The congregation began meeting in the current building in June 1973.
Deed records indicate purchase of this property October 12, 1943 for $685 from the North Methodist Church.
The first service of the members of the church who met at Cave City in this structure was October 24, 1943.
In October 1943, individuals who wished to establish a local congregation of the Lord’s church in Cave City, Arkansas began looking for a building in which to hold their services. Since the merger of the three branches of the Methodist Church in 1939, the building which had housed the Methodist Episcopal (North Methodist) Church had been vacant. The church building had been purchased by local residents whose intent was to organize a Nazarene congregation, but records and recollections seem to conclude that the Nazarenes were unsuccessful in their attempt to sustain a congregation in Cave City. Since the building was still unoccupied in 1943 plans were made to purchase the lot and building.
The leaders in the drive to establish the Cave City church of Christ met at the home of Howard and Lillie Burrow Ford to discuss the purchase of the former North Methodist Church building. Those present at the initial meeting were Howard and Lillie Ford, Corbett and Myrtle Himes Medlock, Bryan and Hattie Carpenter, Mr. and Mrs. George Bateman, Irene Puckett, and Orilla Pinkston. The members agreed to pay $25 each toward the purchase of the property and donations were requested from other congregations of the Lord’s church in the vicinity. Corbett Medlock was placed in charge of the financial aspects of the transaction. In a short period $1000 had been raised by these individuals to purchase the lot and building.
Deed records indicate that on October 12, 1943 Howard B. Ford purchased the property of the former North Methodist Church from Holland B. London, the District Superintendent of the Nazarene Church for the sum of $685. One week later, on October 19, 1943, Howard B. and Lillie Ford deeded the property (for $685) to the “Church of Christ Cave City, Ark.”
After some structural work was done on the building (new windows, window sills and a new floor) the church of Christ in Cave City was established and held the first service on October 24, 1943. The members at the time of its inception were: Mr. and Mrs. George Bateman and family; Bryan, Hattie and Joe Carpenter; Sarah A Crownover Carpenter; Lillie Burrow Ford and children Mable, Henry, Marilyn and Billy; Kittie Harrell; Corbett, Myrtle and Carl Dean Medlock; Orilla Carpenter Pinkston and children Norma, Billy Bob, Janna Lou and Loreta; India Sugg Porterfield and children; Irene Puckett; Harriet Rodgers; and Lou Wooldridge and her daughter Burline Wooldridge Erwin.
By 1944, the following families and individuals were associated with the congregation: Mr. and Mrs. Monroe Laman and children Paul Dean, Joan and Sylvia/Cynthia; Mrs. John Laman; Mr. and Mrs. Monroe Goff/Golf; Mr. and Mrs. Ozroe Shirley and children; and Mrs. Arthur Jones.
The congregation was without a full time preacher from 1943 until 1959. This was alleviated with the assistance of Harding College (now Harding University) at Searcy. Harding College provided student preachers who traveled as needed to fill the pulpits of congregations like those at Cave City who were without full time preachers. A car load of aspiring preachers would leave Searcy on Sunday morning. In the case of Cave City the preachers heading north would go as far as the Arkansas-Missouri border stopping along the way to allow preachers to disembark at various church of Christ meeting places. The student preacher would spend all day with the congregation he was serving. He ate meals with the members and would remain with them until the car came back from Missouri and collected those dispersed along the way.
Contribution and attendance records for November 1946 were as follows: November 3rd $9.68 - 31, November 10th $4.34 - 16, November 17th $11.62 - 29, November 24th $10.34 - 25. Total contribution for November 1946 was $35.98 with a total of 101 in attendance.
As the membership began to increase, the number of children increased. This made is necessary to make additions to the original building to accommodate the increase in attendance. Four classrooms were added to the back of the building. One of the earliest activists in helping establish the congregation, Orilla Carpenter Pinkston, wrote the following description of the early days of the congregation:
“For about a year we just had from 10-15 per Sunday. We just lived across the street. My husband was not a member at the time. He and my 85 year old mother would look out the window to see how many we had, when we got home they would say. “Looks like you are going to have to give up.” I would say "No, never, it will get better" and the most wonderful things did happen.
On October 5,1947 the following elders and deacons were appointed to the church at Cave City:
Elders: Corbett Medlock, Ozroe Shirley and Garland Mobley
Deacons: Monroe Laman, Wayne Puckett and Olaf Pinkston
In 1949 four classrooms were added to the west of the building. In 1950, the church had 66 members whose children also attended. The first full time preacher, Fred Eason, began working with the church on June 30, 1959. As the membership increased, the decision was made to build a new building. On July 30, 1971, the church meeting at Cave City purchased the lot behind the church building from Owen J and Betty Laman and B.R. and Writhel Brown for $1150. The ground breaking ceremonies were held November 26, 1972, and the congregation moved into the completed new church building in June 1973. The new red brick structure was constructed behind the former white frame structure; the latter was demolished upon completion of the new facility.
The church was without elders and deacons for another period of time before and during the completion of the new building. In 1974, the following elders and deacons served the church:
Elders: Olaf Pinkston, Ernest Stitcher and Dean Fugett
Deacons: John Frenzel, Loyd Cossey and Floyd Stahly
In 2001 an educational wing was built next to the church building. The Cave City church of Christ has maintained a strong membership over the years and continues to enjoy growth and retain its important position in the community. The current elders and deacons in 2020 are:
Elders: Marc Walling, Barry Wilkes and Travis Woods
Deacons: Jeff Eddy, Jeral Hastings and Kevin Tate
The preachers of the Cave City church of Christ, listed in the order of their service is as follows:
Brother Fred Eaton (6/30/1959- )
Brother Burton Painter
Brother Dean (wife Alice) Fugett (June 1960-August 1962)
Brother Leo Rainey (October 1963-May 1965)
Harding College student preachers, including John Rickett and Bill Mitchusson (1965-January 1971)
Brother David (wife Linda) Lipe (1970-1971)
Brother Bill (wife Brenda) Mitchusson (January 1,1972-September 1973)
Brother Dean (wife Alice) Fugett (September 1973-Summer 1976)
Brother Bill Yuhas (Summer 1976- )
Brother Floyd Motes
Brother O. L. Grisham
Brother Bill Willard (1984)
Brother Dean (wife Alice) Fugett (January 1985-June 2019)
Brother Barry (wife Nancy) Wilkes (Associate Minister -October 2019)
Brother Kenny (wife Annette) Townsley (10/6/2019 - current)
Taken from the Cave City History Book (researched and written by Gary Perkey; updated by Annette Cannon Townsley in 2020). Specific dates and names were taken from a history of the congregation written by Orilla Carpenter Pinkston from the 1993 Directory of the Cave City church of Christ. Thank you to others who provided history including Marilyn Ford Sullivan, Dean Fugett, Ernest Stitcher, Jeral Hastings, Helen Carpenter Davenport, Janna Pinkston Freeman, Norma Pinkston Wooldridge, Loreta Pinkston Sites and Bryan Carpenter.
When we got home they would say,
"Looks like you are going to have to give up."
I would say, "No, never, it will get better" and the most wonderful things did happen. Orilla Pinkston
Kenny, Annette, Kendall and Jonathan Townsley
The Townsleys began working with the Cave City congregation on October 6, 2019.
We invite you to visit with us at Cave City on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings.