The Church at Savannah
The Savannah Church of Christ has a rich history of development and growth. In order to trace the unique history of the church, it is necessary to go back to the turn of the 20th century with the beginning of the Christian Church in Savannah, a church that struggled for many years.
The R.E. Shackelford family moved to Savannah in 1926 and a group called on them to meet with the Christian church. Because of convictions, they were going to a rural congregation and told this group they could not worship with them because they supported the Missionary Society and used instrumental music in their worship. The Christian church then proposed to give-up these innovations that were a source of division, and the Shackleford's, along with some others living in Savannah, began to meet with them at their building on Main Street.
The church continued to meet in the same location on Main Street until November of 1955, at which time they moved into their new building at the corner of Church and College Street. The auditorium seated 370 people.
In 1962, an education wing was constructed to increase classroom space. In 1983, a large multipurpose ministry building including six new classrooms was added. In 1984, the auditorium was completely renovated.
In 1993, an addition was added on the South side of the building to increase the auditorium capacity to 550. At this time a large fellowship/classroom was added to the basement.
In 1998 attendance had grown to the point that we began to have two services on Sunday morning. With no more room to expand at the Church and College Street site, a search was begun to find a location to build a new building. The search team recommended the purchase of the old Wal-Mart site across from Hardin County High School on Pickwick Rd. This property was purchased in 2000.
In February 2002, construction began to renovate the old Wal-Mart building and turn it into suitable worship facility. This was completed in February 2004. The building contains 42,000 sq feet of space including a 750 seat auditorium, a large multi-purpose fellowship hall, a commercial kitchen, and 23 classrooms.
In 1991, Love and Learn Preschool opened under the direction of Pat Williams. The church purchased a house that adjoined the existing building property. It had a lovely wooded front and back yard. The back yard was sodded and swing sets, playhouses and other features were also added. In 1991, there were 38 students. In February 2004, Love and Learn Preschool moved into new facilities at the new church building on Pickwick Street.
A wonderful new sodded and well equipped playground was completed in the fall of 2004. In 2008, Love and Learn began the year with 10 teachers and 60 students. All of our teachers have either bachelor degrees or CDA credentials in child care. In 2005, Love and Learn obtained a 3-star license from the state of Tennessee, the highest rating given by the state.
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In 1997, 2 full-time missionary families were added to our staff: Steve & Dee Worley and Larry & Joyce Kirby. The former minister's home behind the church building was renovated for office space for the Nigerian Mission work and classroom space. In 1999, the Kirby's returned to local church ministry. Ray Bush (2005) and in Chuck Cordon (2019) have joined the team.
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For the past 20+ years, our congregation has been involved in a ministry serving with orphanages and medical needs in Romania. A special contribution to the work in honor of Sherry House resulted in a new unit at the burn center at the hospital in Bucharest, Romania.
A new mission effort with Ethan & Ashley Hardin and Enoch Rinks began in Asuncion, Paraguay in 2003. Within a year, they acquired and renovated a facility which had 160+ people for the first service in September 2004. Soon after, the missions team grew to include other members of the Savannah (and Hardin) Family--- including Josh Hardin and Perry Hardin.
Each of the original team members have not returned to 'The States and remain active in Missions work in various ways. The Igelsia De Cristo Asunción (of Asunción Paraguay) is alive and well today.
Some of the preachers who served at this congregation include:
Hershell Patton, Frank Chambers, Rex C. Turman (1943-1953), A.R. Hill, Bill Threet ('54-57), Owen Freeman ('57-62), Jimmy Rogers ('62-65), Hudson Nichols ('65-66), Billy Nicks ('66-68), Glann Lee ('68-72), Hilton Royster ('72-82), Buddy Baker ('83-85), Dan Goodard ('85-87), Jim Chamblee (1987-2006), Chuck Morris (1995-2006), Josh Schwartz (2007-2008), David Baker (1988-2009), Philip Jenkins (2008-2010), and Westley Hazel (2011-2015.)
Howard Rogers (2008) and Dustin Perkins (2008), and Barry Binion (2016) currently serve the congregation full-time. Steve Worley remains our resident missionary; and we have a small, talented office staff helping us in our ministries Monday-Friday.