Our History

The first black congregation of the Church of Christ located in the Memphis area was in 1870 in Capleville, Tennessee. these Christians worshiped at the corner of Shelby Drive and Malone road. The congregation held a tent meeting for one month with Brother Marshall Keeble as the guest speaker. During that gospel meeting, many souls were saved and added to the Lord's church. Having no place to worship, the congregation began worshiping in the Macedonia School building. Today the Capleville congregation is located at 4833 Tchulahoma road and is now know as Easthaven Church of Christ. From these roots, five years from the abolition of slavery, many other congregations have been established.

In1917, under the leadership of the elders,Brother Moses Allen, Brother Kit Buchannan and other faithful brethren, the congregation decided to hold a two-month gospel meeting in Memphis. The meeting was a great success and again, having no place to worship, members went from house to house. In 1923, the the Church of Christ on Union Avenue came to their rescue in helping to purchase land and a small building at Lauderdale and Iowa. The church worshiped there until they outgrew the small structure. In 1952, under the leadership of the elders, Brother Louis Rutldge, Brother A.L. Thompson, Brother Ocran Martin Sr. and other faithful brethren, land was purchased at 585 Vance Avenue. The minister at the time was Brother A.J. Colston. The work was such a good one that it soon became necessary to have a larger edifice. Souls were being saved and the church was growing, so the leadership decided to build on the lot next door and convert the old building into classrooms. Brother Nokomis Yeldell became the minister during this time. Brother Joe Holmes took a strong leadership in securing the financing and overseeing the construction of the building project at 585 Vance Avenue. Edgar Davis & Sons Inc. was the contractor. "The people had a mind to work."

In 1972, the congregation of the Church of Christ, under the leadership of the elders, began worshiping at 900 Thomas Street in North Memphis. Brother J.H. DeSarzant was the minister at this congregation. A the same time a larger edifice was being constructed at 1210 Rutland Road. In 1974 the congregation moved from the Thomas Street location into the new building on Rutland Road. The elders during this time were Brother A.L. Thompson, Brother Ocran Martin, and Brother Louis Rutledge. The deacons were Brother Jeff Steward, Brother Matt Griffin, Brother James Chandler, and Brother James Black.

Brother John DeBerry, Jr. became the new minister after Brother DeSarzant became ill and his health began to fail. The church worshiped at the Rutland location until the summer of 1986. After 12 years, the Rutland congregation grew in attendance until plans had to be made to either expand or relocate. The congregation moved to 2711 Ketchum Road after elders Samuel Lee, James Chandler and Jame Black negotiated with Airways Church of Christ for the purchase of the building. The older minister and some elders were now deceased, so more elders and deacons were appointed to meet the needs of the congregation. Brother Paul McKinney, Sr. Brother Russell Thomas, and Brother John Duckett were appointed as elders. Several deacons were also appointed during this time.

The work progressed and the membership continued to grow. Once again the people looked to the leadership for expansion. The elders met with the Knight Arnold Church of Christ brethren and an agreement was made to purchase the facility at 4400 Knight Arnold Road. Elders Samuel Lee and James Chandler died before final plans could be carried out. The property was purchased in 1999 and the congregation again relocated to a larger building with more accommodations to enhance the Lord's work. The church is now known as the Parkway Village Church of Christ.

In 2002, after 27 years of service, Brother John DeBerry, Jr. decided to take the work as minister of Coleman Avenue Church of Christ. Brother John Parker served as
interim minister for approximately 1 1/2 years and in 2003. Brother Bobby Green was appointed as full time minister. Brother Green served from 2003 - 2008.

In March of 2008, Four more brothers were appointed as elders. They were Carlton Dyer, Eddie Gray Jr., Paul McKinney Jr., and Paul McQueen. These younger brothers were appointed to serve with the existing elders, Brother James Black, Brother John Duckett, Brother Paul McKinney Sr., and Brother Russell Thomas. The brethren appointed to serve as deacons were Brother Eric Dyer and Brother Louis Jones Jr. In 2009, Brother John Duckett, elder, passed away. All other leaders are currently living.

Our present minister is Brother James Thomas and associate minister is Brother David Tillman. Both of these men are on fire for the Lord and bring sound teaching to this congregation.

We have most certainly progressed from Capleville house to house, to Iowa and Lauderdale, to 585 Vance Avenue, to 900 Thomas Street, to 1210 Rutland Road, to 2711 Ketchum Road, to our present location of 4400 Knight Arnold Road. From our roots, from past to present, we give thanks to God from whom all blessings flow!

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