by David Lemmons
Today we have created a NEW PAGE on this site. You can find it under the SERMONS menu, just under the picture of the church building above. It will be a place where we can be taught God’s Word by listening to a great preacher by the name of RALPH RUDOLPH.
For nineteen years the Maple Hill church sat at the feet of Ralph Rudolph (1981–2000). He did some excellent preaching in those two decades. I was a fellow-preacher with Ralph in Marshall County during part of those years and always had a great deal of respect for him. As the present preacher at Maple Hill, I truly appreciate the work that Ralph did for nearly two full decades. It certainly makes my work much easier to have such a foundation as he laid with his preaching. I have always been impressed by his love of the truth and especially his love for God. We are blessed still to have Ralph in our assemblies.
I have found a few of Ralph’s sermons on cassette tapes. I have found a device which will convert these tapes into digital format, and will begin adding them to this site on the new page. Please tell others about them. I think it is entirely appropriate that the first sermon we upload is an excellent study of the subject of PRAYER. Please listen to what Ralph presented on Sunday morning, August 25, 1996…
by David Lemmons
A couple of weeks ago, I found an audio recording of a sermon B.J. Clarke preached in McMinnville in 2009. I listened to it at least five times. It was very powerfully presented. I have benefited tremendously from many sermons that B.J. Clarke has preached. I have dozens of his sermons in my digital library–never have found one that was not extremely helpful in understanding the matter he discussed. I used a couple of points from his sermon to preach last Sunday. His sermon was well over 50 minutes, which is fine for him, but I don’t have that same ability to hold the attention of an assembly as he does. The two points were powerful, however, and will be by anyone who studies them and uses them properly! His sermon was: What Did the Church Look Like in the First Century.
I have posted below in the player my shorter version and challenge you to listen carefully and feel the power of two simple illustrations. You can DOWNLOAD the mp3 file by RIGHT-clicking on the arrow to the side of the player (35:43 minutes; 12.5mb).
DRL Note: At Bible Study on Wednesday, several were looking at a framed photograph of the meetinghouse of the Maple Hill church which was taken in 1956. It is a beautiful photo and I thought it might be good to have it posted on this site. In the 2011 Directory for the Maple Hill Church of Christ there is a section about the history of the congregation. Excerpts are taken from a journal kept by Hubert Armstrong during the years 1922-1934. I am posting these on this website along with the photograph of the meetinghouse. Included also is a list of preachers from 1957 to today. We will also place this material under the HOME menu above.
DEDICATION: This dedication is given in memory of sister M.A. (Aunt Ann) Armstrong (1866-1951), and her son Hubert (1887-1929). There would be no Maple Hill congregation today if it was not for the diligent efforts of these two dedicated Christians.
SAMARITAN CHURCH (1922-1934)—taken from Hubert Armstrong’s journal…
Record book for Samaritan church of Christ in Griggs District.
The first meeting held by a preacher of church of Christ in the Griggs district, that is in my knowledge, was under a brush arbor near the Bottom Road on the farm of Mrs. M.A. Armstrong, August 1922. W.H. Owen of Nashville, Tennessee, doing the preaching and Oak Valley congregation engineering the work.
Large crowds, good attendance, no additions. Preached twice each day from 3rd to 4th Sunday.
In July of 1930, Irvan Johnson and this scribe went to Paducah to see if we could get Bro. Robert McGregor to preach in Griggs school house on Sunday afternoons when he wasn’t busy. He, McGregor, said why not hold a protracted meeting in the school house. Irvan told him money was scarce and we could pay but little. I said both members and preacher would have to sacrifice in time and money. He said he could come in August, beginning August 6th.
We found some in district who opposed the meeting in the school house, would not agree to let us have the use of school lamps. We saw Albert Johnson, he gave us leave to hold meetings near the school house on his father’s land.
Having had five meetings in succession on his land, all were conducted by Robert McGregor. The first meeting place being under some trees, began Wednesday night, August 6th, 1930, continued each night until August 20th. Contribution: $20.00. First meeting closed with these baptized: Rachel Barker, Rena Barker, Era Barker, Wavel Faith, Mittie Alien, Mrs. Ed Smith, Jerusha Norvell.
Second meeting in a tent began 3rd Sunday night in August and closed Sunday night August 30th 1931. Those baptized were: Clay Johnson, Frank Thomasson, Mrs. Rebecca Thomasson, Edd Thomasson.
Third meeting in tent began third Sunday night in August 1932. Those baptized were: Herman Johnson, Vivian Johnson, Cline Bowerman, Gracie Bowerman, Allie Bradley, Francis Phillips.
Fourth meeting in big arbor built by brethren, neighbors, and friends. 1933. Baptized: Elmer Faith.
Fifth meeting was under the same arbor in August 1934 and closed with no additions.
Brother McGregor appointed a committee of three to see about building a house in which to worship: Edd Thomasson, Allie Bradley, and this scribe. Part of said committee thought best to commence work on building, then being the best time. I thought we members so few and most of us struggling under indebtedness of several years standing, I thought best, as we were in the midst of a financial panic, to make our first payment on the old debts and use the old shop building as a place to worship until we are stronger both spiritually and financially.
