April 2010 marked 50 years the congregation has met in the same building in Sharonville. Hundreds have been baptized into Christ, many have been restored to the faith, moving here from other places and a great number have renounced digressive worship. Some have passed on to their reward and others have moved to other places. Other congregations now have several of these people locally. Sadly, many have also left the faith for the lure of worldly things. Following is a brief, although incomplete, history of the Sharonville congregation.
The first service was an evening gathering. Present at this service was Flem Parrot (referred to as “Preacher” Parrot), Orville Barnes (later converted from the Baptist doctrine), Alice Owens (visiting from the Chestnut Ridge, KY congregation), Lucy “Sis” Owens with children Barney and Glenda Owens, and Clara Price. This gathering was on the property of Preacher Parrot and was in a small barn that once housed chickens (commonly called “the chicken house or barn”).
The following Lord’s Day, confessions of faults were made and these engaged in their first worship. The group, being small, allowed those communing to move to the front around the table to eat the Lord’s Supper. None had been worshipping every Lord’s Day as prescribed by the Lord (Heb.10:25; Acts 20:7), so Brother E.H. Miller was contacted to set thing in order. Upon his arrival, “faults were again confessed” and a Gospel Meeting was conducted with several being baptized.
In the July 1954 issue of Old Paths Advocate, E.H. Miller claimed to have started the congregation and Tom Murphy reported the death of Maggie Parrot (wife of Flem).
Early on, there arose a difference about extending the right hand of fellowship. Preacher Parrot wished this to be practiced in a public manner. Those who were baptized stood at the front of the assembly and the members then walked by and extended the “right hand” in a handshake. This happened only once and objections were raised regarding it and the practice ceased. Preacher Parrot then began meeting in his house, which meant the members of the congregation would have to walk or drive by Preacher’s house to get to the “chicken house”. After a few Lord’s Days, George Sharp reported to the church that Preacher did not want them coming there any longer, so another place had to be found.
Since there was very little money, Russell Owens asked his neighbor about using a garage, which was used to house and repair farm trucks, for a place to meet. The property was for sale, and the brethren saw potential for a meeting house, but there was not enough money to purchase it. The neighbor said “they could use it and if they were to buy it, alright, if not, they could use it until such a time as it was sold”.
The next Friday, Russell and his wife, Lucy, borrowed a pick-up truck and went to Huntington, WV to borrow some folding chairs from the 18th Street Church. The next night (Saturday, May 18, 1957) they began meeting at Crescentville. The place of worship was later moved to a the Crescentville Schoolhouse, and although the exact dates are unknown, it lasted about a year.
On Sunday April 17, 1960, the first worship service took place in the newly constructed meeting house in Sharonville. B.F. Leonard and Charlie Ross shared the pulpit. The first song book used was “Songs Of Love” published by Homer L. King.
The preachers who wielded the most influence in the early days were E.H. Miller and Edwin S. Morris, as these men held many meetings through the years. Also were preachers Flem Parrot, Thomas Murphy, B.F. Leonard, Charlie Ross, J.W. McKeand, Ervin Waters, Orville L. Smith and Miles King.
Living here for an extended time to work among the brethren were: J.W. McKeand, while meeting in Crescentville; later at Sharonville came Miles King, Roy L. Criswell (twice), Irvin Barnes, Tom Layman, and Barney Owens.