A History of the Maplewood church of Christ
The Maplewood congregation was established February 6,1944, started with ten families living in Dupo and unincorporated Village of Maplewood Park (annexed later into the Village of Cahokia, now Cahokia Heights, IL). Most were members of the Rosemont Church of Christ which became State Street Church of Christ and now is the Fairview Hgts Church of Christ (relocated due to the I-270 interstate construction). Our nation was engaged in World War II and gasoline was rationed. Consequently, theses families had great difficulty, even with car pooling, in meeting with the Christians for all of the designated services. As is often the case, adversity resulted in the scattering and growing of the Kingdom. As a result, the Maplewood Church of Christ congregation started.
In November, 1943, the construction of a 36’ x 40’ basement structure was started by the men of the new congregation at a cost of $1,605.14 (or, $25,450 in 2022) on two lots that had cost $800.00 (or, $12,675 in 2022). There were 117 present at the first worship service on February 6, 1944. Bro. Otis J. Harmon delivered the sermon on that day and the contribution was $75.25 (or, $1,110 in 2022). Faithful Charter members are still attending services and instrumental to the work by this congregation today.
In the summer of 1947, a 20-foot addition and oil-fired heating plant was added to the 1944 construction. The work was done totally by the men of the congregation except for the laying of the block. This increased the facility footprint to 36' x 60'. The total cost for this project was $2,200 (or, $27,500 in 2022).
In 1949, a new building, the auditorium, was constructed on top of the 1944/1947 basement/foundation. The basement was converted into classrooms, fellowship hall, toilets, and kitchen area. Construction of the new building started on August 15th by Walter Remelius, a contractor located in Dupo, IL. He completed the framing of the new building in 90-days. The men of the congregation completed the interior. The total cost for this construction was $13,000 (or, $152,300 in 2022). Monroe Harvey delivered the first sermon in the new auditorium during the morning services that started at 10:45AM that first day. Dedication of the new building started later at 2:30PM after a basket luncheon. Dedication speaker was by Dr. O.J. Harmon of Collinsville, IL. The Elders were E.C. Williams and C.W. Langwith. The Deacons were William Earhhart (Sr.) and C.G. Goodman. The approximate active membership at this time was 75.
On March 9, 1950, the congregation was incorporated under the State of Illinois Religious Corporation Act as a Religious Corporation and officially named "Maplewood Church of Christ". The original Trustee’s were Clarence Langwith, Elmer Williams, Bertran Douglas, and James Harris.
In 1951, a lot was purchased and the ministers home was constructed at 3520 Falling Springs Rd (located across the street from the building). On July 17, 1952, R.L. Thomas, then minister, moved into the new home.
During Bro. Hampton's ministry (1960-1963), the congregation outgrew the 1949 auditorium. The lots to the north of the 1949 campus, to Julian Avenue, was purchased for $3,200 (or, $29,800 in 2022).
On May 11, 1961, architect C. Morris was contracted to design the new auditorium building, connecting breezeway, and renovation of the existing 1943/44/49 building. The design and plans were developed and finalized and issued for bidding. On April 1, 1962, Grenkhahan Construction Co. was contracted to construct the building. Construction started immediately. The project was overseen by a building committee consisting of Bertram C. Douglas (chairman), James A. Tolley, Wendall Williams, and David Sitzes, with Clarence Langwith and J.W. Austin being appointed later.
In April, 1962, work started on a new auditorium building, 3530 Falling Springs Rd., to be constructed on our campus, adjacent to the existing building. It would have a seating capacity of 525, toilets, and cry room, and an enclosed breezeway would be constructed to connect the existing and new structures. The 1944 structure was renovated into an educational building with classrooms, toilets, fellowship room with kitchen. Construction was completed in 1963. Total contract cost was $139,000 (or, $1,266,500 in 2022). To cover the new construction and improvements (bricking fascade) to the 1949 building, a total loan of $146,000 (or, $1,330,000 in 2022) was secured with thirty-nine payments of $860.00/mnth and one final payment of $657.17.
