The History of the Graymere Congregation.
The Graymere church of Christ began as a dream of the Highland church of Christ. The Highland brethren purchased property and in December, 1955, work was begun to convert a restaurant building into a suitable meeting place for worship. The first services were held the first Sunday of April, 1956, with Waldon Tarpley preaching. J.P. Sanders spoke at an open house Sunday afternoon. Thus, the Graymere congregation had her beginning.
The young congregation's first preacher was Eric Guthrie. After brother Guthrie's untimely death a year later Alfred Palmer, began work with the infant church. Fred Mosley assumed the duties of minister in 1958. That same year Roy Crabtree, Lloyd Pruett and J.C. Warren were appointed the first elders. Due to rapid growth, five additional acres of land were purchased and a new auditorium was built.
Jerry Hill served as minister from 1961 to 1965. In 1962, an educational wing was built. In 1963, Ernest Grissom and Vernon Gilliam were appointed elders. Jim Farris, Sam Roberts and Lee Flatt were added to the eldership in 1965. Ellis Coates served as minister for 18 months. IN February, 1967, John R. Vaughan became minister of the Graymere congregation and continued until December of 2003. In 1972, a second educational wing and fellowship area were added in a way that tied all existing structures together into one large facility.
In 1977, Buford Dreaden and Robert Waddell were appointed elders, and in 1983 John Fitzgerald was also appointed and elder. In 1986, Harold Hardison and Kenneth Jackson were added to the eldership. Charles Wilburn became an elder in 1991. Two elders were appointed in 1993: George Brazelton and Willie Robinson; Jim Thomas was appointed in 1994. Current serving in the capacity of elders are: Ron Bishop, Rick Combs, Hugh Langley, John Markham, Fred Porter, Chuck Wortman, and Dennis Stephen.
In June 1983, Wendell Robinson was added to the staff as educational director. Jeff Ingram became youth minister in 1990. Carmack Skelton was added to the team of ministers in 1993 and worked with the seniors. Since Carmack's retirement in 2006, Gary Dodd has joined our staff of ministers and primarily works with the Seniors of the congregation and personal evangelism.
1984-85 the fellowship hall was greatly expanded. Movable walls were installed so the area could also be used for classroom space. In 1985 the seating capacity of the auditorium was increased from 600 to approximately 1200. In 1994 a Benevolent Outreach building was erected. That same year a conference room for the elders was added. Also in 1994, adjoining property was purchased. The property contains a fine house which is being used as a senior center and a counseling center. In 1995, the counseling center was staffed by a Christian counselor. In 2004 John Vaughan shifted his focus and began to work full time with the Outreach and TV ministry; and Kirk Brothers became the Pulpit minister for the Graymere congregation. In 2008 Jack Malone was added to the Graymere staff to become the Seniors minister. In 2011 Jonathan Winchester joined the Graymere Minister staff to become the director of worldwide missions and local missions. In 2011 Kirk Brothers moved to Freed Hardeman to be one of their professors and Andrew Phillips became the Pulpit minister. In 2012 Rusty Pettus moved to Alabama to work with Heritage college and Chris Webb became the Youth minister.
We want all who visit the assembly of the Graymere church of Christ or all who know us personally to feel that in some way, they are seeing Jesus in the lives of the Christians here. Our speech, our dress, the activities we engage in, our attitude, our concern for everyone regardless of their status in life, and our love for each other and for the Lord in all that we do must set us apart from the world if we are to win the world to Christ.
Our sole source of authority for all that we do is God’s Word, the Bible, to which we are totally committed. On any matter where the Bible speaks, we are firmly committed to its commands, precepts and principles. We are committed to the authority of the scriptures teaching salvation by grace through faith, repentance, and baptism by immersion for the remission of sins. We are committed to the one church that Christ established, the autonomy of the local congregation, and to the New Testament pattern of worship. Each first day of the week the church assembles in worship with a-cappella singing, observance of the Lord’s supper, liberal giving, prayer, and teaching of God’s inspired word.
Where God has not given a command, we believe we must follow the pattern of the early church as recorded in His Word, and, if no pattern, we feel the liberty to use our best judgment even though it may alter some previous practices. Paul makes clear the use of a pattern in his writings to Timothy: “What you heard from me, keep as a pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 1:13). Paul further states: All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good works.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
The Church, the Body of Christ, the Kingdom of Christ must maintain its identity both in name and in doctrine. Within this context, the congregation must follow the dictates and examples of the New Testament. In doing so, we thus glorify God, build relationships with Jesus, teach daily applied Christianity, stand firm against sin, avoid divisive factions, lead the wayward to salvation, teach Christian doctrine, and in all things show love.
There must be balance in the
proclamation of the gospel. By
this, we mean we must not place
so much of our teaching and
preaching on God’s grace and
love that we overlook faith,
obedience, works, sin and its
consequences, and the judgment
to come. Neither should we
place so much emphasis on
obedience or Christian works
that we de-emphasize God’s
saving grace and love.
What to Expect
You will find our church facility simple and functional: not "high church," but more of a family gathering. You will be made very welcome, and may feel free to sit where and with whomever you please. Be sure and let us know if you need help finding the nursery, classes, etc.
