The physical origin of the Southeast Tenth Avenue Church of Christ can be traced to the city of Alachua, Florida, the first African-American Church of Christ in Alachua County. In 1932, Brother J. Varner was invited to conduct a gospel meeting for the Alachua Church. One year later, Brother Varner was invited to come to Gainesville, Florida, to conduct a tent meeting on a potential church sight at 412 N.W. 4th Avenue.
The meeting was successful and a small group of baptized believers continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine under the leadership of Brother David Shores, Brother John Mac Author, and Brother Halenburg, and others in the homes of various members. The Fourth Avenue Church of Christ was established in the mid-thirties and was the only congregation of the Churches of Christ in Gainesville, Florida, where African-Americans could worship, until the early fifties.
In 1942, Author Goines and his wife, Idella, were baptized into the Lord’s body by Bro. David Shores, who was serving in the capacity of Minister for the Fourth Avenue congregation. It was a time of phenomenal growth in the Lord’s church. The Fourth Avenue Church, being missionary minded, was instrumental in establishing the Lord’s church in Trenton, Florida.
In 1943, Brother Author Goines was asked to take over as minister at the Trenton congregation. In 1945, Mr. and Mrs. B. T. Densen were baptized into the Lord’s church at 4th Avenue by Bro. Homer Black. At that time, Brothers John Tumblin and Sam Woods were serving as Elders of the Fourth Avenue congregation.
During the period of the late forties and early fifties, the leadership of the Fourth Avenue congregation saw the need to provide a physical congregational location for African-Americans in the Southeast quadrant of Gainesville. As a result, a committee was organized to search for a potential building site.
In 1952, a site was selected for the Lord’s church in the Southeast Springhill quadrant of Gainesville. The Springhill Church of Christ was set up on what is today the site of Lincoln Middle School, (formally the site of Lincoln High School which opened in the 1951-1952 school year). Brother Author Goines became the first minister of the Springhill Church of Christ in 1952.
At the time of the establishment of the Springhill Church of Christ, a small group of members of the Fourth Avenue congregation living in the rapidly developing northeast quadrant of Gainesville wanted to secure a site in the northeast quadrant where African-American would be able to worship. In 1954, a site was selected at the corner of N.E. Fifteenth Street and N.E. Fifth Avenue. Hence, the Fifteenth Street Church of Christ began to worship under the leadership of Brother John Tumblin.
During the period of the mid to late fifties to the early seventies, there were three congregations of the Churches of Christ in Gainesville, Florida, where African-American were able to worship. These congregations were the Fourth Avenue Church of Christ, the Springhill Church of Christ, and the Fifteenth Street Church of Christ.
In 1953, the Springhill Church of Christ, (which was located on property that would become the site of the new Lincoln High School) was relocated to its present site at Southeast Tenth Avenue. This relocation was the result of an offer to purchase the land of the original church site by the School Board of Alachua County to construct the new high school. After agreeing to the offer of purchase, the Springhill Church of Christ took possession of parcels of land in the 1000 block of Southeast Tenth Avenue. The original sanctuary was sited at 1034 S.E. Tenth Avenue and remains at this site for all congregational worship services to this day.
In 1963, all worship services, and business of the Fifteenth Street Church of Christ was suspended, and the building and land sat dormant, until the fall of 1974. Brother Author Goines served as the minister of the Springhill Church of Christ from its inception in 1952 thru 1972, when his health would not allow him to proceed in that capacity. During his tenure as the minister, Brother Goines not only taught and preached the gospel, but he laid the foundation and assisted in the construction of both church buildings.
In 1974, Brother C. A. Hall was selected by the leadership of the Fourth Avenue Church to be its minister, following a long tradition of excellence in its pulpit. At the same time, the Springhill congregation, looking to continue its pulpit excellence, searched for a man with the same caliber as Brother Author Goines to lead the Springhill Church. After much prayer, Fourth Avenue and Springhill began discussions about the merging of the two congregations.
In 1975, the Springhill Church of Christ and the Fourth Avenue Church of Christ merged to become the Southeast Tenth Avenue Church of Christ, with Brother C.A. Hall as its first minister. From 1976 thru 1982, Tenth Avenue, a faithful, loving church prospered under the leadership of its Minister C. A. Hall, Elders : B.T. Denson, John Neal, and Raymond Ewell, and Deacons: Don Dickerson, Junior, and Johnny Moore, Senior.
The church’s leadership changed in 1982, Brother Charles Richardson of Lakeland, Florida, and Brother Bobby Gibson of Jacksonville, Florida, served in the capacity of Ministers at the Southeast Tenth Avenue Church of Christ for brief tenures. In the fall of 1982, church leaders selected a convert of Brother Author Goines, Brother Jimmy Ferguson, to become its next minister.
Brother Jimmy Ferguson, his wife Hazella, and their family had been serving as the ministering family for the Lord’s church in Trenton, Florida. During his tenure at Southeast Tenth Avenue, he trained many young men to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Bro. Ferguson sustained thriving outreach ministries, such as: the Gainesville Work Camp, Santa Fe Work Release, WTMN Radio Program, and the Tacachale Community Center. He served the Southeast Tenth Avenue Church faithfully and courageously for nineteen years. Upon his death in 2001, church leaders selected a young man from Winter Haven, Florida, Brother Al Jackson, to become its next minister in August, 2001.
Brother Al Jackson, his wife Anisha, and their children were positive role models during their time serving at the Tenth Avenue congregation. Brother and Sister Jackson were extremely delighted and thankful to the Lord, when their daughter was added to the church through baptism on October 22, 2008. Bro. Jackson continued the Prison and Radio ministries that Bro. Ferguson established. Furthermore, he initiated thriving married, single, college, and youth ministries.
Through Brother Jackson’s spiritual growth, he was invited as a guest speaker at the national Spiritual Growth Workshop in Orlando, Florida, several singles and youth lectureships throughout Florida, neighboring gospel meetings, and twice at the annual “Sweetheart Banquet” and worship in Columbus, Georgia. As Bro. Jackson’s ministry led him to Northside Church of Christ, in Jacksonville, Florida, God sent Southeast Tenth Avenue a powerful young man of God who loves the Gospel, Bro. Adrian B. Harper, Jr.
Bro. Adrian B. Harper, Jr. became Minister of Southeast Tenth Avenue Church of Christ on January 1, 2015, and is still laboring there today. He, his lovely wife, Laquasia, and their three children, AJ, Lauryn and Elijah have truly been a blessing to us from God.
Throughout the years, the Lord has added many souls to His Church, the Church of Christ at the Southeast Tenth Avenue congregation, whose mission is to save souls, and keep souls saved.
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