The new building was immediately used. The first worship service was on Sunday, May 12, 1963. Robert C. Hampton, the minister at this time, delivered the first sermon. A dedication service for the new auditorium was held on Sunday, June 2, 1963. 288 attended the dedication. Of the 200 active members, 25 of those present that day too were charter members (original group) who first attended on February 6,1944. and preached the first sermon in the new auditorium: It was an exciting time in our history. Membership during this time was approximately 200.
During Milton E. Truex ministry (12/1963 - 2, 1967), the congregation continued to grow and the adjacent house and property to the south of the campus, at 3534 Falling Springs Rd, was purchased for $8,500 (or, $75,250 in 2022) to provide needed additional parking.
On February 28, 1982, the building program financing was totally paid. Total financed over approximately 20-years was $206,197.17. Since this time, new heating and air conditioning units have been installed in both the 1949 and 1963 buildings in addition to many years of maintenance, repairs, and upgrades completed by brothers and sisters of the congregation.
Today, the Maplewood Church of Christ continues to serve Cahokia Heights, Dupo, and surrounding areas. We continue to grow in the Spirit and in the truth and power of God's Word - by the mercy and grace of God’s steadfast love. We strive to share this with those who are seeking to learn and know God and become a part of His Church as they were created to be - all through faith in Jesus Christ.
As we think upon the work of the Lord it is only fitting and proper that we consider those whom He used that labored among us then and still today. A host of others, though not elders, deacons, or ministers at Maplewood, were used by God for encouragement, edification/teaching, serving, and sharing the Gospel with many souls. As time marches on there will no doubt be other changes in the Maplewood congregation and to these facilities which we will see and remember well. Only in eternity, where there will be no buildings like those that are built here, will all the works of God here at Maplewood be revealed into eternity.
We strive to follow in the footsteps of Jesus as we have learned to live from His teachings, the breaking of bread, the Apostles teachings - the Way: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I (Jesus) have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 (ESV)
A shepherd is responsible for the teachings, growth and development, and direction of the congregation. A shepherd shall be long-time, mature Christian males appointed based on the Apostles teachings in 1 Timothy 3:1-7; 1Timothy 5:17-19; and, Titus 1:6-9. Varying from any one of these “qualifications” will only jeopardize a man’s ability to serve as a shepherd in the Lord’s Church and potentially hurt/destroy them spiritually.
A shepherd is also called an elder, an overseer, or a pastor. Shepherds do not “rule” over the congregation. They are members as all the others are - just serving in a different capacity. This capacity includes the responsibility of the spiritual sustainability, growth, and development of the congregation and, as such, will offer leadership, correction, and/or, when required, correction. Elders/overseers/pastors are the shepherds of the flock (congregation) following the teaching of the Great Shepherd, Jesus, the head of the Church.
Deacons are Christian males assigned specific or select tasks/duties within the congregation. Deacons are appointed based on the Apostles teachings in 1 Timothy 3:3-13.
Some of the important tasks/duties include treasurer, missions, building maintenance, Bible classes, and other various duties that may be continuous or time-limited.
Each week during the assembly and worship, a speaker that is selected from one of our brothers or as a guest speaker from a sister congregation, provides lessons from God’s Word for the encouragement and edification of the members. We presently are blessed to have five speakers that are on a rotating schedule each month. Selection and scheduling is by an elder.
Based on the teachings of Christ – we are all teachers. We strive to help each other find and/or learn about the talents and abilities that God has given each member according to His grace. Specific for the purposes of edification and uplifting each other. In the true essence of Ephesians 4:15-16, we strive to be sure the opportunity exists so this is fulfilled: “… into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” (ESV)
Christian men and women have the opportunity to teach various Bible classes from children, youth, women and men only studies, and adult classes.