Sims Hill Christian Church celebrates 100th anniversary

Published 8:29 am Friday, October 11, 2019

Sims Hill Christian Church will celebrate its 100th anniversary with a catered dinner Oct. 19 in the fellowship hall.
Reminiscing takes place at 4 p.m. followed by dinner at 5:30 p.m.
Reservations are required for the dinner since it is a catered event.
The church was formerly the old Sims Hill School, a one-room school which closed its doors in 1919. The property and school was purchased by James Sims, who offered the building to the community for use as a church. The church was begun Oct. 17, 1919, with Sims, Dan Chambers, and Peter Glover as the first leaders. Services were held weekly at 2 p.m. Sunday and 7 p.m. each Saturday.
The building was heated with a pot-bellied stove, which sat in the corner of the building. Benton Henry usually built the fires, ensuring the building was warm for services.
The first trustees of the church were Peter Glover, Dan E. Chambers, and James Sims. Other trustees who served the church during its earliest years included Allen W. Henry, Fred S. Matherly, Dan M. Matherly, and Benton Henry.
A number of local families in the Sims Hill community attended the church services.
Early ministers of the church included P.P. “Pless” Williams, Johnny Meredith, Johnny Hall, Joe Owens, D.C. Patrick and others.
Kenneth Wilson served the church from 1942-1947 and church services were held weekly at 2 p.m. Sunday and 7 p.m. Saturday. Wilson was followed by Joe Owens, John Mathes, and John Merritt.
Thomas Hampton became minister in 1951, and he served as minister for 15 years This was the beginning of a new outreach in the community. Elders of the church at the time included Allen Henry, Dan Matherly, and Fred Matherly. Deacons were Clyde Potts, Clifton Kyte, and Claude Guinn.
During Hampton’s ministry, the one-room church was remodeled, classrooms were added, and a choir loft was added. Men of the church donated their time and work to the church, and the ladies also helped a great deal.
Also, a piano was purchased during the period of the renovation. Pearl Henry Kyviakidis and Louise Matherly May made the down payment on the piano. Patsy Davenport Miller was the first pianist.
Following the death of Allen Henry, who had served as choir director, his daughter, Pearl Kyviakidis, took the job as choir director and served in that position 40 years. Another daughter, Lillian Henry, served as pianist for 60 years.
In 1966, Hampton resigned as minister due to poor health. Following him as minister were Sherrill Wilson, Charles Waugh, Jim Wood, Richard Butler, Fred Coggburn, Bob Bates, Ernie Depew, Bob Gears, Rocky Mains, Tony Duncan, Hugh Hatfield and Bret Jones, who has served the church since 2003.
Many in the congregation have filled the pulpit from time to time, including Gerald Holly, Ron Odom, Bill Boswell and Ted Vines.
During the ministry of Ernie Depew, land for the construction of a fellowship hall was purchased, and a note burning was held. Also, more classrooms were added to the church, seats were upholstered, and carpet was laid. Also, a baptistry was added. The baptistry scene was painted by Barbara Timbs. Baptistry drapes were donated in memory of Clifton Kyte by his son, Russell Kyte.
In July 2015, the fellowship hall was given a facelift with new flooring, curtains, blinds added along with a new refrigerator, stove, food warmer, and microwave oven. Also, a bathroom was added and the walls decorated.
New carpet was also added to the downstairs of the church, and earlier in the year, new flooring was added to the classrooms upstairs.
During the 1980s, a church cemetery located on property next to the fellowship hall was laid out and fenced in.
Presently, the elders are Russell Kyte and Mack Henry. Deacons are Teddy Tipton, Teddy Vines and Jimmy Cole. The youth director is Adam Reeser.
The church remains a small rural community congregation, but has had a vital and far-reaching ministry during its 100 years of ministry. Many good men and women have served the church through the years.

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