Central Church of Christ was brought into existence through the sustained efforts and faith of certain believers who first met in Lawson Heights School on High Street and later in an abandoned school building on Vinton Avenue.
Notable among these founders was A.D. McMurray, a successful contractor. Mr. McMurray helped keep the nucleus alive until a church building was obtained. A man with little education unitl age forty, Mr. McMurray went on to complete his education (grades four through college) and enter the Christian ministry. It is to those like Bro. McMurray, men and women of faith and dedication to New Testament Christianity that Central Church owes a great debt.
In preparation for building, a small piece of ground was purchased in 1904 at Grandview and Robinson Avenues. Here a small brick chapel was built in 1905 across the back of the lots. Grandview Avenue Christian Church was established November 24, 1907, with 112 charter members, none of whom survive today. A. Preston Gray came in early 1908 as the church’s first minister.
First Christian Church in Portsmouth gave aid and guidance for the new church. The official boards of each church worked closely together. Teachers, workers, and leaders of First Christian came to the Grandview Avenue Christian Church on Sunday afternoons to work. In May, 1926, fifty-four persons transferred membership from First Christian to the Grandview Avenue Christian Church. The leaders of both congregations had urged all people living east of Offnere Street to affiliate with the Grandview Church. The name of the church was changed to Central Church of Christ about this time.
As the church grew, an addition was made to the building around 1927. Viewing Central’s present facility, you can see how the various segments have been incorporated into the present building. The facility we have today was completed in 1957, which was during the ministry of Paul Neal. Remodeling inside and a facelift outside were completed by 1959.
As Central grew and prospered spiritually, numerically and in physical structure, she enjoyed the leadership of the following men: H.H. Webb, Albert Hale, W.D. Puckett, Robert Jones, S.F. Bridwell, D.L. Webb, J.S. Puckett and John Bridwell. These men and others were devoted to restoring New Testament Christianity by following the Word of God as their only guide for faith and life.
They were motivated by and inspired by the teaching and writings of Thomas and Alexander Campbell and Barton W. Stone, who had begun the movement to unite all Christians by abolishing all human names and creeeds and to be Christians only.
Through the years, since 1907, Central has walked throught the valleys and climbed the mountains. Central is indebted to the leadership of the following who have served as ministers:
- A. Preston Gray – 1908
- A. H. Anthony – 1911
- E.G. Hamilton – 1911 – 1917
- O.H. Gast – 1917 – 1924
- Henry W. Schwan – 1924 – 1925
- W. L. Huffman – 1926
- Cameron Meacham – Interim
- E.J. Meacham – 1926 – 1933
- George Anderson – 1933 – 1937
- Paul Jones – Interim
- W.C. Burris – 1937 – 1943
- Don Hinkle – 1943 – 1947
- Harry Hannum – 1948 – 1954
- G.C. Clark -Interim
- Paul Neal – 1955 – 1960
- Myron Taylor – 1961 – 1966
- David Lang – Interim
- Scott Rawlings – 1967 – 1970
- Darrell Olges – Interim
- Howard Ray – 1971 – 1974
- Fred Waggoner – 1974 – 1977
- Roy Scarem – 1977 – 1981
- Jimmy Wright – Interim
- Dennis Dawes – 1984 – Present