By Glenda Christ
Special to the Messenger
GRAPELAND – Sunset Christian Church in Grapeland held a special service Sunday, May 21 to celebrate 120 years of continuous services from 1903-2023, with the exception of a few weeks during the COVID epidemic – although the pastor posted his sermon online every week during that time. We will continue to celebrate all of 2023!
The celebration was well-attended and much of the congregation, both men and women, dressed in vintage attire to honor those who have passed away. The pastor read the history of Sunset from those early days and asked certain ones to tell how it was to their remembrance. Following the service, a very delicious meal featuring some olden foods such as fried chicken, ham, chicken pot pie (homemade in a skillet), meatloaf, lots of veggies such as potato salad, fruit salad, gravy, turnip greens, green beans and so many desserts we can’t name them all. One I hadn’t had in a long time was so delicious, bread pudding with raisins, nuts, and oh, so good. We had to bring in more tables in order to put all the food out at one time. We also celebrated Jerry Hinson’s birthday and Pastor Vance Drum’s 25th year with us.
For just a little history, Sunset Christian Church grew from an original school located near the Percilla road around 1850’s-1860’s. It was in the Red House community (an old Indian Reservation) and later renamed Enon. The railroad was built in 1872 through the area and the town of Grapeland was formed. Part of the church from the Red House community purchased lots in the new town and started First Christian Church in 1895. (now used for special events) Another group moved to FM 227, now known as the Sunset Community and in 1912, a new school was built and named Enon and weather permitting, church was held in the school. The school was located across the road from the Shiloh Primitive Baptist Church near Davis Cemetery. The land for the school was given by T.C. Edge.
In 1903, a brush arbor was built at the present site of Sunset Christian Church. Rev. B. F. Brill became pastor and a new church congregation was formed. The original land was given for the church site by George A. Brimberry. He only requested that the church be called “Sunset” because of the beautiful sunsets that can be seen from that location and he could see the sun set across the church from his home nearby. Later, additional sections of land were given by John A Brimberry along with Grady and XA Edge, Sr., Jack Spence, Sr. and Ray and Roxie Brumlow. The church now sits on approximately five acres.
In 1907, Rev. W.N. Warlick became minister and that year a building replaced the brush arbor. Many pastors have been here over the years. In 1929, Rev. M. L. Dickey served as part time and then full-time pastor during 1929-1946. Between 1946-1953, Charles D. (Pete) Story was part-time and then full-time pastor. A new church building was built in 1950 to replace the one built in 1934. It was a white frame building and was replaced in 1976 with the current brick building. Mr. Hubert Brimberry was instrumental in getting the new church built with much volunteer labor.
In 1999 Rev Vance Drum and his wife Donna came here from Crockett and
he became full-time pastor while still holding his job as Chaplain at Eastham. He is now in the 25th year at Sunset.
Services are held Sundays starting with Sunday School at 10 a.m. and Worship at 11 a.m.
Bible Study is held Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.
Everyone is invited to worship with us. We are a bible teaching congregation.