Loudon Church History
The Lord's church in Loudon, Tenessee began in the spring of 1953. Most of those who swarmed to start the new work were members of the Lenior City Church of Christ. Their worthy intention was simply to start a church in the local community. The original group began meeting on the west end of town in the old theater and continued to worship at that location for about three months. During that period, they bought a house at 706 Ward Avenue and converted the structure into a meeting place. The church began meeting in the newly renovated facility in September of 1953.
Originally, there were about 20 members of the new congregation consisting of the following families and individuals:
Bud & Frankie Howell
Inex, Helen, & Mack Larue
Taft, Lucille, Virginia, & Keaton Mason
Bedford, Fronie, Alfred, Bessie, & Beulah Taylor
George, Mae, Bob, & Janet Young
James A. Walker was the first preacher to work with the Loudon church. His preaching duties were conducted beginning in 1953, the year the church started. Over the years the following men also worked as preachers in Loudon:
James Matthews (1955)
Albert Griffin (exact dates unknown)
Bailey McBride (exact dates unknown)
John Thurman (1967)
Fred Weseman (1968)
Henry Horton (exact dates unknown)
Jimmy Winsted (1971)
Wendell Powell (1972)
Bill Watkins (1973)
Tom Holly (1974-76)
Lee Forsythe (1976)
Johnny Stringer (1978-1995)
Jeff Kepler (1995)
Ed Barnes (1996-)
Jeff Barnett ()
Jason Shackleford ()
Jeff Harwell ()
Nick Angel (2021-present)
There were periods of time between preachers when the local members would do the preaching until the services of another full-time preacher could be obtained. The church in Loudon has always been blessed and thankful to have such men who loved the Lord and were willing to do the work of preaching when needed. All the names of such men cannot be called, but many thanks go out to them for their service in the Lord's Kingdom.
Improvements made on the church building and exterior property over the eyras include the following: In the late 1950s a metal baptistery tank and four classrooms were added to the existing structure. Later, in the 1970s, the church purchased the adjoining property, consisting of a house, shed, and fenced-in yard. This property was to serve as a preacher's house. After much volunteer work and expense, the house became a fair-looking residence. Additional improvements have been made to the house and lot over the years as funds have allowed. Such improvements include substantial remodeling of the inside of the house; exterior aluminum siding; the rebuilding and siding of the utility shed behind the house; landscaping and a new fence.
In 1998 a sizeable addition began to be added to the back of the church building. The new construction project, supervised by David Aaron, consisted of two new classrooms, a large bathroom, and a lengthy hallway with an outside entrance. Sidewalks were also added around the side of the building. In December of 1999, the lawn behind the building was covered with a parking lot.
The church has grown over the years and has been self-supporting since May of 2000. An item in the News & Notes entitled Progress Report from Sunday, April 9, 2000 states, "The church here at Loudon is now able to take over all of the preacher's support. There will no longer be any need for the local preacher to receive financial support from other churches. This represents a great milestone for the church here, and everyone is to be commended!"
The liberal giving of the saints here has made it possible for the church not only to fully support the local preacher but also to contribute to the financial support of other preachers both in the US and around the world. Among those who have been supported by the church over the years are:
Tommy Beeler in New York City and Hayes, North Carolina
Bob Buchanon on numerous preaching trips in various parts of the world
V.J. Benson in India
Nick Rowe in Malaysia
Kristin Brewer in Charleston & Huntington, West Virginia
Darryl Smelser in Starkville, Mississippi
William Beasley in Lincolnton, North Carolina
Nathan Quinn in Lincoln, Nebraska
Benito Holguin in Ecuador
Benedicto Calderon in Conway, Arkansas & El Progreso Yoreo El Mines, Honduras
Justin Brewer in Montana
Michael Stephens in Wainfleet, Ontario, Canada
Camilo Gaitan Avilo in Bogotá, Columbia
Pablo Ramirez in Barrió Vipasa, Cali, Columbia
David Quinatoa Carrasco in Ambato, Ecuador
Other signs of growth over the years include the appointment of overseers and deacons. On August 24, 1997 after months of study, prayer, and deliberation, David Aaron & Jim Thomason were appointed as the first elders over the church in Loudon. Ken Long and Jim Pope were installed as the first deacons on October 17, 1999. Unfortunately, the leadership of elders and deacons was dissolved in 2017 after David Aaron was forced to move away due to illness.
Gospel meetings over the years have been conducted by the following men (listed in no particular order): O.C. Birdwell, Jeff May, Gary Ogden, Bobby Graham, Bill Hall, Jimmy Thomas, Greg Gwinn, Wendell Powell, Ronald Striger, Jimmy Winstead, David Riggs, Johnny Stringer, Kevin Clark, Tommy Beeler, Bob Buchanan, Charlies Willis, Kiristin Brewer, Tommy Hagewood, Roger Williams, Jason Moore, Ferrell Jenkins, Timothy Ruffin, and Jason Shackleford.
For several years, the Loudon church sponsored a meeting featuring young, college aged men as the speakers. Each year, anywhere from 10-12 different speakers participate. This became a much anticipated event on the annual calendar. The church received a spiritual "shot in the arm" each spring as we received the infusion of youthful energy and spiritual zeal on the part of the faithful young men and women who were present during this special week.
Many thanks go out to the wonderful members of the church here in Loudon who have supported the Lord's work so faithfully and consistently over the years. Let us all continue to work together in love and unity so that the church here may grow and souls may be brought into the kingdom of God.
This history of the Loudon church was first compiled by Bud & Frankie Howell and Ed Barnes. It will continue to be periodically updated.