How is this for a refreshing change: no choirs, organs or bands, just the unmatched melody of the human voice. Our music, you see is "a capella," that is, voices without accompaniment. It is also congregational; everyone participates fully as we worship the Lord. There are hymnals in the pews, and sometimes we will use a large projector to list the words to our worship songs. Our music is a conviction with us, not merely a preference. We interpret the New Testament verse "making melody with your heart to the Lord," (Ephesians 5.19), to be a mandate from God to use our voices in singing praises to His Name; adding instruments may detract from that simple musical expression. We believe you will find this to be an exhilarating and uplifting experience.
There will he several prayers during the assembly, including prayers for specific needs and requests (I Timothy 1.1,2).
You will notice the absence of titles such as Pastor or Reverend. The preacher of the gospel message is simply called by his given name. You will also notice the absence of special clothing or robes to set the preacher apart. The reason is that the scriptures teach the priesthood of all believers (l Peter 2.5,9); there is no "clergy/laity" distinction in the New Testament. The sermon will likely be from 20 to 30 minutes. We think your will find it refreshingly Bible-centered (2 Timothy 4.1-5).
At the close of the sermon an invitation will he offered, allowing those who wish to do so an expedient opportunity to respond to the message preached. Those who respond do so by moving to the front of the auditorium as the congregation sings a hymn. Please don¹t feel ill-at-ease during the invitation. You will not be singled out or embarrassed in any way. There may be several who respond, maybe none. The elders of our congregation wait down front to receive those who come forward. Some may respond to be baptized; some to confess sins and to request prayers for strength; some to ask for prayers for a specific need; some to request prayers for victories the Lord has granted. Others, new to the area, may wish to identify themselves as a believer who wishes to labor with that particular congregation. Our elders will pray for you and with you whatever your need. Those who respond for baptism will normally be baptized during the assembly. The baptism will be by immersion (Colossians 2.12), and will be for the remission of sins (Acts 2.38).
THE LORD'S SUPPER:
Churches of Christ observe this memorial every Lord's Day, and visiting on a Sunday morning you will find this to be a central feature of our worship. Once again, the reason for our practice is a desire to follow New Testament teaching. The first century church celebrated this observance on the first day of the week (Acts 20.7). History also testifies that in early centuries the Lord's Supper was an every-Sunday commemoration. During this memorial, plates containing unleavened bread will be passed throughout the congregation. Following this, trays of grape juice will be distributed. This is done in keeping with New Testament teaching, reminding us of the body and blood of The Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1.23-25). Please don't be embarrassed if you choose not to participate; simply pass the plate or tray to the next person.
In keeping with the New Testament, we give as we have prospered on the first day of every week (1 Corinthians 16.1-2). Therefore, on Sunday mornings, containers are passed throughout the congregation. As our guest, you are not expected to contribute. You may feel perfectly comfortable in simply passing the collection plate on down the row.
WHAT WILL BE EXPECTED OF YOU?
Nothing, except to be able to worship our God in a wonderful and uplifting way! You are welcome to participate or merely observe. One thing we would welcome is your questions - on any subject pertaining to our worship and practice. You may be asked to fill out a visitor's card. This simply provides information, allowing the church to follow up by thanking you for your visit. Supply the information if you are comfortable doing so, but feel free to decline if you prefer.
We're a diverse group, coming from varied backgrounds, and at different stages of knowledge and spiritual growth. We do have a mutual commitment however: to practice the truth found in Scripture. You see, our bond is not an illusion of perfection, but rather a recognition that we are sinners in need of the cleansing blood of Jesus (Romans 6.6-9).
You are welcome to attend any of our assemblies and activities, and are encouraged to ask questions if you have them. If you would like to learn a little more about Jesus, God's grace, the power of the Spirit, and even the workings of the Graymere Church of Christ, you are most welcome to attend and to ask whatever questions you may have about us or about your faith.
An attended nursery is available for infants during worship services. A cry room is also available at the back of the auditorium.
CLASSES FOR CHILDREN:
Classes are available for children from cradle roll through teens. Location information is available at the information desk in the foyer.
Several adult classes are available each Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. Location information is available at the information desk in the foyer.
No matter which class you walk into on Sunday morning you are going to be entering a Bible class that exist for only one reason: To offer encouragement and answers to help students reach their full potential.
In our Bible classes, we strive to create a supportive environment where needs and questions relating to the study can be addressed and discussed openly so that everyone can learn more.
Each Sunday at 10:15 AM and Wednesdays at 7:00 PM students of all ages assemble in the classroom wings of our building for 45 minutes of small group studies. These studies provide a chance for a more personal and interactive study than a sermon. The teachers in our program work very hard to direct classes with an upbeat combination of Presentation, Involvement, and Evaluation. This keeps classes from being a monotonous lecture, while giving each teacher the flexibility to teach according to their own style and the needs of their students.
We hope that you will explore this site further to find out details about the classes which might be right for you. Come visit with us to experience first hand how rewarding studying God's Word together can be.