A complete historical journey of the Lordís church would take us back to the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Christ---and beyond. Our interest here is to know how a congregation of the church of Christ came to be established in Anna, Illinois.
The Anna Church of Christ is an outgrowth of two preceding congregations: Christian Chapel and Dongola. Some of our members worshipped with one or both of these congregations. The Christian Chapel Church of Christ was organized in 1865 or 1866 with seven charter members; their first building was constructed in 1875 and was replaced in 1905 with the structure which stands today as a historical monument to the congregation that ceased to meet in late 1979 or early 1980. The Dongola Church of Christ was organized in 1910 by W.F. Mathis and today worships in a beautiful building in Dongola.
In October of 1957, the Dongola Church of Christ made plans to purchase lots in Anna to provide the location for a new congregation. The lots were purchased November 26, 1957. A tent meeting was conducted on the site in the summer of 1958 with Frank Gould as speaker. A group of Christians living in the Anna-Jonesboro area, most of whom had been regularly worshipping in Dongola, met on the second floor of the Anna City Hall in January 1959. Attendance was 58, the contribution was $304.78, and Robert Waller, the Dongola minister, was the speaker. As the new congregation continued meeting in City Hall, a second tent meeting was held on the churchís lots with Jewel Norman as speaker. The Clements Street Church of Christ in Paducah was a monthly financial supporter for several years.
In the spring of 1960, a group of the Anna brethren met with the Clement Street elders to discuss the construction of a building. The elders encouraged the beginning of construction and promised help as long as it was needed. Construction began in April, 1960, with W.T. Harvick in charge. Brother Frank Gould conducted a summer gospel meeting in the half finished building. With much labor donated by members and others, the building was completed on November 6, 1960, with E.L. Eubanks as minister and F.W. Gould as dedication speaker.
E. L. Eubanks was followed by George Warren as regular minister. On the first Sunday of September in 1965, John B. Shelton became the congregationís third minister until the end of February of 1973. Paul Hughey was the fourth minister for a year, followed briefly by Victor Proffitt and then by Bob Adams for another year. During the next three years various speakers filled the pulpit, including Ronnie Gulley, Bob Jones, Arlen Campbell, and Brad Roberts. At the congregationís request, Brother Shelton returned to Anna in November of 1978, and Joe Johnson was hired to serve as associate minister from 1990-1995. Brother Shelton served as minister until he retired in February of 2000. Wesley Hazel served as full time minister from March of 2000 until December of 2004. Various men of the congregation filled the pulpit from January until November of 2005 when Andrew Erwin became full time minister until July of 2006. Annaís own R. W. McAlister then began to fill the pulpit until he became the congregationís current regular minister.
Other preachers spoke at various times before brother Eubanks began in 1960 and between the time brother Warren left and brother Shelton arrived in 1965, including Billy Penn, George Sayler, Vernon Hinton, Tim Curd, Frank Crispin, O.B. Ray, and C.W. McEndree.
Alfred H. Bishop, who was one of the charter members, became the first treasurer and continued in that capacity until his death on November 4, 1996. He was also an elder from 1979 until his death. At various times, Lee Harvick and Larry Yates served with brother Bishop as elders. Loren Eddleman also served as an elder from 1979 until February of 1996. Our current elders are Jamie Driskill, John B. Shelton, and Wayne Schultz. Bob McAlister, Ryan Thornsberry, and R.W. McAlister serve as deacons.
We praise God for the Christians who were part of this congregationís origins and who have faithfully supported every effort for good all these years. We are also grateful for all who have become a part of this great work since the beginning and who continue faithfully in His service.