Our first meeting for Bible Study was Sunday, December 2, 1933 at the home of Mrs. M.A. Armstrong. Those present were: Elmer Faith and wife Wavel and two children; Ervin Johnson and wife Genoa; Mr s. Cora Hunt; Mrs. Pearl Houser; Mrs. Oilie Story and girls; Allie Bradley and wife Lizzie; Lowell Bradley and wife Unis, and their son, J.D.; Atlas Armstrong’s wife and children, Johnnie, Bobbye, and Betty; Mrs. Ann Armstong and Hubert Armstrong.
Mrs. Cora Hunt was the first one who was present at the first meeting to pass away, January 28, 1936. Little Mary Story was the second one to pass away, July 6, 1936.
At the first meeting Irvan Johnson led in singing and also gave thanks for the loaf and cup. Hubert Armstrong led in prayer, and I think Lowell Bradley dismissed the audience. We failed to carry out one item of worship, the contribution.
Since our second meeting, we have tried to carry out every item of worship as best we know.
Began meeting in shop building by Elmer Faith’s in summer of 1934. Up to ’34 we met from house to house: Mrs. M.A. Armstrong’s; Irvan Johnson’s; Elmer Faith’s; Pearl Houser’s; Mrs. Cora Hunt’s.
SAMARITAN CHURCH RENAMED…
The Samaritan Church continued meeting in 1934 in the broom-making shop building of Tom Johnson. This shop was located at the bottom of the hill where the present Maple Hill building stands.
In the late 1930’s Tom Johnson began making concrete blocks from creek gravel. The original building was built in 1940 or 1941 from these blocks made on site and laid by Acie Johnston and Tom Johnson. It was located on the hill and named Maple Hill for the numerous maple trees present.
The last record of any contribution taken was in November 1946. That contribution was: $0.30, with the record showing a balance of $16.65 in the treasury on December 1, 1946.
It was at this time due to financial difficulties following the war, that the members of Maple Hill went to other congregations with most going to Oak Valley.
MAPLE HILL (1955-2013)
On April 17, 1955 services were resumed in the original building with Lavern Stewart being the first to preach. Several preachers came throughout 1955, including: J.D. Starks, Claude Morrow, Lake Riley, Lynn Darnall, Gene Watson, and Paul Garland.
The first elders for Maple Hill were: Louie Massey, Dan Irvan, and John Filbeck. Charlie Angle was later named.
In 1956 the preachers were: Claude Morrow, Lake Riley, Lynn Darnall, Lavern Steward, and Roy Jones.
There were no classrooms in the original building so classrooms were added on the north side in 1956. A major renovation was made in 1970-71 with the addition of a classroom wing and the entrance being changed from the south side (facing the road) to the north side as it is now. The parking lot was greatly enlarged from having space for a very few vehicles to the lot we now have.
1975 brought about more structural changes as the congregation continued to grow and meet the needs of its members. On the west side more classrooms were added along with an office and baptistery. The foyer area, rest rooms, and a covered entrance were all added in 1979.
In 1998 major interior remodeling was made to the existing auditorium. The interior walls and ceiling were sheet rocked, finished, and painted. New lighting, carpeting, and upholstered seating for the pews were all installed. For several weeks the congregation sat in folding chairs surrounded by construction in progress.
Two new elders were appointed at Maple Hill in the year 1999. Those appointed were Boyce East and Jimmie Phelps.
Most recently, in 2003, the current foyer was remodeled and additions were made to the ladies’ rest room.
Between the years 2002 and 2003, three of Maple Hill’s elders passed away, all following extended illnesses. These three men: Charlie Angle, Dan Irvan, and Louie Massey had all served as elders for many years and were the last of the original elders of Maple Hill. In November of 2004, Ralph Rudolph, former preacher for Maple Hill, was appointed as an elder. Present elders include: Jimmie Phelps, Ralph Rudolph, Larry Davis, and Allen Carmichael. Our deacons are: Joe Draffen, Mickey Spiceland, Kris Simmons, and Trent Myers.
From that very first meeting place in a broom shop at the foot of the hill to the beautiful church building atop the maple-covered hill, the Maple Hill congregation has continued to grow and meet the needs of its members and surrounding community. We are interested in the souls of Marshall County, Kentucky, the USA, and the world. We must not forget that without the continued steadfastness of those early members there would be no Maple Hill as we know it today.
MAPLE HILL PREACHERS (1957 to 2013)…
- 1957… Claude Morrow
- 1958—1959… Don Hall
- 1960-61… Roy Enoch
- 1962-1964… Dennis Rogers
- 1965… Farley Freeman
- 1966-1968… Dalton Vaughn
- 1969-1977… Leroy Lyles
- 1978-1980… David Hendrickson
- 1981-2000… Ralph Rudolph
- 2000-2011… Dan Sikes
- 2011—Present… David Lemmons