December 18, 2017

North Park church of Christ Shutting Doors

After more than 65 years, the North Park church of Christ in Abilene, TX is shutting its doors.

The church has met at its present location since around 1949, having existed even prior to that, with O.B. Proctor as the local evangelist. The current building was built to seat 400 and had attendance of about 350 when the doors of the new structure opened. The original building had been in the far end of what is now the current parking lot and the parsonage was the house directly across the street from it, though that was sold many years ago.

North Park was offered oversight of the now infamous the Herald of Truth program before Highland Street was, but the North Park elders looked at it and realized it was an unscriptural arrangement. Brother Yater Tant had been preaching in Oklahoma dealing with these things and was asked to come to North Park and preach on the matter. Many left North Park as the institutional controversy early emerged as Abilene was “ground zero.” A debate emerged as a result with the Harper/Tent debate, one of the earlier dealing with these issues in 1955. As a result, members at North Park were given the derogatory nickname of the "Tanti-church" (spoof on “anti”) by some of those more liberal in the community. North Park produced a bulletin which was distributed throughout the country warning brethren of the error of institutionalism.

Among those who served as local evangelists were O.B. Proctor, Roy Foutz, Hoyt Houchen, Arvid McGuire, Julian Snell, Jay Bowman, and Wayne Goforth.

Due to a decline in the membership over the years, brought on by aging and death of members, the declining nature of the area in which the building is located, and the growth towards the opposite end of town, the necessity of discontinuing to meet came about. Over the years, North Park financially aided in the support of many gospel preachers throughout the world, but in recent years the preacher for North Park has needed to raise support himself to remain at North Park. These are natural ebb and flows of congregations which exist long enough. Even the Jerusalem church lasted only about forty years.

North Park has sold its facilities and members will be attending elsewhere. Certainly we might wish for North Park to have continued to provide a congregation on the north side of town, but our current presence here has not yielded growth in recent years. With that in mind, members attending and helping elsewhere may provide the money and manpower to do greater things there.

Thanks to all who have visited over the years. North Park is located two blocks from I-20 on the Grape Street exit, so they have been many over the years as brethren have traveled. An exact date of closing has not yet been set, but an August/September timeframe is desired. Please call or e-mail before visiting to ensure status.

Wayne Goforth, evangelist at North Park for the past ten years, is to begin working with the Woodland Heights congregation in Brownwood, Texas this fall. Please pray for both the new efforts of the members as well as that of the Goforth's and the Lord's people in Brownwood.

Wayne Goforth for the congregation,

wgoforth@sbcglobal.net

Truth Magazine Vol. LIII: 8 August 2009
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