The East End congregation of the Church of Christ had its humble beginning in 1938 when brothers F.M. Green, Stanley Hobbs, Lester McBride, Jim Potter, Foster Hoover, H.B. Stiles and Raymond Stiles, Sr. made the decision to hold a tent meeting in the Meadows addition on the corner of Edison and Sparta Streets. Brother W.J. McElroy was engaged to do the preaching for this evangelistic effort. The brethren were so encouraged by the number of baptisms that they decided to continue meeting at the Old Fairgrounds located on Red Road, which presently is the site of the Century plant. It was in October of that same year that plans were made to erect a building in which to worship. In 1939, the building was constructed on the site where the present East End building is located.
In 1943, the first elders and deacons were appointed. Marion Green, Rufe Higgins and Raymond Stiles, Sr. were the first elders of the congregation. Lester McBride, Stanley Hobbs, J. Edd Warren Vester Hall, Haskel Smith, Jim Malone, Woodrow Barnes, Luther Martin and Willie Hall were appointed as deacons.
It was also in 1943 that East End acquired its first preacher. Brother Albert Gonce was employed on a part time basis to preach for the congregation while he continued to pursue his teaching career at the Old Central High School.
In the succeeding years, East End had several preachers. They were Vestal Chaffin, 1947; James J. Reynolds, 1951; and Rufe Higgins, 1953. Brother Higgins continued to preach for the East End church for the next 20 years during which time he held 221 meetings in 40 different congregations, baptized 556 (335 at East End), restored 386 (206 at East End), held 625 funerals and married 440 couples.
As the years passed and the congregation grew, it became apparent that more elders and deacons were needed to help carry on the Lord's work. In 1954, Jim Malone was appointed as an elder while Charlie Jones and Vester Hall were selected as deacons. In 1960, Richard Davenport, now deceased, and Ted Smith, who several years later resigned, were appointed to serve as deacons.
It was in 1964, under the oversight of elders Marion Green, Jim Malone and Raymond Stiles, Sr. that plans for a new building were begun. A building committee consisting of Raymond Grissom, Charles Smith, Everett Simons and Leon Stubblefield were selected to plan and oversee the construction. Waymon Hillis was employed to draw the blueprints for the building with brother Hoyt Wells, a member at East End and local contractor, volunteering to give of his time and professional knowledge during the construction of the new facility. Ground was broken for the building in May, 1964, and the first service was held in the completed structure November 8, 1964.
Again it was deemed expedient to appoint additional elders and deacons. Raymond Stiles, Jr. was appointed as deacon in 1968. He is now deceased. In 1971, Walter Bishop, Jr. was appointed elder. At this same time Richard Bost, Clifford (Bud) Butcher, Theron Davis, Earl Dove, W.C. Hughes, Jr., Marvin Kell and Donnie Starkey were selected as deacons. Brothers Dove, Davis, Starkey, Bost and Hughes have since resigned.
In 1973, brother Rufe Higgins retired and Tim Lavender was employed as the preacher for the East End congregation. It was the following year, 1974, that the elders recognized the need for additional parking and purchased land adjacent to the church property.
Again in 1977, additional elders, Donnie Starkey and Richard Bost, were appointed; both of whom later resigned. In 1978, Brown Wilson and Milton Sharp were selected as deacons. The both later resigned.
The year 1979 brought yet more changes to East End. Brother Clifford (Bud) Butcher was appointed as elder, brother Tim Lavender accepted a position as preacher in Smyrna, TN and brother Steve Short and his family came to work with us in the capacity of preacher. During the following years things at East End continued to progress and the congregation continued to grow.
In 1984, the Short family moved to North Carolina and Joe Bogle came to fill the pulpit at East End. In 1985, additional deacons, Joe Braxton, Bobby Craig, Larry Smith, Trent Anderson and Waymon Hobbs were appointed. Brothers Braxton, Anderson and Hobbs have since resigned.
The elders recognized the need for expanded facilities in order to provide space for additional programs such as training classes, lectureships and bible classes. As a result of this need, an annex was built in 1987 to help expedite the work and this facility was completed in October, 1988 in time for homecoming. With our parking facilities becoming inadequate, the Elders had the opportunity to buy an adjoining property on Edison Street from Linda Farmer on November 30, 1992. The house on the property was sold and moved and preparation for paving began in the Spring of 1995. Much of the work was donated by a member, Billy Harper, and his construction crew and was completed in August, 1995. He has since completed a "Bus Port" at the front of the building to keep the bus out of the weather and to assure those who ride the bus of a safe and dry arrival and departure. Billy has contributed so much of his time and effort to East End and is greatly appreciated.
Beginning in 1989, Joe Bogle accepted a position in Nashville with the Riverwood congregation and brother James Boyd came to East End the first of July, as the preacher of God's word. On December 3, 1989, Charlie Turner and Bob Craig were appointed as additional elders. On April 8, 1990 two additional deacons were appointed. They were Joey Bouldin, who later resigned and Carl Cantrell. On June 23, 1991, Jack Lance, Mark Lance and Kenneth Rogers were appointed as additional deacons. Since 1989, East End has seen one of the largest spiritual growths in its history as we have been blessed and honored to have Bro. James Boyd in the pulpit. On June 1, 1998, Bro. James Boyd retired from full time pulpit preaching and will give full time to Gospel Meetings and lectureships. Bro. Gary Colley was hired to take his place and began his work June 28, 1998. On February 1, 1999, David Gilbert and Joel Powers were appointed as Deacons bringing the total back to eight presently serving.
Not only has the East End congregation been active locally, but through the years various outreach programs have been supported. Many preachers have been given aid by the church at East End to help them in their effort to preach God's word. Several individuals have been helped financially with their education to become preachers and different congregations of the Lord's people have been assisted with finances to construct buildings in which to meet for worship.
Help is presently being given to support work carried on by Thomas Eaves of Cookeville who has traveled to Russia several times to preach, teach and write tracts which are translated into other languages; and to the work of Jim Waldron who has worked for many years in India, Pakistan and in the Ukraine; and to the work of Steve Vice who is currently an evangelist in Saipan. From time to time, special contributions are made to congregations needing help and to men preaching the Gospel who have need of extra support for some reason.
It is the desire of this congregation to make God's word available to as many people as possible. Clinging firmly to God's truths with the thought ever before us that God's word is the authority, we humbly desire God's blessings in our attempts to teach others of him. May it always be said of us "We had a mind to work."