The Center Chapel Church of Christ congregation began in 1906 in the Dodoburg Community, which included a decommissioned post office, general store, blacksmith shop, mill, an undertaker and a cabinet maker. The small farming community featured dedicated Christian families but no church building, so they built one.
The first acre of land was donated by George (Dodoburg’s first postmaster) and Mary Wright. It was given in trust to W.L. Philpot (undertaker) and J.N. Carver (cabinet maker), who served as the first elders. The handwritten deed said the land was to be used for the church building on two conditions: The congregation had to follow New Testament teachings and never introduce an organ or instrumental music into worship.
R.C. Cullum, the speaker at the first gospel meeting, is credited with suggesting the name Center Chapel because of its central location between Mt. Juliet Church of Christ and Corinth Church of Christ. The congregation celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2006 with some descendants of the original members in attendance.
Notable dates include:
1906: Center Chapel Church of Christ congregation began.
1946: Lumber was purchased from Old Martha School House to build the first classrooms. New members were baptized in a creek at the Carrie Duke farm off Beckwith Road and in Burnetts Lake off Rutland Road.
1954: Baptistery was built, auditorium ceiling lowered and foyer added.
1964: Property (0.45 acre) was purchased for $1,200, from Mr. and Mrs. E.R. Woolard.
1978: Building was bricked and parking lot paved.
1980: A stand-alone multi-purpose building was constructed. Also, the auditorium was expanded and new benches were added as the congregation grew.
1986: Four classrooms were added to connect the auditorium to fellowship hall.
1989: Land was purchased from Mildred Moss. It was at the current site of the east side of the auditorium.
1992: More land was donated by Linda Wright Nipp and J. Douglas Wright Jr., both great-grandchildren of George and Mary Wright. Ground was broken to build the current auditorium. The debt was paid off in only five years.
2000: New fellowship hall was built, and the old fellowship hall was converted into classroom space. That expanded the building to about 20,000 square feet.
2005: Land was donated and purchased from the family of Jesse Jenkins. Also, additional land was donated by descendants of the Wright family (Bob and Linda Nipp).
2014: Under the elders’ direction, a master plan for long-term growth was developed to match the community’s rising population.
2015: A new wing of classrooms was built to support the congregation’s growing numbers, and a large connecting hallway was added to the back of the auditorium.
2017: A new youth room and offices were built inside the existing structure in an area where classrooms previously stood.
2019: New Kitchen remodel.
Past elders: William Lee Philpot, Jonas N. Carver, Joe Eakes, Ammon Wright, Birdie Castleman, John McCulloch, Elbert Hutchens, Perry Burnett, Leroy Martin, Aubrey Begarly, Roy Rader, Grafton Graves, Howard Lane, Walter Long, James Stamps, Odie L. Graves Jr., Herman Coleman, Bobby Patton, Bud Earhart, Danny McGuire, John Hiter, Jimmy Tomlin.
Past ministers: R.G. Cullum, Vester Cawthon, Cornelius Abbott, C.L. Overturff, James Siegenthaler, Jim Hayes, Danny Eubanks, Jim Wilson, Ed Sumey, Howard Tucker, Darrell Davis, Bill Heartline, Damon Daniels, Jessie Long Jr., Robert Taylor, Paul Dillingham, Gentry Stults, Jerry Menefee, Malcolm George, Ed Malugen, John Brown, Darrell Duncan, Tristan Wheeler (youth), David Lee ( youth).