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Our History

In the summer of 1930 Brother Marshall Keeble of Nashville, Tennessee was called to Jacksonville to conduct a gospel meeting in the black community by the white congregation of Riverside Park Church of Christ at 856 Margaret Street.  The meeting was held for one week under a tent on Ernest Street in the area known as Mixon Town on the westside.  As a result of the meeting 15 or 20 precious souls were baptized into the body of Christ.  Among these families were Troy & Jessie Butler, Robert & Katie Leaphart, Lymas & Willie B. Butler, Wade & Sally Leonard, Jack & Pattie Hammond, Emma Tyson, Ethel Jerry, Charlotte Simmons, Martha Green, Herbert & Letha Nicholson, Annie Davis, Lucas Israel, Sr., Richard & Viola Foster, Rena Young, Herbert & Revella M. Campbell and their children thus enabling the establishment of the first black Church of Christ in Jacksonville.  

As this small congregation began to grow they began holding services in a storefront building on Run Street.  In its infancy, Brother A.B. Millen was sent from the Riverside Park Church of Christ here in Jacksonville, to preach and teach the new converts for several years.​ The Westside Congregation has been blessed with many fine ministers. Brother Paul D. English was the first full-time minister to serve Westside, followed by such great men of God as:  James Cochran, Russell H. Moore, U. S. Greer, William Whitaker, Sutton Johnson, Columbus Grimsley, A. Griffin, W. J. Butler, E. W. Way.

In 1934, the congregation moved to 1534 McCoy Boulevard at the corner of Dellwood Avenue, the congregation grew spiritually and numerically; several home preachers ministered to the church on a rotating basis.  Some of those brothers were:  Fred Butler, W. Wells, Lymas Butler, T.M. Butler, A. Millen, P.E. Butler, and S. Simmons of Birmingham, Alabama.

1943   Marshall Keeble was called by the leaders of Westside to conduct another tent meeting and among those Walter, Jr. & Lessie Cox was added to the Body of Christ.   Brother Cox began training for the ministry that same year under the leadership of   Minister E. W. Way, and Assistant Minister W. J. Butler, along with Bro. Lucas Israel shared in the training of  this small group.   Bro. Israel later assumed the in Orange Park Florida.  In 1944 the Westside congregation purchased the property for the current Miller Street Church of Christ.   The property on which the church building now stands was donated to the Westside by Bro. and Sis. Palmer.  It was during this time that Elder Jack Hammond, Elder Herbert Nicholson, Aaron Debose, James Dowdell and others physically constructed the building with the aid of   Bro. Palmer.  Worship service prior to this was held at the old Orange Park Elementary School.  At that time the operation of church was turned over to Bro. James Sullivan.

The Westside congregation has been blessed to be shepherd by Bro. Thornton M. (Valarie) Brown since September 2016.


1944    Westside purchased a small piece of property from Bro. & Sis Palmer located in Orange Park  Florida,  and  dedicated as the Miller Street Church of Christ with Bro. Lucas Israel Sr. serving  as the pulpit minister.  The congregation is thriving to this day now under the  leadership of  Bro. Michael  Jackson.

1952 to 1958 Walter, Jr. & Lessie Cox worked with the newly established congregations in High Springs, Trenton and Alachua Florida.  They traveled on a bi-weekly basis on Sunday and Tuesday for worship and bible study.  Song leader Robert Leaphart and Elder Jack Hammond were the supporting families with this ministry.

1959-1979   Walter Cox, Jr. became the full time minister.  Under his leadership numerous Gospel Meetings were held to strengthen and educate the congregation.  We began to travel out of town, attending gospel meetings, lectureships, sing-outs and conferences.  The 3rd Sunday fellowship meeting began with the Palatka, Odessa Street, Lincoln Villa, Eastside and the Westside congregations.  Brother & Sister Cox worked faithfully with the congregation teaching bible classes, Vacation Bible Study classes, doing repairs around the building, transporting members from church and traveling monthly to Trenton, High Springs & Alachua to assist in strengthening the newly established congregations.  Due to the growth of the congregation, its Youth Ministry, traveling to Gospel Meetings, and Youth Conferences, under his guidance a school bus was purchased "tagged the Green Hornet" in 1960.  The first congregation to have a bus pickup for its members for weekly worship and evening bible class.  To name a few of our drivers..faithful and dedicated without being paid a fee were….brothers Thomas Fonder, Woodrow McClendon, Monroe Dinish, Robert Richardson, David Fisher, Odell Jackson, Robert Brown, Carl Williams, Doyle Beasley and Doug Tunsil.   

