Oil Lamp

Oil Lamp
The Hallandale Church of Christ began as an established congregation of the Churches of Christ in 1945. Some of the members from the Miami area moved to Hollywood and purchased property in the Carver Ranches community to construct a church building. The first meetings were held under a tent. The leading families were Brother Jesse Gamble and his family, Brother David Mitchell and his family, Brother Cenee Jones and his family. Brother Gamble was the lead teacher. They began worshipping from house to house. Different speakers from the Miami area and other neighboring cities would come and speak on the Lord’s Day. Otherwise, Brother Robert Burnett, (Brother Gamble’s grandson), would do a lot of the preaching and song leading.

In the latter part of 1945, Brother Munyon who was a well-to-do Christian man, bought some property in Hallandale, where the church building sits until today. He had the building constructed in 1946. Later on in 1946, Brother Croomes who came from Miami became the first full-time minister of the new congregation. After he left in 1949, George Reed became the minister. Brother Reed was a good personal worker, and under his leadership the congregation grew to 30 or 40 members. Also, during his tenure, an addition was built to the rear of the auditorium to house the minister.

Brother Reed left to return home to California in 1953. After his departure, Brother H. H. Wilson was named the minister. Brother Wilson traveled from West Palm Beach to preach and teach for the congregation. Brother Wilson loved children. He taught many of the young men in the congregation leadership qualities and how to lead songs and speak in the worship service. Brother Wilson left a legacy of teaching and preparing the youth. His teaching impacted many of the young men who grew up under him during his tenure, including Brother Bernard Smith (who would later become a minister of the congregation). Brother Wilson served until he became ill in the late 1960’s. He passed away in 1970. During Brother Wilson’s period of sickness, Brother Lloyd Hadley preached for the congregation until Brother B. G. Winston from Texas was chosen to be the full-time minister. After Brother Winston left, Brother Thomas Sparks became the minister. During Brother Sparks’ tenure, Hallandale had one of the largest youth groups in the South Florida area.

Following Brother Sparks, the congregation looked within and chose Brother Jesse Tolliver, III to be the minister. Under Brother Tolliver’s leadership the congregation grew and developed a zoning program and a thriving bus ministry. Brother Tolliver’s vision led the congregation to purchase property in Carver Ranches where a new church building would be erected. Brother Tolliver left in 1981 to lead another work. The congregation again looked within and chose Brother Bernard Smith to be the minister of the congregation in December 1981. Brother Smith was a dedicated, God-fearing, humble, sincere, Christian preacher. Under his leadership the congregation focused on its youth and its elderly. Like his mentor Brother Wilson, Brother Smith spent a lot of time with the young men of the congregation to prepare them for the work of the church. He also spent a lot of time with the elderly of the congregation to assist them with their needs. He was loyal and dedicated until he passed away in June 2002. He also was an example. He showed us how to live and die in Christ.

During Brother Smith’s tenure, the congregation established a Youth Ministry, a Singles Ministry and a program to annually recognize and encourage the Senior Citizens of the congregation. He also refocused the congregation on staying in Hallandale. To this end, he spent countless hours developing a plan for a new church building in Hallandale. Since the late 1980’s, lots surrounding the original church building were purchased with this goal in mind. After Brother Smith’s passing, the congregation again looked within and chose Brother Corey L. Glover as the Minister and Brother Aldanzo L. Pratt as the Assistant Minister. God has continued to bless this work and the building project. Today the congregation has nearly 250 members and 18 ministries and working committees. Many transactions have taken place during the past couple years that have allowed the Hallandale Beach congregation to reach a point where it can build a new edifice more than three times the size of the original building. The focus continues to be on facilitating the Lord’s work in this community. The information above was compiled with assistance and input from the following: Oscar Williams, Charles Saunders, Carrie Lewis, Mary Smith, Barbara Smith, Betty Meeks, Madeline Phillips, Sandra McClarty, Gary D. Cooper, Maritza R. Glover and Corey L. Glover.