The Claysville Christian Church has its roots in a movement begun by Thomas and Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone in the early 1800’s. Stone began his movement in Kentucky and the Campbells in Washington, Pennsylvania. They desired to “restore unity, peace and purity to the whole church of God.” A fundamental belief was that “the church of Christ upon earth is essentially, intentionally, and constitutionally one.” The fellowship became known as the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and two characteristics that have come down through the years are belief in baptism by immersion when an individual is old enough to make their own confession of faith and the observance of the Lord’s Supper (Communion) every Sunday.
The church building now occupied by the Claysville Christian Church was built in 1893 by Oliver Martin and the carpenter work was done by D. F. Jolly at a total of $3200.00. It was built for the United Brethren Congregation and was dedicated on November 27, 1898. The congregation disbanded in June 1907. The property was put up for sale which included: a lot 50 X 200 Feet with a frame church building including basement, organ and opera chairs. The selling price was $2500.00. There had been no plans for organizing at this time but contractor D. F. Jolley knew that the church was well built and well worth the amount asked. Four brethren, C. A. Chapman, D. F. Jolly, Frank Rogers, and J. L. Melvin seized this opportunity and the Claysville Christian Church was established, located on the corner of Church and School Streets (only a few miles from the scene of the baptism of Alexander Campbell).
On September 27, 1907 a Mr. White, one of the fathers of the brotherhood, prepared a charter roll and delivered an organizational address. Thirty-eight names were placed on the roll. The people set out to raise funds toward the purchase price. With $850.00 in the treasury and $2000.00 raised by pledges, November 27, 1907 was set for the dedication. President Thomas E. Camblet of Bethany College conducted the services. Mr. John Mullady was engaged to preach each Lord’s Day afternoon. The Bible School was started by Mrs. Edna Morrow with 61 on the enrollment. An Endeavor Society was also organized. Later the basement was improved and fitted for use for the Primary Department of the Bible School, Church Endeavor and for serving refreshments. In 1923 the parsonage on Elm Street was purchased from Margaret Ann and Margaret Elizabeth McNeal, wife and daughter of Nelson R. McNeal. Lee Moore was the first minister to occupy the parsonage.
In 1948 individual seats were removed from the sanctuary and replaced with pews. In 1949 a new roof was installed. The 50th anniversary was observed on October 6, 1957 with 108 present at the morning service, noon meal and 3:00 PM services with Rev. E. M. Oakes delivering the message. Rev. Oakes presented a new Communion Table in memory of his son, Robert, who was killed while Rev. Oakes was the church’s pastor.
On April 21, 1958 work was started by Abe Mounts on the annex (the back portion of the building). October 1958 saw Homecoming and the dedication of the new annex. The new baptistery was used for the first time in November 1958.
There was a mortgage burning in June 1960 for the $1600.00 annex. In 1961 new sanctuary lights were installed and in 1962 a lighted picture of Christ, a gift of Rev. and Mrs. Boyd Keyes, was installed.
In 1963 the outside of the church was painted, the basement was painted and new hymnals were purchased. A new brick base was built by Mr. Sherman Seaman for the bulletin board in front of the church. A new asphalt basement floor was installed in 1964.
Between 1966 and 1974 interim ministers or Bethany students filled the pulpit. In 1974 the Taylorstown and Claysville Christian Churches united and formed the Clay-Taylor Parish Unity with the same minister for both churches. In 1976 the unity ended.
In January 1978 H. Meade Lacock was called to be pastor of the church and an installation service was held on April 23. In September 1978 the congregation decided to purchase the Charles and Rosa Roney home at 135 Church Street as a parsonage, the previous parsonage having been sold in 1971. In 1982 the roof of the church annex was replaced. In September 1984 Mr. Lacock left the church and on December 16, 1984 Charles Main was called to be pastor. Early in 1986 Mr. Main’s ministry ended and Mr. Lacock returned to pastor the congregation to the present time.
The Claysville Christian Church joins with other local churches in joint worship services such as the Good Friday Cross Walk, World Day of Prayer Service in May and a Community Worship Service at McGuffey Community Park during the Covered Bridge Festival.
(Special thanks to Hazel Manon and Ruth Chess whose church histories were drawn upon for this article.)