The Church of Christ in Forest Hill was established in the 1960’s. Though much of the church’s early history was not recorded and many of the earliest members have passed on. It is known the Forest Hill congregation grew under the leadership of several ministers.
When I came to the Forest Hill congregation, I had the opportunity to work with Bro. Herman Shepherd and Bro. Joe Rhoten. These ministers saw the Church in Forest Hill through the period when Forest Hill and indeed the entire country were going through the trials of integration. At this time the church was also going through a transition as more and more minorities moved into the community and the church’s membership dwindled as some white members moved away. Bro. Joe Rhoten served the Forest Hill church until his death in 1990.
Shortly after Bro. Joe Rhoten’s death, the Church at Forest Hill began a search for a new minister. After interviewing and testing ministers from all over the country, a young Black minister,Bro. Emanuel White was hired. At that time, Bro. White was hired as a part-time minister because the church could not afford to pay him a full-time salary. The Church grew slowly at first but the Lord blessed us with a vision and a plan for growth.
After initiating a plan to improve the way we did things, called “taking stock”, we were able to evaluate every aspect of our worship, and several ministries such as evangelism, fellowship, benevolence, education, youth and buildings and grounds evolved from this study.
The congregation continued to grow and in 1996 the first of three ordination services were held, and the congregation welcomed its first Elders and Deacons. Over the years the leadership of Forest Hill, through God’s blessings and wisdom has guided this congregation into a very bright future.
In 2003 the growth experienced at the Wichita location made it necessary to go to two Sunday morning worship services and membership continued to grow. Fortunately, the leadership had already seen the need to implement plans for a new facility that would accommodate all of our members at the same time.
Through many hours, weeks, months of labor and toil, the church was finally able to complete phase I of our building plans. We now have better facilities and as a result, God expects more of us than ever before.
May God ever bless our efforts to evangelize this community and broaden the boundaries of His kingdom.