Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 28, 1952

Forest Hill Church, Richmond, Virginia

The congregation established in 1946 at 1208 West 41st Street in Richmond, Virginia, under the oversight of the elders of the Highland Park church of this city with a charter membership of twenty-nine (29) became self-supporting for the first time in 1951. Purchase of a building, previously used by the Presbyterians, for $6,000 and rearrangement of the interior to provide suitable classrooms, baptistery, etc., at an additional cost of $1,000 was made possible by the good and liberal fellowship of certain churches in Tennessee, Texas and Alabama, as well as the Highland Park congregation and its individual members. The meetinghouse which has been described as the most typical community house of worship in the city of Richmond probably could not be replaced on today's market for $20,000.

Brother Thomas H. Tarbet, Jr., who for several years previously had served capably as evangelist at Highland Park and whose sincere interest in seeing the sphere of the church enlarged was a motivating influence in establishing the new work, was the first minister and was supported entirely for two and one-half years by the church in Franklin, Tennessee. Brother J. L. Jackson who was then minister of that congregation was familiar with the work in Richmond and was in position to advise the other elders of the Franklin church of the opportunities in establishing the cause of Christ in that part of the city south of the James river where a number of local members resided.

The work prospered from the beginning and while growth has not been spectacular there has been gradual advancement. Elders and deacons were installed in March, 1948. Brother Tarbet left later that year to take up the work in Hobbs, New Mexico, and was followed by brother Curtis C. Combs who served until January, 1951, and was supported in part by the Franklin church. This assistance was discontinued at the end of 1950 and in February, 1961 brother William E. Curry came to Forest Hill as evangelist. He is an able preacher, a sincere Christian and a real inspiration to the membership. At the time of his coming the congregation was not entirely able to furnish his support and he assisted with the preaching for the small congregations at Petersburg and South Hill, Virginia, receiving a portion of his salary for a time from the Petersburg and Hopewell congregations.

Brother Mark Hicks is now laboring with the Peters- burg church, therefore, support from that source was withdrawn several months ago and the contribution from Hopewell to aid in our efforts to establish the work more firmly in South Hill was discontinued at the end of 1951.

At the beginning of the work weekly contributions of the twenty-nine members averaged $36 during 1946 and 1947. Average weekly offerings were $82.10 for 1951 and average attendance about 70. During the last nine weeks of the year average attendance has been above 80 and contributions almost $97 per Sunday. That of the last Lord's Day, December 30, 1951 was $112.39 indicating the willingness of the membership to "put first things first."

During the second and third years of the work here Chapel Avenue church, Nashville, Tennessee, furnished the services of brother Ira A. Douthitt to preach in two series of meetings and in 1950 brother Harris J. Dark conducted an eight-day meeting. Brother Nelson Smith, Front Royal, Virginia, also conducted two meetings while laboring with the Portsmouth congregation. Brother Bryan Vinson, Dallas, Texas, preached in an eight-day meeting in September, 1951, and will return in 1952 if it is possible to schedule such a meeting.

Brethren Charles Lemons of Rockwood, Tennessee, and Ross Swindler, Parkersburg, W. Va., each visited and preached at 6:30 p.m. Sunday services while conducting meetings for the Hopewell church. Brother Lemons will begin a meeting here the third, Sunday in September, 1952. Brother Robert Cooper, minister, and many other members from! Hopewell have visited with us and encouraged the work. Brother Rex Newborn, minister of the Highland Park church, has preached for us on an exchange basis with brother Curry and will do the preaching in a meeting in May, 1952, the Lord willing. During the past several student preachers including Clyde Balderson, Jr., Wiley Adams, Hans Novak, and Buddy Arnold have filled the pulpit and all have brought excellent sermons from the word of God. We have also had visitors from Canada to California during 1951.

From the beginning the congregation has felt the responsibility of spreading the gospel on a local, regional and universal scale and the past year has seen the greatest effort yet on the part of the church to carry out such a program (without participation in the plan of some large "sponsoring" church).

The main purpose of this report is to let those who have had a part in supporting this work, know that their efforts and investment have been deeply appreciated and that they have not been expended in vain. Also to encourage churches and individuals in position to do so, to give aid to many places in Virginia in need of assistance similar to that given this church, South Hill being a specific case in point.

With sincere thanks to all our friends who have had a part in this great work we extend our heartfelt thanks and a cordial invitation to visit with us in the beautiful Forest Hills of Richmond.


W. A. Lyell Earl Alderman