High Street Church of Christ, located in Tuscumbia, Alabama, started through the efforts of Christians who had been worshipping at the “Christian Home” congregation located in the Ricks’ community. This was the first “colored” congregation in the North Alabama area. The work began as a Sunday school class established by women of the Christian Home congregation. They conducted classes at the city school and three members figured prominently in the formation of this Sunday school: Sisters Mary E. Hosendove-Gist, Betty Hosendove-Sledge (aunts to Otelia Long and Frankie Davis) and Sarah Walker. This effort laid the foundation for the establishment of a congregation that met at the home of Brother and Sister Percy Ricks. There were other faithful and loyal members who were instrumental in the establishment of the congregation, these were: Brothers James P. Ricks, Sr., Rafe Randolph; Tom Clark; Frank Gipson and Frank Meredith, along with Sister Ella Randolph Brown. The membership grew and the group relocated to the “Arts Fellows Hall” on the corner of Cave and Tenth Street. In 1918, they moved to Trenholm High School.
During the years of 1921–1922, plans were made for a building to be erected on the corner of Ninth and High Street where it stands to this day. A new edifice replaced the old building in 1974. Taken from the “Dedication Program” of the new church building on Sunday, July 21, 1974 while Brother Prentice C. Spivey was serving as the minister, the general history revealed. “Before the war, Negroes held their membership in the white churches where galleries were provided for them. After 1865, it was necessary to constitute separate churches for them. Former masters and the ministers of the various white churches began immediately to attend to the matter. One of the oldest Negro churches in the country is the Church of Christ organized by Mr. A. H. Ricks, Sr. in 1867 on his plantation, “The Oaks.” The church was organized by Mr. Larimore, a much loved white minister of the faith, who lived at that time at Mars Hill, just outside of Florence. The Negroes called this the “Mother Church,” for since that time other congregations of the Lord’s people have been organized.
When the original log building was to be replaced by a better one, “Parson” George Ricks, once a slave, but who had lived in the nineties accumulated quite a lot of land, donated a new site nearby upon which a good frame structure was erected, and which today serves as both church and school house. “Parson George,” as he was called, a bright Negro, much revered by his people, preached at the “Mother Church” until a few years ago. (Two Hundred Years at Muscle Shoals, by Liftwith, pp. 22–23).
During the early years (since 1922) of the church, many ministers such as Brothers Percy E. Ricks, Jesse Hannon, Frank Hewin, Frank Mullins, Sherman East and O. L. Aker have preached for the congregation.
The full-time ministers who have served High Street congregation are Evangelists T. W. Rucks (deceased) 1933-1967, Merlon M. Thompson 1968-1971, Prentice Spivey (deceased) 1971-1973, Arthur Horton (deceased) 1973-1988, Stanley J. Hubbard 1988-1994, Corandle Johnson 1994-1997, Christopher A. Lee 1997-1998 and Michael S. Roberts December 1998 to present.
During the years between 1994 and 1997, the men who assisted in managing the business affairs of the church were Robert L. Beckwith, Sr., Harry Grimes (deceased), Eddie G. Goodloe, Fred Darthard (relocated) and Percy E. Marshall (deceased). During the years between 2000 and 2008, the men were Robert L. Beckwith, Sr.; Eddie G. Goodloe; Percy E. Marshall (deceased); Ralph Metcalf; Mack A. Pugh (deceased); Thomas D. Sledge and Frank E. Smith (deceased).
High Street Church of Christ ordained its first set of elders (shepherds) in December of 2008. The Elders were George O. Key (relocated), Robert L. Beckwith, Sr. and Michael S. Roberts. The ministers who presided over the ordination service were Patrick B. Johnson, Sr. from the Peyton Road Church of Christ in Lebanon, Tennessee, and Michael S. Roberts, the local minister who once served in both capacities as the pulpit minister and one of the elders. The Eldership served for four years and six months and was dissolved in July of 2013.
