*1934* EIGHTY YEARS = FAITHFUL AND FRIENDLY *2014*
The Anderson Ferry Church of Christ came into being on December 2, 1934 after several months of prayer, planning, and preparation. A young seminary student, Robert Lillie, captured the vision of beginning a new church in the old Anderson Ferry School then located at the corner of River Road and Fenimore Street. The Holy Spirit continued to lead as arrangements were made with the school board to use this abandoned structure for the first home of the Anderson Ferry congregation. Robert Lillie canvassed the neighborhood and found a warm reception to the idea of a church being started in the Riverside area. Brother Lillie then preached a two week revival with great zeal and saw his vision come to fruition as the church became a reality when he acted on faith.
Eddie Forehand was called to be the first minister of our congregation as it met in that old school house. Firing up the furnace and trimming the kerosene lamps was as much a part of the service as the singing or preaching. But in 1936 a special offering of $26.25 was received and "lo, there was light - and it was very, very good" - no more kerosene lanterns - now you could flip a switch!
The congregation came together to worship on January 24, 1937, otherwise known as "Black Sunday," the date of the worst flood in the history of Cincinnati. The floodwaters were six feet deep on the road outside the school where the church had come together to worship! The first VBS program was held in 1937 at a cost of $5. Two young ladies from Cincinnati Bible Seminary were responsible for beginning this project.
In 1941 the old Anderson Ferry school building was condemned and the church now had to find another location for their meetings. The American Legion Hall became the second home of our family forefathers. Wise teachers arrived early to clean up the beer bottles and cigarettes (not to mention air out the place!) before the building was ready for Sunday School and Church each week! No wonder funds for the new building grew during this time!
World War II saw many of the church's young men go off to war. The church prayed, and sent cards, letters, and packages to assure these young men that they were not forgotten while they fought to protect the freedom of the country. Plans to build were abandoned as during these years the church concentrated on being a sanctuary of peace and hope in a world of turmoil and uncertainty.
The early ministers of our congregation were often students of the Cincinnati Bible College who preached at Anderson Ferry until their graduation then moved on to full-time ministries throughout the country.
1947 was a busy year for the congregation. This was the year the church decided whether to abandon or continue to persevere through opposition. The church did persevere, selected a new minister, and proceeded to adopt the articles of incorporation, and then set forth to build a new building of their very own.
On May 16, 1948, the new building on Hillside Avenue was dedicated to the glory of God and the furtherance of His Kingdom in this community. It was a thrilling time for the congregation as they saw their prayers answered as God blessed them with a beautiful new building.
During the ministry of Bob Ponchot (1963-65) the first bus was purchased by the church. An even more significant purchase was made - a parsonage and adjoining lot were acquired at 376 Greenwell! Soon construction was in full swing and greenhouses gave way to stately arches of a sanctuary that would seat 250 people. Ed Miller was the chairman of the building committee. On October 23, 1966, our present building was dedicated and people came from all around to join in the happy occasion.
The 80 year history of this congregation is a testimony of the faith, love, and labors of hundreds of individuals who sacrificially and unselfishly gave of themselves to the cause of Christ. One man who had a vision in 1934, pursued it in faith and God gave the increase. The future of our congregation also depends on faith - for "where there is no vision, the people perish." Let's dare to dream God's dream!!!