Challenges: The Restoration Movement in Texas film now available online on DigitalCommons and Vimeo

In 1986 Herald of Truth and Abilene Christian University collaborated on a video retelling 150 years of Restoration history in Texas.  It features R. L. Roberts, Bill Humble, Richard Hughes, Ethelyn Mitchall, John Stevens and William Teague. Beginning in the 1830s, and filmed on location at historic sites, this film summarizes the people, places, events, and issues that defined the Churches of Christ and Christian Churches in the Lone Star state.

The film is now available online for free streaming and download on Vimeo and on DigitalCommons.

Challenges – The Restoration Movement in Texas from ACU Library on Vimeo.

This just in: Congregational directories from Altus, Oklahoma

A donor sent us a box of directories from the Elm & Hudson and the Thomas Street Churches of Christ, both in Altus, Oklahoma.  A few are pictured here.  Congregational directories are valuable resources for genealogists and local historians and can serve much larger research projects.  Often they include historical information and sometimes information about the ministries of the congregation.  Usually the information they contain is unavailable elsewhere. We are always glad to see new directories come into the collection.

I have an old directory. How can I know if you need it? Great question. Chances are good we do not already have it.  But we’ll be glad to check.  The first thing you can do is  look up your congregation in this finding aid to determine if we have an existing file.  Our vertical files could contain a wide array of paper items.  There might be a few bulletins, or a historical sketch, or a photograph or flyer or other kind of ephemera in the file.  If your congregation is not listed in that finding aid, we do not have a file for it and therefore anything we receive will be a great new addition!  We are always getting new items in, like these directories from Altus, and would be delighted to hear from you about similar items.  Contact me at or 325-2144 if I can assist further.



This Just In: A congregational history of Western Hills Church of Christ, Temple, Texas, 1908-2022

Dr. Matthew Stephen put together a very nice congregational history for Western Hills Church of Christ in Temple, Texas.  To complement the book, he built this website to showcase photographs and to host the book in PDF form.  It is a well-done history published in an accessible form, freely available to any who are interested.

Cover page, A History of Western Hills Church of Christ, by Matthew Stephen

One of the pitfalls of writing congregational history is the conundrum of printing the fruits of research.  Often the print run needs to be small because the interest is localized; however, small print runs can be expensive and even if monetized, or subsidized the congregation, the costs can still be prohibitive.  Publishing online is the perfect solution.

I predict Matt will have a global readership.  Those who are interested in the subject matter or location will certainly be interested, but any who are engaged in congregational history will find his work a worthy model.  I like to browse congregational histories because, on the technical side, each one has some kind of approach or feature I find useful.  On the historical side, it is fascinating to see how principles and practice intersect on the ground in a local context.  Congregational history is a critical discipline…I’m a big fan (and wrote some about it here and Erma Jean Loveland wrote a helpful guide which we published here).

Congratulations to Dr. Stephen and Western Hills Church for saving the paper and telling their story!