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TA History of the Eastwood church of Christ
Every church begins as a dream in the hearts and minds of people. Out of such hearts and minds, Eastwood church of Christ became a reality in March of 1988. Two months earlier, three Haughton families (the Jerry Coker, Don Lowman, and Dwain Sadler families) met in their homes as a prelude to establishing a congregation in the area. Interested Christians were invited to explore that possibility. Approximately 20 met on March 1, 1988 and all voiced support for a congregation in Haughton. They decided to hold worship services in a rented building built by Boone Funeral Home. March 6, 1988 they had some 52 people in attendance that first Sunday morning in the rented building. They would later become known as the Eastwood church of Christ.
Two worship services and a Bible study were conducted on each Sunday with mid-week services on Wednesday evening. A building fund was established with the goal of locating a permanent location and erecting a building. Soon thereafter, the Eastwood congregation met at Platt gymnasium for two weeks (with no air conditioning) and then at T.L. Rhodes Elementary School (using the cafeteria and dining room area.) Very talented men of the congregation shared pulpit duties with other men and women teaching Bible classes. In September 1988, Mike Walton was hired as Eastwood’s first full-time evangelist. Steve Williams was the primary song leader. Don Lowman started a personal evangelism class. Jake Bloom initiated a visitation program. Jerry and Pam Coker, along with Bruce and Glenda Nichols, worked with the first group of young people, eighteen in all, between the ages of 12 to 18 years.
Eastwood’s membership grew to about 100 members during the first year. The members were aggressive in door knocking, home Bible studies, and efforts to solicit help in funding our building program. In July 1989, 7.22 acres of prime real estate was available at 4100 Highway 80 in Haughton. The property was purchased and plans for the building were developed. The site required extensive clearing and filling before construction could begin on the permanent building. The foundation for the building was laid on October 1990. Most of the congregation was present on the Saturday when the concrete was poured to either help or watch. Over the next months the Eastwood congregation worked long hours together to construct the building. It was an all-handseffort with back-breaking tasks. Many from outside the congregation also assisted in our efforts. There were ladies working side-by-side with the men hanging Sheetrock, painting, on the roof, or doing whatever was required. Finally, on February 16, 1992, the Eastwood church of Christ conducted its first worship service in the new building. Eastwood’s first baptism occurred after that first Sunday evening service when Mike Walton baptized Tony Aikens. But ironically, the first person baptized in the building happened two weeks earlier on February 2nd, when Karen Richards was baptized by her husband Todd.
Eastwood achieved a major milestone on May 2, 1998, when the mortgage on the building was paid off. Most of the Eastwood members attended a special mortgage burning ceremony on the grounds.