Chatham Church of Christ, A Forty-Year History
In 1966 a small group of Christian families saw the need for a congregation to share God’s Word with the residents of Chatham and the surrounding communities. They purchased the building at 382 Fairmount Avenue, as well as the minister’s residence next door, and on December 25th 1966 the first worship service was held at the Chatham Church of Christ.
From a nucleus of seven families, the congregation grew. Wayne Hemmingway and Ed Thorton were installed as the first elders on January 21st, 1968. Later elders would include Jap Barrett, Gene Cooke, Mark Nichols, Bill Bonifay, Paul Slatton, Jim Takemoto, Bob Lane, and Warren Davenport. Presently, Wayne Felts and Bob Weber serve as elders.
Chatham’s first full-time minister, Larry Shoe, began serving in July of 1968. After he and his family moved to St. Louis, Gayle Crowe and his family came from Illinois in April of 1974. Later, Gayle was followed by Bob Weber and his family in July of 1987.
A highpoint for the Chatham church came in September 1974 when the support of a missionary was undertaken. John and Mullina Chan and their three children moved to New York City to begin a new work among the Chinese people. A dream was realized in October 1980 when a building was purchased for the growing Chinese congregation. Thomas and Esther Tam participated in the Chinese work in Flushing during 1990 and 1991.
The elders have stated two major purposes for the Chatham congregation:
- To provide spiritual growth and fellowship for God’s people in this area;
- To find and teach all of the people of this area who are receptive to the call of Jesus Christ.
Chatham Church of Christ seeks to fulfill these two purposes by offering community enrichment programs and through "Church Planting."