A History of The First Christian Church of Bristol, Florida
The Christian Church in Bristol is one of the oldest New Testament Congregations in the state of Florida.
Presently no one has found an accurate starting date for the congregation. The earliest remembered evangelist
to work with the congregation was J.C. Gibson, a man who had a black beard and was a very able speaker. At
the State Convention of 1875, he was chosen as one of the state evangelists to help in starting new churches
or congregations. He was preaching in North and Northwest Florida as early as 1874. The earliest glimpse of
history goes back to 1875. The following quote seems to be a strong indication Christians were meeting and
had elected officers:1875 A.J. Cumbie of Decatur County, Georgia, presided over the convention, the purpose of
which was, "For the cooperation of all the Christian Churches of Florida and the consideration of the best
means to be used for the spread of the Gospel." There were delegates from 15 Florida congregations,
representing a membership of 569. Elder T.J. Gregory of Liberty County (this man is known by church records
to have been an Elder of the Bristol congregation), the secretary of the convention reported: "We have received
no report from East Florida yet, but last year there were over 500 members in East Florida, and if the increase
there has equaled the increase here the membership in Florida must be about 1500."Some forward-looking
resolutions were passed at this convention:
(1)That elders be ordained in all the churches where persons can be found with spiritual qualifications.
(2)That each church establish a Sunday School if they have not already established one.
(3)That we hold a cooperative meeting each month that has five Lord's Days on the 5th Lord's Day, for the
purpose of investigation of the Scriptures.
(4)That 2 evangelists be kept at work in 1876, and that the presiding officer, A.J. Cumbie, and J.C. Gibson be
called as the evangelists.
(5)That money be raised by the congregations composing this convention to pay the evangelists.

Before the first building was erected, the congregation was meeting in an old school house that no longer
exists. In 1875 J.C. Gibson was in Gadsden County evangelizing to the top of his voice and it was no uncertain
voice if one may judge by the number of converts reported. However, he later failed to the movement of those
who claim speech with the dead. It was at this time the congregation lost faith in the man and any progress
was halted for a period of time. Later in the 1880's the present church was re-organized by M.B. Ingle. The ones
who remember Mr. Ingle tell of great revivals preached here by him, with many individuals being baptized. This
man later went to Jacksonville to help in the new church work there.
1894-1899  In the year 1894, the congregation had already started building and then secured a loan from the
Board of Church Extension of the General Christian Missionary Convention of $150.00 for the purpose of
completing the church building. It was December of this year that the present property was given to the church
by Jasper Kyle and his wife Susan. The deed is dated December 5, 1894. On July 21, 1895, the new house of
worship was dedicated, with M.B. Ingle (state evangelist) preaching the service. Church officers chosen at this
time were: Elders: W.U. Robertson and T.J. Gregory. Deacons: J.D McAliley, V.B. Jackson, C.L. Jeter, Frank
Edwards. Clerk: M. C. Herndon. Treasurer: J. E. Roberts. The same year October 26, J.M. Mason was chosen
as minister of the Church. Previous to this time a man by the name of McCracker had served as minister.
Brother Mason was called to give 1/4 of his time to the service of the church, including the fourth Lord's Day.
August 21, 1897, J.M. Mason, assisted by Elder T.J. Gregory ordained W.U. Robertson as Elder and JD.
McAliley V.B. Jackson, and C.L. Jeter as Deacons. For the year 1899, this minister's preaching time was
changed to the third Lord's Day. At this time in Liberty County history, each denomination had preaching service
only once a month. The schedule was arranged so that there was preaching service at one church with Bible
School at all each Lord's Day. Many people of the county made a point of attending a preaching service every
Lord's Day, thus all the churches were well visited.  In August of 1899, F.J. Longdon preached a revival in
Bristol. A quote from the evangelist found in “MISSIONARY TIDINGS” magazine is quite interesting:I began a
meeting with the church there under unusual circumstances. A few days before my arrival the son-in-law of our
preacher, Brother J.M. Mason, who lives at Fowlstown, Ga., had been murdered and a man had been lynched,
so that the feeling generally was not the best for a meeting. Before the close the Brethren said that this was
one of the best, because we had reached some who had never been in the church house before. On my former
visit of ten days there were 15 additions, and the following year Brother Irvine had 18 more, so that the ground
had been pretty thoroughly gone over and gleaned.  It is not hard to preach to people who are willing to drive 15
miles to attend services. Bristol is the county seat of Liberty County, and with the care which should be
extended could be made a stronger center for that part of Florida This is a church that was built by the help of
the Extension Fund and they have paid the entire loan. I spent a little over 2 weeks here and presented the work
of the church along missionary lines to good audiences. Aside from the reaching of those who were formerly
prejudiced against us, there were 3 added and the entire church strengthened. We must look after this work
more closely to obtain the best results. With preaching but once a month no church can do it's best work.

1904  The next glimpse of history is found in a flyer, “FROM THE FIELD” dated 1904. In this publication
churches from Ala., Ark., Canada, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Idaho, Illinois and Fla. Were
reported on. The Florida quote is as follows:Bristol, Feb. 8 ,I came to Chipley, Fla., from Warsaw, Ind. Five years
ago. I have always been interested in the Standard's advocacy of our brethren preaching who have not had the
benefits of a college or university education, especially if the supply of college graduates was not equal to the
demand. I began by first conducting a Bible reading and prayer-meeting on each Sunday afternoon in the
vicinity of my home, in the country near Chipley, and continued for over a year. On Aug., 18, 1903, on my fiftieth
birthday, I dedicated the remainder of my life to the Lord's service and soon after made arrangements with the
church here at Bristol to preach for them halftime. I moved here with my family on Christmas eve. I find the
brethren have a good frame church building out of debt, but with the Bible-School practically disorganized, no
endeavor, no prayer meeting, and a general lack of interest. I have called upon the brethren at their homes
mostly in the country, and found them surprised, but pleased, to have a preacher call. We are going to bring
about a better order of things. This is a good section of the state and brethren would make no mistake in
coming here. Jno. R. Weiss.  Since Standard is mentioned in the quote, this piece may have come from early
Standard Publishing in Cincinnati, Ohio.

1914-1919  The next glimpse of history is in 1914 during the ministry of B.E. Melendy when church officers were
again selected. Elders: J. E. Roberts and Mitch C. Herndon. Deacons, Dave H. Freeman and Herman S.
Roberts. C.O. Woodward was called for a series of revival meetings. He was the one who conducted the
business meeting to elect the above officers.  On March 29, 1918, at the close of a 15 day revival, considered by
many as a good success, the church called Bro. E.L. Long as regular minister. During the meeting, there were
5 additions and a general arousing of the members for the cause of Christ. W.E. Daughtery was the evangelist
for the meeting. E.L. Long is remembered as a well liked minister. His teaching and preaching was very good,
leading many to membership in the church. His wife was sister to Sam P. Fairchild of Liberty County. During
this time (1916), Roud Shaw held one of our great revival meetings, however the factor that caused many to join
in the fellowship of the Christian Church during the meeting was Bro. Long's Gospel preaching and teaching.
Mac Herndon, who joined the church during this meeting is noted as saying, "It takes Bible teaching every day
to save people." In June of 1919, there was a 3 week revival held at church by W.T. Brooks of Haynes City, Fla.
And Miss Gail Wilhite. This revival was considered a great meeting though there was only one addition.

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