After the eldership was disolved, the church was encouraged to selcect men with proven spiritual qualifications who could serve as special servant to assist in managing the business affairs of the church, four men were chosen to fulfil this ministry role; Eddie goodloe, William M. Long, Jr., Roderick A Metcalf and Thomas D. Sledge.
Several ministries play an active part in the activities and programs at High Street. These ministries include Audio, Visual & Tape, Benevolent, C.A.R.E. (Caring and Reaching Everyone), Education, Evangelism/Mission, Finance, Kitchen/Fellowship, Ladies Bible Class, L.I.F.E. (Ladies in Favor of Evangelism), Maintenance, Nursing Home, Radio/Media, Transportation Ministry, Visitation, Wellness, Worship, Youth and Zone.
As New Testament Christians, members of the Church of Christ, the one, promised, purchased, provided/prepared and protected by Christ, we believe in the SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD, THE DIVINTY OF CHRIST, THE REVELATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, THE VERACITY OF THE SCRIPTURE, THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CHURCH, THE UNITY OF THE FAITH AND THE SIMPLICTY OF SALVATION – Ephesians 4:1-6.
The Church of Christ (universal church) dates back to the days of the New Testament (Romans 16:16). It was founded by Christ on the Day of Pentecost, 40 days after the resurrection (Acts 1:3) and just ten days after His ascension back to heaven (Acts 2).
In the years that followed, it rapidly grew to fill Jerusalem, then Judea, Samaria and finally the whole Roman Empire (Acts 1:8; Colossians 1:23). The Church of Christ was first established in America in the late 1700’s in the New England states. High Street Church of Christ is seeking to be the same church one reads about in prophecy the Old Testament and in fulfillment the New Testament. We aim to restore it doctrine, its practice, its unity, its lifestyle and its zeal. Our congregation is seeking to glorify God through its ministries and is reaching beyond all ethnic and culture lines or barriers to save the lost.
OUR BIBLICAL POSITION:
We are simply Christians, without denominational names and practices. We believe that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant and complete word of God and we follow it as our only authority in faith and practice. Since we find no denominational names in the Bible, we wear no such names. We have no human creeds to set forth doctrine because the Bible contains all the Christian is to believe (2 Timothy 3:16-17). We will remain “Christians Only” as members of Christ’s spiritual body, the universal church (1 Corinthians 12:12; Colossians 1:18). The universal church is a spiritual body, with Christ as its head and saved people globally as members of His body (Acts 2:47; Ephesians 1:22-23). As such, the universal church has no earthly or physical organization.
Whenever Christians extend fellowship to each other in worship and work, we do so with a congregation or local church. In the Bible we read about churches in Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome and other places. These were not different kinds of churches (as is so obvious and prevalent today), but congregations of churches of Christ, known as Christians located in various places. These congregations were independent and self-governing, each having a plurality of bishops (also known as elders, pastors, overseers, shepherds and presbyters) watching out for their souls (Acts 20:17,28; 1 Peter 5:1-4). Assisting the elders were deacons who ministered to the needs of the congregation (Philippians 1:1; 1Timothy 3:8-13). The preacher (also called minister or evangelist) proclaimed the gospel and exposed error (Romans 10:14-15; 1 Timothy 1:3; 2 Timothy 4:5). The members were dedicated to following the example of the Lord in their daily lives (Ephesians 5:1-2; 1 Peter 2:21). The High Street Church of Christ seeks to be a congregation of Christians in the Quad Cities.
We accept Jesus Christ as Lord and respect His authority. Jesus says, “But why do you call Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things I say?” (Luke 6:46). Adding to, or taking away from the simple instruction of Jesus is to fail to honor Him as Lord. We have no inter- denominational conferences, no conventions to formulate spiritual laws and by-laws, no synods, no councils, nor earthly headquarters because Christ has not authorized these. Also, such man-made systems only serve to compete with Christ’s authority and often bind human traditions upon others, which Christ condemned (Matthew 15:3-9).