THE ALPINE CHURCH OF CHRIST – A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
On January 6, 1906, a small group who were members of the Church of Christ met in the home of Mrs. J. L. Wade* for religious worship and prayer. Church Services were held in the Wade home and in the homes of other members for the next few years. Then in July of 1910, with the completion of the new Presbyterian Church, the Church of Christ group were given permission to hold Bible School, communion and worship services in the Presbyterian Church each Sunday afternoon at four o’clock. There is no record to show how long the group continued to use the facilities of the Presbyterian Church. It appears, however, that there was a period of inactivity of the Church of Christ group until in 1925, Brother J. F. Black held Church of Christ services in Alpine. Following that, Mrs. J. L. Crawford, who had been a member of the earlier group, moved to Alpine; and she, along with others, brought about a revival of an active program, and for a few years they met in the Brewster County Courthouse.
In October of 1927, Mr. J. S. Batey, the father of Irma Lee Batey, long-time Head of the Music Department, Sul Ross College, came to Alpine and held a meeting in the interest of the Church of Christ group in Alpine, Texas. There was one baptism following his services, that of Miss Elizabeth Crawford, daughter of the above mentioned Mrs. Cawford, who was baptized in the baptistery of the First Baptist Church. Following the services, Brother Batey made a list of the members of the Church of Christ in Alpine which was as follows:
Erma Lee Batey, Miss Elizabeth Crawford, Mrs. Martha Crawford (Mrs.J.L), Miss Mabel Fuchs (Sul Ross student), Mrs. E.C. Herron, Elmer Hudson & wife, Agnes, Mrs. Oscar Miles,
Mrs. Pink Phelps, Mrs. M.E. Skelton, Carroll Vaughn and C.A. Young and wife.
In the summer of 1927, Mr. J. H. Lundy entered Sul Ross College, and after the Batey services and the departure of Mr. Batey from Alpine, Mr. Lundy began to preach for the Church of Christ group. Also, under his leadership, the members of the church began to save and put aside money for the building of a church building for the congregation. By the summer of 1928 they had put together something over $1,000.00, and with this they, by doing much of the work, constructed a small church on the location beside where the church stands. The church was 24 feet by 36 feet with a seating capacity of about 150 people. The seats were handmade by Brother J. S. Batey, who in the meantime had returned to Alpine. A baptistry was constructed in the church in connection with the pulpit. On each side of the baptistry there were curtained off spaces which served as Bible School rooms.
Soon thereafter a number of additional families were added to the congregation. Among these were the J. L. Milam family, the Claude Garners, the M. K. Browns and others. These families, along with those already belonging to the congregation, gave to the Church of Christ a stability which has enabled it to grow to its present status.
In the meantime, Dr. T. H. Etheridge came to Sul Ross College, and by 1942 he, along with others in the church, began a program looking toward the remodeling of the church. The war conditions hindered their efforts. However, after the end of World War II, the congregation was able to secure the chapel building from the Marfa Air Base, which was moved onto their lot and remodeled into the church much as it stands today. Opening services were held in the new building January 11, 1948, with Dr. G. H. P. Showalter, Austin, Texas, as the visiting minister, and Claude Garner of Alpine as the song leader. After the dedication service, the Lord’s Supper was served with Dr. T. H. Etheridge and M. K. Brown presiding over the Lord’s Table. As a part of the official program, the following note was included:
Members of the Alpine Church of Christ are grateful and wish to express their
gratitude to the many friends in Alpine who have been cordial well-wishers and
helpers in the project. Quite a number have contributed liberally of money and
material means toward the removal and rebuilding of the chapel. To all such,
together with those whose prayers have gone up to the Throne of Mercy for the
success of the enterprise, we bend our heads humbly and say “Thank You”.
The Alpine Church of Christ has continued to function in the community and to render an effective service to the people of the community of their faith.
* As of November 2007, the J.L. Wade home at 403 N. 8th Street is the home of James and Cherry (Keese) Jones.