Last of the ‘living water’
SILVER POINT, Tenn. — From her front porch, adorned with…
Rudy Taylor, who attended Oklahoma Christian College — now Oklahoma Christian University — in 1964-65, recently wrote a small book about a congregation that was a pioneer in rural evangelism.
“A Kind Remembrance — Stories about a small church in the Oklahoma hills where a brush arbor meeting touched the hearts of future generations,” gives a century-old history of the Timber Hill Church of Christ, located four miles west of Bluejacket.
The book is only 67 pages in length but tells the story of a young, self-taught evangelist, A.C. Williams, who came to the farming and mining community in 1921 to hold a gospel meeting in a country school yard. There were no members of the Church of Christ in the community, so the 21-year-old Williams saw the fields as white unto harvest.
At the end of two weeks, dozens of people had made the 2-mile trek to the Big Cabin Creek where baptisms were performed. Williams’ teenage brother, Lawrence, helped by leading singing and doing his share of immersions.
After A.C. Williams left the community to preach in congregations throughout Oklahoma and Kansas, Lawrence stayed at Timber Hill and became the preacher. Two of the converts, Les Taylor and Charles Walker, constructed a small building that was the meeting place for the congregation until lightning set it ablaze in 1962 and burned it to the ground.
Related: Last of the ‘living water’
A new building was constructed a mile away, and it remains today. Services are held weekly, led by various part-time ministers.
But the story that Taylor tells in his book is one that leads to legends in the Church of Christ fellowship. The two carpenters, Charles Walker and Les Taylor, were parents to Ross and Grace (Walker) Taylor, who sent their children to Central Christian College and Oklahoma Christian College.
With those spiritual roots, their children sent their children to Harding University, Abilene Christian University, Pepperdine University, Freed-Hardeman University, Bethel College and many other colleges where they branched into many avenues of church leadership, missions and other elements of the Lord’s work around the world.
Had the brush arbor experience at Timber Hill not happened, then Ross and Grace Taylor might never have become Christians — nor Donna (Taylor) Mitchell, Terrel Taylor, Rudy Taylor, Shirley (Taylor) Helms and Karen (Taylor) Harmon.
Add their childrens’ names to the church ancestors, and the list surely numbers into the hundreds.
Author Rudy Taylor’s reason for penning the book was to help celebrate the congregation’s 100th anniversary, and to give younger members of his family, and many other church members, a dot on their timeline for spiritual and family reference.
Although he kept a few of the books for personal distribution, they are not for sale. Taylor gives them to anyone who might point back to this hilly community of northeast Oklahoma as their spiritual basis: where their parents, grandparents or great-grandparents were baptized after hearing the gospel preached in a 1921 brush arbor gospel meeting.
Taylor is a former OC student from the 1960s, as is his wife, Kathy. They now reside in Caney, Kan., where they publish newspapers with two of their adult children. They can be reached at [email protected].
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