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A brief history of the Church of Christ,

Gurley, Alabama

The congregation of the Lord's Church in Gurley, Alabama had its beginnings in 1936. A meeting was held in the home of Ernest and Irene McBroom with George Harbin, to plan how a congregation in Gurley could become reality. At that time, 12 members began assembling in a rented store building owned by George Hereford. It was located across from the (then) hospital in downtown Gurley.


Brother W. H. Rye began working with the church at that time, driving from Huntsville to teach Bible classes and to preach the Word. He shortly moved to a small house behind the hospital. Among early members were Ernest and Irene McBroom, Murvel McBroom, George and Mary Harbin, Alta Troup (Roberts) Coleman and Bessie Reed and Daisy Fullmer.


In 1937 the congregation purchased (for $250.00), a lot on Rail Road street, next door to city hall. Jim Gray and a crew cleared the lot. The church then bought from Harry Williamson a sturdy building formerly used as the office for a cotton gin and seed company. This was moved onto the lot and extensively renovated to make a permanent meeting place for the congregation. The Church grew rather slowly during these times, but by 1944, there were 20 members and their families meeting to worship according to the New Testament pattern. Two classrooms were added in 1944, and in 1962 other classrooms were added and the auditorium was enlarged as the congregation grew to about 75. It was then decided that larger facilities would soon be needed due to anticipated growth.


Continued growth made the need for larger facilities, and in 1964, a plot of land containing 2 acres was purchased on Highway 72 east, now Walker street. Construction of the new Church building was begun in October of 1965. The congregation met for the first time in the new building in March, 1966. The building contains 12 classrooms, with space available to have 8 additional rooms in the present attic. The auditorium will seat 350 people. Office space, rest rooms and a nursery are also provided. Kitchen and fellowship facilities are located in the Annex to the rear of the church building.

In 1986, an acre of land on the West side of the building was also purchased.


A home for the preacher was built adjacent to the new building, with a kitchen, den, living and dining room, two bedrooms and another bath. The work was done by Rufus Pyle and other talented members at a cost far below its value.


The Gurley church purchased the property to the east of the preacher's home in order to open a foster home for children. What was once a laundromat was renovated by dedicated members to provide a spacious 4 bedroom, 2 bath home for up to 6 foster children and their foster parents. Over many years the home served numerous children. Foster parents included Ruben and Debbie Diaz. Houseparents included Doug and Debbie Smith and Bob and Barbara Gore.


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Serving the church at Gurley through the years have been many fine dedicated gospel preachers. The first was W. H. Rye from 1936 until a time in the 1940's, Allie S. Chambers served a short time in the 1940's, followed by these men (dates only approximate): Wilber E. “Chick” Albright Dec. 1950-April 1955, Joe Reynolds 1957-1958, Carl Smith 1959-1960, Leroy Dedmon 1960-1964, Joe Reynolds again 4th Sundays 1960-1963, Otha “Buster” Acuff 1964, Jim Ashworth Feb. 1965-1968, Eddie Cantrell 1967 (the year Jim Ashworth was in American Samoa), Richard Chandler 1969-1971, Billy Thomas Nov 1971-July 1973, Jim Ashworth Sept 1973-July 1983, Ben Renegar August 1983-1986, Bill Ivey 1986-1988, Ray Palmer 1988, Paul Watson 1998-1991, Billy Thomas 1991-1992, Jim Ashworth (see story in the articles page) 1992-2002 Elbert Henry associate preacher, Tim Rice, Brother James Long 2013-2014, Robert Charnock 2015-2017, Bill Brinkley 2018-.


Gospel meetings have often been a part of the church. For much of the Church's history, one meeting was held in the spring and one in the fall.


The congregation has encouraged men to preach and offers the opportunity. Several of those who had association with Gurley in their youth, now, or in the past either preached full or part time. Some of these “home grown” preachers include Julian “J. D. Pyle, Randy Pyle, Ricky Phillips, Bill Dedmon, Steven Smith, David Robinson, David Waters, Howie Ellett and others. This list isn't complete and I apologize to those whose names may be omitted.


There have been Elders and Deacons who have served the church at various times through-out the years.


Much has been accomplished, by God's grace, through the years by personal work and teaching programs. Only eternity will show all the good that has been accomplished through the efforts, and as a result of that first meeting of the small group that assembled in 1936. We are looking forward with anticipation to many more years of growth, development and service to God and His Kingdom. Your prayers are coveted on this behalf.


This wonderful history of the church was written, (barring updates) in 1998, on the occasion of a Homecoming event, by a wonderful man, preacher, brother and father, Leroy Dedmon. He wrote the following, (underlined) to close out this “history”. Jane referred to is, of course, Mr. Dedmon's bride.


Jane and I have many “precious memories” of the years with the Gurley congregation. Both our children were born while I was serving in the congregation. In fact, I was in the pulpit preaching when Gwen was born. We waited on Gary for 32 hours while Jane was in labor, so we assumed Gwen would be the same. After taking Jane to the hospital, I returned to Gurley to preach. At the end of the service I was greeted with the news that I had a baby girl.


You gave me my start almost 40 years ago. Since then, I have preached for 5 other congregations. I have been in Woodstock, Georgia since 1993. We laughed together and we cried together. Mistakes were made and valuable lessons learned. Thank you... Leroy Dedmon.


The history, as written, has been ever so slightly, edited, for the website. Other areas of the website show what the church is doing now.

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