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Our church community has been rooted in the gospel for over a century, and we continue to share the message of God's love for all people. Through our worship services, Bible studies, and community outreach programs, we aim to guide individuals towards a deeper understanding of their faith and a closer relationship with God.

History of Owens Cross Roads Church of Christ

1908 – 1932

The Church of Christ at Owens Cross Roads, Alabama, had its beginning in about August of 1908 after crops were laid by a Gospel Meeting was conducted under a Brush arbor by Robert Neill (R.N.) Moody of Albertville on a lot secured through the efforts of Alvie H. Ellett of Owens Cross Roads and U. D. Ellett of New Hope. The first convert is said to have been Alvie H. Ellett, who at the time was a Methodist Sunday School teacher. History does not tell us how many others were converted but one can be certain the fire had been lit in the little community of Owens Cross Roads.


Awakened by the power of the gospel and the desire to restore the Church of the New Testament, people in the area began to search the scriptures as never before. Following the brush arbor meeting, Brother Ellett and other brave souls such as Joe Craig, Sam Dudley and John Byrd carried on the spirit of Christ and kept it alive in the area.


Over the next five years, meetings were conducted under brush arbors and tents with many prominent evangelists of the day presenting gospel sermons. Men such as Jesse M. Gainer of Florence, Alabama,  L.B. Jones, Dr. Howard P. Horton of Hanceville, Alabama, J. G. Allen, Joe Jones, Collum Oakley, and John T. Smithson, Sr. of Haleyville, Alabama bravely and boldly upheld the truth and helped the small congregation at Owens Cross Roads through the many trials of the day and continue to reap the fields of souls white unto harvest.


Between meetings, the worship services of the church were held in the homes of the members until approximately the year 1913 when space was provided on the second floor of Brother Alvie H. Ellett’s store. This building had at different times been used as a school, a Woodmen of the World Hall and an Oddfellow’s Hall. As the congregation grew, it was blessed by having members with great talent in the art of singing. Through the efforts of men like Robert M. Craft, James M. Maples and Roy A.Craig, the congregation became noted for its beautiful singing.

In 1922, a plot of ground in the center of Owens Cross Roads near Brother Ellett’s store was purchased from C. W. Evans by Robert M.  Craft, Joe Ben  Tabor, and Alvie H. Ellett for a building lot.

1933 – 1951

In 1933, the Church  of Christ at Owens Cross Roads erected its first building. It was a frame building and because of the Great Depression, materials were cheap and labor was readily available. As a result, the building was completed in time for the 1933 gospel meeting with John J. Smithson, Sr.

In 1945, Brother Charles Cobb presided over the appointment of Joe Ben Tabor, J.M. “Jim” Maples and Roy A Craig as elders of the congregation. At the same time, L. H. Brockway, G. A. Kelly and Allen Maples were chosen to serve as deacons. During this period, young men preparing for the ministry presented the sermons. Among the speakers of the day were Tommy Rosenblum, George Marshall, Turner Paseur and Boyd Fanning. The small congregation continued to spread the gospel in the area as it continued to grow.


By the year 1952, an extra classroom had been added to the building, and in 1956, a preacher’s home was constructed behind  the church  building. Brother Charles Coates became the first located minister, and he and wife, Ernestine “Tine”, worked with the congregation  from 1956 to 1960. In 1958, two more classrooms were added.

Brother Ralph Samples and his wife, Miriam “Mimi”, came to Owens Cross Roads in 1960, working with the congregation until 1962.Brother Paul Hosse and his wife, Doris, labored from 1962 until 1966 with the congregation, and it was during this period the membership increased to approximately 140.In 1963, it became evident that the building and land were not adequate to accommodate any future growth, so Brother Joe Ben Tabor and his wife, Laura Craft Tabor, donated land on Old Highway 431 for a new building. Construction on the new building began in the spring of 1964, under the supervision of Brother Roy Craig, and was completed in late fall of that year. The first assembly for worship in the new building was on November 8, 1964. An open house was held on November 22, 1964, with Brother Paul Hunton speaking and the Madison Academy Chorus providing a program of songs. A crowd estimated at 550 assembled for the open house.


In 1966, Brother John Cunningham and his wife, Sally, came to work with the congregation.   John  was the minister for 19 years. In the 1970’s, a new wing of classrooms was added to the building.  In  1986, Brother  Stan  Stevenson  and  his wife, Julie, came to work  with the congregation  and labored  until 1991. A large fellowship hall was added to the building in 1991. This facility had a modern kitchen and storage area. New restrooms, carpeting in the auditorium, and carpeting in the foyer were also added. In September of 1991, Brother Joe Hacker, Jr. and his wife, Joan, arrived  and  worked  with the congregation  until the summer of 1994. Brother J.B. Whitaker and his wife, Carol, came to us in January 1995. However, due to failing health, Brother Whitaker retired from full time work preaching his last sermon for Owens Cross Roads on Sunday December 31, 2000.


After Brother Whitaker retired, men of the congregation, along with area preachers, fulfilled the pulpit duties until July of 2001, In July  2001 Brother Harold Kelly, who is now our Involvement Minister along with his wife Annette, assumed the duties of Minister. 

In late fall of 2002 Construction of a new auditorium, classrooms, nursery and restrooms was begun and the first assembly in the new facility took place on Mother’s Day, May 11, 2003.  The old auditorium was converted into a new fellowship hall, and the old fellowship  hall was turned into a youth room for the teenagers.


In August of 2004, Jake Etheredge and his wife Andrea, who were members of the congregation at the time, began working with the youth of the congregation; Jake remained Youth Minister until August of 2009. In August 2008 the congregation celebrated its 100th Anniversary with a crowd estimated at over 600 attending the event.


