The humble beginning of the Arthur Christian Church was in the county’s new two-room schoolhouse (which is now a tobacco pack house on the Trilby and Davis Harris farm). Preaching began in 1907 with only 2-3 people committed to the cause.
During the week following March 25, 1908, Samuel W. Sumrell held a revival in the aforementioned schoolhouse. This resulted in 10 baptisms, all good young people said the preacher. He arranged to give them monthly preaching and confidently asserted, we can organize here soon.
Following a church extension pattern of long standing, it was arranged to have the Hookerton Union to meet with them on November 29, 1908. Mrs. Charles E. McLawhorn, an active correspondent for them, reported that they were very anxious to bulid a church, though their membership was small. In the spring of 1909, G. Hinton Crumpler, a student at Atlantic Christian College, was preaching there each third Sunday. He reported that their church school was well organized, with Charles E. McLawhorn as Superintendent.
In November, 1909, a church lot in the village of Arthur was obtained from Jim Crawford and the present name was assumed for the new church. The Hookerton Union contributed $50.00 for the burgeoning work. R.E. Willoughby was the Arthur treasurer, and during this time, $280.00 was pledged toward the erection of the building.
In October, 1910, Sumrell and Cecil F. Outlaw held a revival. The church was â€œwell on the wayâ€ and they â€œhoped to occupy it soon.â€ They thought it would â€œbe much better than the schoolhouse although the good and faithful workers and other good people are ready to come in with us when we get in the new church.
Timber was obtained from the Smith and McLawhorn property behind the school and was cut at the Smith Town saw Mill (now Trilby and Davis Harris’ home site). Construction was slow in the beginning using the membership (consisting mainly of farmers ) working in their off seasons or when the weather would not allow them in the fields.
The church was revitalized and increased by the annual revivals. In 1925, it was led by G.H. Sullivan with 8 added; and in 1936 by T.W. Bowen with 33 added, with 133 enrolled in Bible Drill. John L. Goff held the 1938 meeting, with 13 baptisms using the Farmville Baptistry.
In December 1938, Paul S. Rasberry, a local layman, donated the foundation material for three projected religious education rooms to be constructed at the rear of the church. These rooms were put into service in 1939. During the same year, Mark H. Smith gave a two-story, eight room house in the village that was used as the first parsonage. Many years later, this huge house was acquired by J.B. Nichols and subdivided into several small houses which are still in use today.
On November 7, 1943, the service flag was dedicated with C.B. Mashburn bringing the message and recognizing the 29 from his church in the Service (World War II). The next year, 1944, the church advanced to the half-time pastorate, and the church treasury had a balance of $192.93, after all debts were paid.
In the summer of 1951, the religious education rooms were remodeled and a kitchen was added. In 1954, the steeple was replaced, the church was underpinned, insulated and painted inside. The project cost over $1000.00 plus labor given by the men of the church.
In April of 1955, Frank Wibiral organized the local C.M.F and in October of the same year, ground was broken for a new, six-room brick parsonage on land acquired from J.B. Nichols. By March, 1956, it was completed. At this time, Arthur had entered the pastoral unity with Grimesland.
In 1959, revival was held in June with 19 additions by Jack M. Baniell, Farmville’s Pastor. Charles Carraway was C.M.F. President during this period.
With the addition of brick, carpeting, new windows and pews, our church was made more attractive and comfortable. The baptistry and organ were donated as well as many other church accessories by individuals, and sometimes, by entire families. Work was completed in 1970 with the entire congregation pleased with their accomplishment.
In 1974, our fellowship hall was built on property donated by Mack G. Smith. Work days and nights were scheduled throughout the year with members that were electricians, carpenters, plumbers, or any trade that was useful to complete this task. Shortly after completion, adjacent property was donated by the Webb family for future expansion or use as picnic grounds.
Again in 1979, the men in the church were called upon to add a front porch and vestibule. Once again, work days and nights were scheduled to meet this task. This project was financed by the ladies of the church with funds obtained from one of their many successful Fall Festivals.
In 1984, an annex was completed on the Fellowship Hall, which gave us three additional Sunday School classrooms and an assembly room, which is used for the Junior Church. In 1992, the men completed a Picnic Shelter located next to the Fellowship Hall.
Throughout the history of our church, you will notice three things: 1) Arthur members work together to reach their common goals; 2) they love each other and above all; 3) they have had a strong love for the Lord and His work for one hundred and two (102) years.