Church History

Church History
The Upper Whitman Union Church was organized on August 12, 1931, in the old Whitman 20 YMCA building built by Island Creek Coal Company. The church later became the 20 Whitman Community Church, the name which it bears today.

The YMCA building housed facilities including a basketball court, where the church services were held, a theater, barber shop and a pool room. 

When the YMCA was destroyed by fire, the church moved services to the old Whitman 20 Grade School building. Work was started on remodeling an old feed storage building into a church, but that building was also destroyed by fire.
Island Creek Coal Company began work on a new church building downstream of the YMCA and the formal dedication of the new building was held on December 11, 1928. The principal speaker was C.C. Chambers, who was judge of the Logan Circuit Court at that time.

Record of the church since its founding in 1931 are intact and complete in almost every detail.

When the church was first organized, there were 27 charter members. They are listed in the church record as Minnie Bentley, Mollie Mercer, Roy Thompson, Frankie Mason, Nona Whatley, Mary Fussell, John Pinson, Milford Wilcox, Thurston Cox, Clara Cox, Millard Hager, Rev. Dennie Roberts, Benton Mercer, Mary Callihan, Lillian Hager, Bessie Akers, Bertha Tacket, N.B. Tackett, Anice Frye, Cora Dawson, William Perry, Frankie Perry, Elezabeth Music and B.S. Waugh.

The church has had six pastors since its founding in 1931. The first pastor was Dennie Roberts, who served until his death on November 23, 1967, with the exception of one year (1941-1942) when Jeff Curry filled in. Jerry Stidam followed Bro. Roberts as pastor on November 29, 1967 and served until he had a heart attack on October 4, 1968. Lowell Webb was then selected as pastor and served until 1974, when he was transferred in his job with Island Creek to Kentucky. Danny Curry assumed the pastorship of the church until 1980 when he transferred to Kentucky. Raymond Bumgarner was then selected pastor and served until 1982. That's when the church selected our present pastor, Joaquine Ooten to become the Pastor of the 20 Whitman Community Church.
The original sanctuary contained three Sunday School rooms on the back of the church. Later, three more were added to the upstream side of the church. This came about by Rev. Stidham who noticed that the Island Creek Coal Company carpenters were doing work on another church in the area and made a request to Island Creek to build three more classrooms. Island Creek granted the request.

For years the building was owned by Island Creek Coal Company and all maintenance was provided by them until their surface properties were taken over by Georgia Pacific Corporation. Not long after taking over the property, Georgia Pacific sold the church building to the congregation for $500.

In 1980, a fellowship hall was constructed next to the church. In 1988, it was doubled in size to accomodate the church's growth and needs.

In 1989, an indoor baptistry was installed in the church. It is the same baptistry that is in the present church.

In January 1992, the congregation voted to begin an extensive building project to build a new sanctuary because of the increased growth. Work commenced on April 20, 1992, the Monday following Easter Sunday. Just 4 months and 10 days later, dedication of the new and present day church building was held on August 30, 1992.

In September of 2009, work started on the construction of a new gymnasium building adjacent to the church. Work on the gym was completed in November 2010. Since then, the gym and building has been used for various basketball leagues, church plays, concerts and revivial meetings.

There has been so much work, prayer and dedication on behalf of all to reach the point we are at today. That includes all those from the original charter members in 1931 to the church members today, who have been dedicated to God's word and seeing souls saved.