and lectureships.

He spent 10 years in Sydney, Australia, where he helped set up a school of preaching and taught eight years in the Macquarie School of Preaching, directing the school on several occasions. He spent 45 days in Europe where he preached in England, Scotland, Italy and Austria.

In his writing, he is probably best known as the author of the tract "The Day Christ Came Again." Over one million copies have been printed in six languages and used as sermons by many preachers, including Eddie Cloer, who was responsible for his move to Arkansas to write for "Truth For Today." Other items published include nine books, two booklets, 22 tracts and five teaching aids.

Since joining the Harding effort, he has written a three-part series on David and an 11-part, in-depth study to be used as sermons on Acts.

A master magician, he sometimes uses his art in his ministerial work. He has also performed for civic groups, many times in Searcy, where he also teaches a writing class at Searcy Library.

David and Jo moved to Judsonia in June 1993 and he gave the Wednesday night devotional June 30. He started teaching the Wednesday night Adult Bible Class July 7, started preaching Sunday nights July 11 and Sunday mornings when Mark was gone. He began preaching full time December 18, 1994, when Mark resigned.

David and Jo have three daughters: Debbie of Dallas, a traveling book representative for a publisher of medical books; Angi, of Edmond, Oklahoma, a representative for a publisher of college textbooks, and Cindy, who with her husband Richard Honaker went to Romania in 1993 to work as missionaries. They have two children, Seth, 11, and Rachel, 4.

Glen Pace has been roasted, toasted and received many other well-deserved accolades. He’s the only preacher Perrin Jones ever wrote an editorial about and it was a nice and fitting tribute. I still have it; Glen probably does, too. Another remark made about him was, "he can say more in five minutes than most preachers in 45."

Glen may have also set a record in the length of retirement. After seven weeks of feeling like a fish out of water, he accepted the invitation to preach full time for the Judsonia church. He usually stays a long time at each church, 19 years at Downtown church of Christ in Searcy, 10 years at Magnolia, eight at Batesville, so maybe his longevity will continue here. His wife "Pete" (most people don’t know her name is Lucretia), an added asset, is glad to settle in Searcy, where she feels at home.

He was born in Grubbs, Arkansas, to Jim and Dovie Pace and was baptized in 1938 in Cache River at Grubbs by Cleo Hubbard. He was married to Lucretia Terrell April 30, 1946, at Newport by Aubrey Miller. They have two sons, David and Joey, and three grandchildren, Jason, Jonathan and Sarah.

Lucretia, daughter of Lockard and Verneal Terrell, was born in Tuckerman at the home of her grandparents, Jim and Minnie Terrell. She was baptized in 1944 by W.A. Ford, an elder at Newport, in the old Newport church of Christ building. Glen and Lucretia now reside in Searcy.