Geoffrey Sikes is in his 28th year as Pulpit Minister at Trenton Crossing Church of Christ, formerly Madison Street Church of Christ. The church will celebrate its 100th anniversary on Aug. 16. (Photo: Tony Centonze/For The Leaf-Chronicle)
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – According to church history records, when C.E.W. Dorris started what is now the Church of Christ at Trenton Crossing in 1915, exactly one person showed up for the first service. One hundred years later, the membership has grown dramatically and the congregation will celebrate its first 100 years on Sunday, Aug. 16.
Geoffrey Sikes is in his 28th year as Pulpit Minister at Trenton Crossing, formerly called Madison Street Church of Christ. He loves the congregation and there is no place he would rather be on any day of the week.
“This church has a long history of being involved in the Clarksville/Montgomery County community. We were downtown until April 2014 when we moved to this new property,” Sikes said. “For most of the 99 years that we were downtown, we were at 7th and Franklin for 30 years and on Madison Street for 64 years. We aren’t going anywhere now.
“Several things come to mind when I try to describe this church to others. The first thing I tell people is that this is a very benevolent congregation. Jesus calls us to help others, and especially the poor. Regardless of where we have been located, we have always made the needs of the poor a top priority.
“Secondly, the spirit of this congregation is as good and strong as any I have ever witnessed. The third thing I have to say may sound odd to some, but we have always enjoyed a regular stream of visitors each Sunday. Visitors are welcome here.”
The greatest growth in membership occurred during the years Trenton Crossing was Madison Street Church of Christ. Sikes described those years as being a time of steady growth, both in terms of church membership and in the spirituality of the membership. From its beginning, mission work has been a focal point.
One example of mission work is the church’s outreach ministry known as The Well. That facility, at 224 Union St., is a place where those living in poverty, or the homeless, or the outcast, can come for help.
“After several years of offering help to people on a part-time basis, we now have a full-time ministry team at The Well. Jeff and Misty Shocklee are our ministry team there and are serving more people in need than ever.
“We now own the building outright and are expanding our services. On Aug. 9 we will begin a Sunday worship service there followed by lunch. This is something we have wanted to do for some time and we are now in a position to do it,” said Sikes. “Last year we served over 17,000 people.”
Sikes is also proud of the church’s international mission work, which centers on two major programs: Outreach to other cultures and the World Bible School.
“We want our youth to see and experience other cultures and work with people from those cultures,” he said. “Our youth team just returned from a trip to Honduras. They didn’t go on the mission trip to observe. They went to work, and in the process they saw firsthand the issues faced by the Honduran people.”
The World Bible School has been around for decades. It has been part of Trenton Crossing’s missionary activities for more than 30 years.
“Our biggest ministry outreach or missionary activity is being part of the World Bible School. This congregation was involved with this before I arrived. WBS takes the Bible and puts it into the hands of people worldwide by providing free scripture lessons to those who want to know more,” Sikes said.
“With this effort we are not only bringing the word of God to others, but members of this congregation are actively involved by reviewing and grading lessons, providing feedback to students, and encouraging lifelong learning to others.
WBS has been taken into jails and prisons for many years and has played an important role in helping people turn their lives around. Currently over 1.5 people are enrolled in the program globally
Rounding out the church’s outreach is direct local action: “Finally, on the local level we just provided over 500 families with backpacks loaded with school supplies so their children can begin the new school year fully prepared,” Sikes said.
Tim Gunnells will be the guest speaker for the anniversary celebration on the Aug. 16, and the community is invited. Gunnells is a former minister at Madison Street Church of Christ. Special singing will be led by Marlon Crow and a potluck lunch will follow the services.
In honor of its 100th year, church member and elder Blakey Bradley has written a history of the church, which is available for purchase for $10 at the church office.
To learn more about the Church of Christ at Trenton Crossing, visit the website at www.trentoncrossingchurch.com.
Church of Christ at Trenton Crossing
What: 100th Anniversary Celebration
When: Sunday, Aug. 16
Where: 2650 Trenton Road, Clarksville, 37040
Services: Sunday school, 9 a.m.; Worship, 10 a.m.; Wednesday Bible Study, 6:30 p.m.