The History of the Southeastern Regional Lectureship
The annual Southeastern Lectureship of the Churches of Christ resulted from a conversation between James Kennedy, the Minister of the Church of Christ at I-85 in Greenville, SC and Andrew J. Hairston, the Minister of the Simpson Street Church of Christ in Atlanta, GA. They discussed the possibility of an annual lectureship in the Southeastern Region of the country that focused on issues that Churches of Christ in the Southeast might face. Upon their agreement that the lectureship held potential for the health of the church, Kennedy and Hairston contacted others (primary ministers) to determine their interest in such an endeavor.
Pursuant to a common interest in the birth of the regional lectureship, ministers and brothers gathered September 22, 1973 at the Church of Christ at I-85 for the purpose of discussing and planning this new venture. Those in attendance of the meeting included James Kennedy of Greensville, SC; Andrew J. Hairston of Atlanta, GA; Frank N. McElveen of Charleston, SC; Ivory Hunter of Asheville, NC; Charles Harbinson of Asheville, NC; Zebedee Moore of Valdosta, GA; Louis Guthrie of Atlanta, GA; Lee Guthrie of Georgetown, AL; Timothy McCleskey of Nashville, TN; Richard Copeland of Greenville, SC and Richard Williams of Augusta, GA. At the meeting, it was fully agreed that there was a need for a well-planned annual lectureship and that it should focus on the present life of the church and potential issues and problems that the church might face in the southeastern United States. Thus, the birth of the “Annual Southeastern Regional Lectureship of the Churches of Christ.”
Those in attendance unanimously chose Dr. Andrew J Hairston to serve as the first Coordinator and Richard Copeland (a member of the I-85 congregation) to serve as its first Secretary. The group further agreed that the following men would serve as committee members for their respective: Frank N. McElveen (SC), Ivory Hunter (NC), Zebedee Moore (GA), Lee Guthrie (AL), and Timothy McCleskey (TN). These were all faithful ministers and men of the church who, along with others across the region, were concerned primarily with preserving the biblical nature of the Lord’s Church in spite of the sociological, cultural, political, economic and religious impact on the church. These brothers were concerned about the direction and the future development of the church in the region.
In this meeting the following characteristics of the lectureship was determined:
held in a different state each year
held in the month of October during the week following the 1st Sunday
always be concerned with the issues germane to the southeaster area and not issues of a particular congregation
I-85 Church of Christ would be the host of the first annual lectureship October 1974
The meeting was adjourned.
Although persons from the area mentioned were present at the inception of the lectureship, other individuals have become faithful and welcomed participants in the great gathering. The lectureship, since its beginning, has been a blessing to those for whom it was created. Its designed goal is to continue to pursuit of the course of doing God’s Will together with those who love God, His church and His people.
Written by Dr. Andrew Hairston
Purpose of the Southeastern Regional Lectureship
As the lectureship was born out of the deep and abiding concern for the integrity of the church, the church’s future in the Southeast and a desire for a deep commitment to the divinely intended function of the church, we will concentrate on the strengths, weaknesses, and integrity and problems of the church in the southeastern geographical region.
We hope to build and strengthen the church in this region through fellowship, exposure, interaction, identifying and dealing with the church in the light of the true position it now holds in the world. The objective is to use this lectureship as a means of discovering, viewing and dealing with problems and concerns expressed by the church’s members.
Accordingly, it is hoped that church leaders and members will benefit from this venture of hope and faith designed to determine what matters members consider being important. While lectures and other presentations will be a part of this program, the lectureship does not have as its purpose the goal of providing preachers an opportunity to appear before people. Every designed event and occurrence will be aimed at the single objective of discovering and understanding the church and its problems in the light of God’s word and present truth. By God’s help we will utilize all our energies in an effort to aid the church in focusing on those things which hinder or enhance growth. We will make every effort to be good steward of the resources which God has given us and provide against waste and irresponsibility. We will do our best to make it possible for everyone who comes to be exposed to the maximum benefit for the time, interest and finances invested.
We solicit your help and cooperation in making this event beneficial to all who come so that our lives as Christians may be improved and that God may be glorified. May God bless you for your prayers and support, may our lives be richer as a result of this effort, and may all glory and praise be to Him.
Written by: the late Brother James W. Kennedy, Evangelist
Andrew J. Hairston, Chair Leroy Butler, Vice-Chair
John W. Iverson, Secretary Lovell C. Hayes, Assistant Secretary
Howard Wright, Treasurer
Clarence Black Roosevelt Johnson Williams Stephens