The Origins of the Churches of Christ in Bibb County, Alabama

Bibb County, Alabama, has been home to at least four Churches of Christ throughout its history—the Centreville, North Bibb, Pea Ridge, and West Blocton congregations.[1]Although the Restoration Movement dates back to the early nineteenth century in Alabama, its development in Bibb County was significantly slower. While gathering research for his history of Alabama Churches of Christ, originally compiled in the early 1940s, Asa M. Plyler described the county and surrounding area as “A fine scope of Gods [sic] good earth without a single congregation so far as we have been able to find.”[2] Fortunately, Plyler’s observation would not remain accurate for long, as members of the Picket (or Pickett) family moved from Birmingham to West Blocton and began meeting with a few other scattered believers around the same time.[3]

In 1942, David Pickett and Benjamin Polk Williams purchased a building from the local Episcopal congregation, a facility which would serve as the home of the West Blocton Church of Christ for the better part of a decade.[4] In the early 1950s, the group of believers purchased a storefront property on Main Street,[5] but then in 1958 acquired land and built a new facility on Highway 5.[6] Two years later, in 1960, the J.D. Mosley family began its first work with the congregation, lasting five years. After spending the subsequent five years elsewhere, the Mosleys returned to West Blocton in 1970 and began a second stint of work which would extend to nearly three decades. Later that same decade, the West Blocton church bought the land for its present building, finishing construction in February 1992. The Mosley family’s work finished up in 1997 and was followed by that of the Lee Forsythe family.[7]

The Pea Ridge Church of Christ, located in the Marvel community, was also active during this period, though sources differ as to whether the congregation was located in Bibb County or in neighboring Shelby County. Writing in the 1940s, Asa M. Plyler does mention that “Pearidge [sic] is the name of another meeting place out in the country,” but he places the congregation in Shelby rather than in Bibb. Plyler continues, “This group meets regular [sic] for worship, but they are also some what [sic] handicapped without sufficient leadership and gospel preaching.”[8] Conversely, the Pea Ridge church was the sole congregation listed for Bibb County in a 1976 directory of Churches of Christ in Alabama.[9] Regardless of its exact location, the congregation had to overcome a significant tragedy in 1962 when its minister, Wayne Bailey, and his eleven-year-old son, Ronald, drowned while on a fishing trip on the Cahaba River.[10]

The mid-1970s proved to be momentous times for what would ultimately become the Centreville Church of Christ. In 1973, a group of Christians began meeting at the West Blocton home of the Vining family, and the next year, these believers moved their assembly downtown and temporarily became the Main Street congregation.[11] Illustrating how local stories always connect to outside historical developments, the Hackleburg Church of Christ in Marion County, Alabama, decided in 1975 to sponsor a work, including the construction of a building on Highway 25, in Centreville.[12] This new congregation, into which the Main Street membership was incorporated, first met together at that new facility in January 1977.[13]In 1998, a brief congregational history of the Centreville Church of Christ was published in the Heritage of Bibb County, Alabama compilation; at the time, Bill Wheeler served as the preacher, and the congregation had a membership of nearly fifty.[14]

The youngest congregation in Bibb County, the North Bibb Church of Christ, dates at least to 2013. The congregation maintains an active online presence and regularly hosts gospel meetings, including internet-based meetings during the summers of 2020 and 2021.[15]

[1] All but the first are noninstitutional congregations, as evidenced by their inclusion in the directory at “CoC – Alabama,” The Good Fight, The Pea Ridge congregation is listed in this particular directory as being located in the Shelby County community of Montevallo, evincing the disagreement within the historical record which I mention later in this essay.

[2] Asa M. Plyler, Historical Sketches of the Churches of Christ in Alabama (Henderson, TN: Hester Publications), 153. Dabney Phillips, in A History of the Church of Christ in Alabama (1990), does not identify any congregations in the county, though there were at least two at the time of his writing.

[3] J.D. Mosley, “History of West Blocton Church of Christ,”

[4] Charles Edward Adams, Blocton: The History of an Alabama Coal Mining Town (Brierfield, AL: Cahaba Trace Commission, 2001), 62.

[5] Mosley, “History of West Blocton Church of Christ”; Adams, Blocton, 62.

[6] Mosley, “History of West Blocton Church of Christ”; Adams, Blocton, 260.

[7] Mosley, “History of West Blocton Church of Christ.”

[8] Plyler, Historical Sketches, 154-155.

[9] Ernest Clevenger Jr., 1976 Directory Alabama Churches of Christ (Birmingham, AL: Parchment Press, 1976), 11, 34.

[10] “Wayne Milton Bailey (1927-1962)” Find a Grave,

[11] “Centreville Church of Christ,” in The Heritage of Bibb County, Alabama (Clanton, AL: Heritage Publishing Consultants, Inc., 1998), 36.

[12] According to Lola (Isom) Mann, “Churches in the Hackleburg, Alabama Area,” in The Heritage of Marion County, Alabama (Clanton, AL: Heritage Publishing Consultants, Inc., 2000), 46, the Church of Christ in Hackleburg dates to around 1912. Plyler, in Historical Sketches, 81, describes the church as “a splendid congregation meeting there and they own a nice building and in a good location also.”

[13] “Centreville Church of Christ,” 36.

[14] “Centreville Church of Christ,” 36.

[15] The congregation’s Facebook page ( was created on August 14, 2013. Inquiries to the congregation to gather more information on its history have not been successful so far.

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