In January 2010 Justin Pannell and his wife Sylvia came to work with us as our Youth Minister. In 2016 Brother Justin took on the roll of Associate Minister being mentored by Brother Kelly to assume the minister’s position upon Brother Harold’s retirement.

By the end of 2013 the church had again outgrew its parking and seating in the auditorium built in 2003. The elders began looking for property in a much more visible location out on highway 431.

In October 2014 Land located out on highway 431 two miles north of town was offered for sale and the members overwhelmingly favored purchasing the land and selling the buildings and land on old 431 and immediately begin making plans to construct a new church building.

A committee of men was formed to identify a financial institution to provide the funding needed and obtain a loan to construct the new building. Other committees were formed by our members to ensure the building design was what they wanted and for outfitting the new building.

2014 closed with a contract on the 5.6 acres of land located on Eastwood Drive. Brothers Benny Burleson and Larry Furlough were selected by the elders to lead the effort in identifying a construction company and oversee the construction of a new building.


On March 6th, 2015 the building and land on Old 431 was sold to Cove Baptist Church. On March 22, 2015 a contract was signed with William Bohme Architect to design the new building. In June 2015 Contracts were signed with Consolidated Construction and Dilworth Construction to build the church building. It would eventually take seventeen months to construct today’s building that is over 25,000 square feet under roof.


Over the next seventeen months the Shepherds set aside every fifth Sunday’s contribution to purchase all the furnishings for the worship area, kitchen, fellowship hall, education, offices and décor. Also, to pay for the utility work, sewer system, and water. It was a very emotional and beautiful Sunday Morning September 11th, 2016 as members of the church met at the building on Old 431 Highway, our oldest living member sister Estelle Phillips locked its doors and the members followed in a caravan a group of members who ran the 3.1 miles carrying a torch signifying the fire that began in 1908 was still burning to this building.

On October 16th, 2016 a dedication service was held with a packed house of 444.


On February 12th, 2017 James Johnson and Earl Pinson were installed as elders. The present Eldership now consists of Ronald Bridges, J. Thomas Conwell Jr., James Johnson, Randy Morrison and Earl Pinson.


Those who presently serve as Deacons are Calvin Bearden, Kevin Bridges, Tommy Bush,  Joseph Conwell, Tabor Conwell, Tony Harrell, Tommy Harris, Barry Jones, David Moody, Adam Olinger and Johnny Warren. Other men who have served as Elders in the past are; Joe B. Tabor, James M. Maples, Roy A. Craig, John G. Butler, Sr., John Stephens, Clifton Mann, Edwin Parks, Benny Burleson, Jerome (Jerry) Prince, and Gregory Shubert. Other men who have served as Elders in the past are; Joe B. Tabor, James M. Maples, Roy A. Craig, John G. Butler, Sr., John Stephens, Clifton Mann, Edwin Parks, Benny Burleson, Jerome (Jerry) Prince, Harold Kelly, and Gregory Shubert.


Other men who have served as Deacons are; L. H. Brockway, G.A. Kelly, Allen Maples, Frank Kelly, Clifton Mann, Chad Smith, Donald Bridges, Allen Brooks, Benny Burleson, Rex Watson, John Ed Frazier, Ted Lyon, Chris Lewter, Edwin Parks, Wilson Mann, Gregory Shubert, Brad Scott, Randy M. Morrison, Harold L. Kelly, Thomas Moore, James Johnson, Curt Craig, Tommy Bush, Johnny Warren, and Jeff Lindsey.


On August 10th, 2017 The building was flooded by torrential rains. On October 22nd, 2017 Brother Justin Pannell resigned to return to his hometown of Florence. The Shepherds not allowing the sadness of the loss of Brother Pannell to dampen the spirit of growth immediately took action. On October 23rd Brother Gary Bradley became the interim minister while the congregation searched for a pulpit minister.


The Shepherd’s began an immediate search for a Minister. After reviewing fifteen candidates for the Minister position and interviewing seven of those candidates the choice became clear as to the person who should work

with us.


In February 2018 Brother Patrick Flanagan of Concord Road in Franklin, Tennessee agreed to come and work with the church with a starting date of May 11th 2018. Brother Paddy, his wife Melissa and their two daughters came to us with Brother Flanagan’s first sermon preached on Mother’s Day, May 13th,​ 2018

Only ten days later Brother Noah Vann agreed to come and be the new Youth Minister to work with our youth. Noah and his wife Megan arrived on August 19th, 2018 to begin their work with our youth.


The Shepherds’ vision for the church hasn’t changed over the past 116  years. Our goals for the future are:


To continue to evangelize our community and the world in accordance with Jesus’ command to “go into all the world”. As the church has continued to grow having already added 46 new family members in 2018 alone the Shepherds signed a contract with Paseur Architect to design a new two story area with classrooms, storage, and LADS area within the south end of the building. The design is complete and work will begin next week with an expected completion date by end of this year.


Planning is also underway to begin serving our working young families and community with a preschool. Planning and construction of a playground for our children on the Southside of our building with an expected completion by the end of this year.


Owens Cross Roads Church of Christ today has prospered over the past 116 years with strong leaders, active members and a love for “going into all the world” and are positioned to serve this community for as long as the Lord allows this earth to stand. So the history of the Church of Christ at Owens Cross is still being written for the families that call Owens Cross Roads Church of Christ home.

Influential Men

At Owens Cross Roads Church of Christ, we honor the legacy of the influential men who founded our community. As a church, we aim to continue their vision of creating a welcoming space for worship and spiritual growth. Our congregation is made up of people from all walks of life, and we strive to foster a sense of community within our walls and beyond. We have a wide range of services and support programs available, from youth programs to community outreach projects.

Church Buildings - Past to Present

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