In 1960, a building drive was held to enlarge the edifice to handle a seating capacity of 150.  Under his leadership and with financial assistance from Brother Graham McGhee of San Jose Church of Christ, a new edifice was built on the same property in 1962. Bro. Cox was one of three who assisted in establishing the first Youth for Christ Conference among the Churches  of  Christ in 1958, where he served as committee head, mentor and senior class teacher for many years. 

Our first deacons were ordained in 1974 during this growth period, brothers: George F. Carter and Monroe T. Dinish III.  Due to the death of our original elders, new elders were ordained:  Andrew Jackson, Charlie E. McClendon and Willie Temple. 1979   Moved to 2725 North  Laura  Street under Bro. Cox's   leadership.   This edifice provided a seating capacity of 435 and two office spaces, a kitchen, a large Annex, a nursery and seven classrooms. 

Bro. Cox met and befriended the first ever black radio announcer and renown producer in Jacksonville in 1969 Ken Knight.  The Westside congregation became the 1st among the Churches of Christ in Jacksonville to make its' appearance on the first black television program in Jacksonville Florida WJXT-TV 4 "The Ken Knight Show".  It was under his ministry that the platform was established to have an integrated group of  singers  on the TV program, included members from the San Jose and Riverside Park Churches of Christ.  This venue set the stage for the first and longest African American bible program "Let the Bible Speak".  Around 1980 the program was passed on to Bro. Charlie McClendon, Minister of the Northside Church of Christ.  It remains the longest running program in church history in Jacksonville and with the same TV Station.  Bro. Cox retired as minister of the Westside in 1979, yet remained active among the brotherhood for several years before his passing in 1988.

1981   Zebedee Moore served as  minister, under his leadership the congregation begin its first prison ministry.

1982-1990    Terrance R. McClain served as minister, while under his leadership the official Teacher Training Workshop was implemented.  A yearly retreat was held at Lake Swan Camp in Melrose, Florida.  Under his leadership, the longest running radio program among the congregations in Jacksonville, "Things Which Become Sound Doctrine" hosted weekly by Bro. Lucas Israel with Bro. Lewis Brabham serving as an alternate.  Due to accelerated fees from the radio station because we were at prime time 11a.m. the program ended in 2012.  

1990 - 2012    Willie C. "Pete" Jackson, II was hired.  Under his leadership the congregation was introduced to many programs that our forerunners could only have dreamed of, but could not realize at that time.  He was recommended design and lead the first ever Faith Based Initiative Program in the City of Jacksonville  while serving under Mayor  John Peyton in 2003-2011, to date the program remains active.   Brother Pete was ordained elder in 2008.  He also served as Life Group #3, Advisor and Coordinator of Public Outreach and Food Distribution within the Historic Springfield Community serving over 300 families on a weekly basis which included members of the body of Christ city wide.  The Wellness Health and Ministry spreaded from the city program to the congregation.   Under his leadership additional elders were ordained   Lorenzo Williams and Jerome Sanders.  Deacons: Lester Beans, Sr., James Bell, Brock Brown, Larry Clark,Sr., James Conoly, Ronnie Denson, Sr., Lenward Griffin, Sr., Melvin Hamm, Leon Hayes,  Jerome Hill, Sr., Henry Lewis, Ronnie Murray, Sr., Mario Robinson, Sr., Freddie Thomas,  Mark Williams Sr.,  Marvin Williams and Johnny Wynn, Sr. Purchase of 27 acres of waterfront property on Basset Road designated to include a Senior Citizen Housing Facility and new edifice in the future; 2007 purchased property adjacent to the current edifice for the Westside Early Learning Center.  Sister Catherine Griffin served as Director; Boys and Girl Scouts of America troop meeting place   Bro. Jackson passed in 2017.

2013-2015   Elisha Taylor, Jr., was selected to be minister and on March 10, he was officially installed as minister by Bro. Wesley Leonard, minister of the Southside Church of Christ in Orlando Florida.   Truly a dynamic speaker,  energetic, quick thinker, eager to provide increase growth spiritually and physically.

2016 - Our current minister comes to us from Daytona Beach, FL. Thornton McIver Brown from Daytona Beach Florida after serving as minister of the MLK Church of Christ.

Previous Leaders not mentioned:    Others who served faithfully were:  Finance:  Richard Foster,   Frank  Harris, James Jones, Brother Lockett, Bro. McFashion, William Owens, Frank Seward,  George Starks, Cleo Williams and Harold Kelly.  Current:  Business and Finance team consist of:  Adrian Allman,  Lendward Griffin, Jr.,  Maxine Griffin, and Charles Spencer.  Ministry Team: Robert Henderson, James Hoskins, Lonnie Stewart, Doug Tunsil and Kelvin Washington, Mark Williams Sr., Johnny Wynn Sr.  

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