Jericho Church of Christ celebrating 150 years
Published 10:13 am Thursday, July 21, 2022
By Neal Essic
For the Enterprise
On Sunday, July 24, the Jericho Church of Christ will observe its 150th anniversary with a day of celebration and special activities.
The Jerico congregation is the oldest continuing congregation of the churches of Christ in North Carolina. It was founded by a preacher named William Lucius Butler, who left Davie County, his birthplace, and moved to Kentucky as a young man to seek his fortune. There he became acquainted with the Restoration Movement, a movement preaching the restoration of the New Testament church and a return to the first principles of Christianity. “Back to the Bible” was the plea, and the Bible was upheld as the only authority for christians in religious matters to the exclusion of sectarian doctrines that promote division.
Butler joined severl other prominent men of his day in efforts to restore the New Testament church according to the Biblical pattern. He returned to Davie County in 1872 and preached a serious of meetings in the Jericho community. On July 24 of that year, five people obeyed the gospel by being baptized into Christ in a nearby creek. These five were the beginning of the Jericho congregation. They met together and studied and worshipped in the old Jericho schoolhouse, which was in what is now the front yard of the present church, near Jericho Church and Junction roads.
As the church grew, they left the old school building in 1884 when land was donated and a one-ro0om church building was constructed. It stood just behind the present church building. By the mid-1950s, the congregation had outgrown this building, even with some additions, so a second congregation on North Main Street in Mocksville was established. They met for the first time in the new building in December of 1957.
Even with the planting of the North Main congregation, the 1884 building was soon again outgrown, so a new brick building was erected in 1969 in front of the old building, which was demolished. A Fellowship hall, completed in 2002, now stands in place of the old building.
As a New Testament church, Jericho is non-denominational in belief and practice and is committed to preaching and living the faith that was “once for all delivered to the saints.” It seeks to follow the New Testament pattern for the church in organization, work and worship. With Christ as the spiritual head, the congregation retains its’ local independence from any ecclesiastical ties outside of the congration. The mission: “The Great Commission: To preach Christ and him crucified as the only hope for mankind.” Members seek to live as brothers and sisters in Christ looking to God as the Heavenly Father.
In keeping with the Great Commission, Jericho is very mission-minded. Members endeavor to glorify God by going into all the world with the gospel message. In addition to supporting local, state and national mission works, the congegation also financially supports missions in China, Cuba, Eastern Europe (especially Ukraine), Peru, India, Nigeria and Zambia. Radio broadcasts in several languages are beamed into places missionaries cannot go.
Even though chruches of Christ are independent congregations, they cooperate on many fronts. Sitting next door to Jericho is a prime example. Congregations throughout North Carolain worke dto establish CArolina Bible Camp and Retreat Center where children and adults come for spiritual enrichment and fellowship. Churches throughout the country support children’s homes, disaster relief efforts, brotherhood publications, educational institutions and other causes as determined by their own local leadership.
The July 24 anniversary celebration begins at 10 a.m. with a period of Bible study and discussion led by Dr. Tom Torpy, former Jericho minister. A worship service begins at 11 with acapella singing, prayers, observance of the Lord’s Supper, the taking of an offering, and a message by Tony Forrest, retired minister who grew up at Jericho.
A photo of attendees will be made at 12:30 followed by a pot-luck fellowship meal for which Jericho is famous. From 3-4 p.m., there will be congregational singing.
Members invite anyone to participate in any of the activities.Visit www.jerichotoday.com.