Our History

Sunshine Church of Christ

Early history of the Church of Christ in Scioto County

In February of 1858 the gospel of Christ was first preached in Sciotoville, Ohio, which was part of Portsmouth by a gospel preacher named Sanford Doyle, who succeeded in establishing a congregation there.  However, a few years proceeding this date Lemuel Lemon moved to the eastern part of Scioto County and with the assistance of a preacher, Brother Backus, established what is known today as the Lily Chapel Church of Christ. These 2 congregations continued to carry on the work in Scioto County until 1912 when the Sciotoville congregation digressed from the simplicity that is in the gospel of Christ.


The beginnings of the Sunshine Congegation

The introduction of mechanical instruments of music into the worship of the church at Third and Bloom Streets in Sciotoville resulted in the beginning of the Sunshine congregation, which first met in the old Sunshine school house located about 5 miles north of Sciotoville. Around the same time a congregation of the church was established at Grant and Summit Streets in Portsmouth. Through the cooperation of these three congregations (Lily Chapel, Grant & Summit, and Sunshine) the work was revived later at Sciotoville and congregation was also established in the western part of the county at Friendship.

The charter members of the Sunshine congregation included the following:

Mr. & Mrs. Frank Ault                                   Mr. & Mrs. Walter Coriell
Everett & Lois Ault                                       Bessie & Emma Gampp
Mr. & Mrs. Addison Batterson                    Mr. & Mrs. George Gampp
Mr. & Mrs. Alfred Coriell                              Mr. & Mrs. William Gampp
Mr. & Mrs. D.L. Coriell                                 Mr. & Mrs. Zenis Hayward
Mr. & Mrs. Edward Coriell                           R.A. Mahaffey (song leader)
Mr. & Mrs. Hayes Coriell                             Mr. & Mrs. Vinton Merwin
Mr. & Mrs. Ira Coriell                                    Mr. & Mrs. Henry Schomburg
Mr.  & Mrs. Lou Coriell                                 Lewis & Mabel Schomburg

During the years the congregation met in the old Sunshine school, Brother Albert J. Bachman preached many Sundays. Brother B.F. Stivers, a gospel preacher from Indiana, held perhaps the only gospel meeting ever conducted in the old school house. In February 1913 Brother Bachman held a two week’s meeting at the G.A.R. Hall in Minford. The meeting was well attended by the people of the area, including many Civil War veterans.

In 1923 the old Methodist meeting house was purchased by the Sunshine congregation for $400.10 and the worship began in the new location. For many years the congregation was known as the Shumway Chapel Church of Christ. Later the name Sunshine was adopted. For a number of years brethren K.R. Garner, W.S. Coriell, and D.L. Coriell served as elders and part time preachers. Brother Will Gampp also served as an elder and song leader.

Many gospel meetings sponsored by the Sunshine congregation have been held in Scioto and neighboring counties. Sunshine established the congregations in Jackson and Wilmington, Ohio, and assisted in the starting a congregation in Sciotoville (Harding Avenue), Friendship, Piketon, and West Union, Ohio. Sunshine supported Brother George W. Hardin half time at Sciotoville in 1936. Later the Sunshine congregation assisted in the support of campaigns in Perth, Australia and Edinburgh, Scotland. Brother Glen Olbricht was also assisted in Germany as was Brother Donald Daugherty in Paris, France. The congregation also supported “Herald of Truth” radio and television broadcasts.

The following preachers have conducted gospel meetings at Sunshine:

A.J. Bachman                  Kenneth Franklin                        Denton Neal
F.R. Bachman                  Guy Gaskill                                   John Payne, Jr.
J. Allen Barber                 Hatton B. Gist                               Reid Robinson
B. E. Bawcom                   T.S. Hutson                                  George L. Rodgers
W. Albert Burcher            Clifton Inman                               Halley Smith
George W. Butterfield     Oliver Johnson                            Nelson Smith
Tom W. Butterfield           Irvin Kirk                                        Allen Spradling
Paul Casebolt                  T.H. Kirkman                                B.F. Stivers
C.M. Cleveland                Bill Mead                                       Arthur Thomas
William Daines                Robert Meyers                              Ted Waller
C.R. Elerick                      Lewis Mikell                                  A.E. Wickham
E.L. Flannery                   Hunter Miller

During a 10 day meeting conducted by Brother T.S. Hutson, 25 were baptized.

Following is a list of gospel meetings and locations which have been sponsored by the Sunshine Church of Christ:

A.J. Bachman—Minford                 Paul Casebolt—Jackson
Max Cleveland—Jackson              E.L. Flannery—Piketon & Sunshine school
Kenneth Franklin—Jackson         K.R. Garner—Beaver OH & Beechy KY
Guy Gaskill—Lucasville                 Bill Mead—Minford
Robert Meyers—Sedan                  Hunter Miller—Jackson
Denton Neal—Wheelersburg        Walter Nichols—Oak Hill
W.F. Parks—Tannery, KY              George L. Rodgers—Bald Hill, KY
Leon Savage—Swauger Valley    Halley—Minford & Wilmington
Oliver Johnson—Minford, Sedan, & Sunshine School
W.W. Stevens—Bonser Run & Maysville, KY


First fulltime pulpit minister

On January 1, 1966, evangelist Bill Mead, along with wife Catherine and four children (Patty, Pam, Patrick, & Richard) came to work with the Sunshine congregation. Brother Mead and his family had formerly worked with the Skyline Drive congregation in Ashland, Kentucky. One of the first efforts begun when Brother Mead came was the Wednesday evening Bible study. The spring gospel meeting was conducted by Brother Mead April 3-10, 1966. At this time advertising was mailed out to families of Harrison and Madison townships. This meeting attracted an average attendance of 135. The church purchased a Gesttner mimeograph and a Smith-Corona electric typewriter to aid in the production of a weekly church bulletin and other communications. Vacation Bible school was held June 6-10, 1966, with plans to have this as an annual event. A Bible correspondence course was made available to those who desired it.

A gospel meeting was held August 22-28, 1966, with Brother J. Allen Barber doing the preaching. Tracts and advertising were mailed and distributed door-to-door in the area.

The 1967 spring meeting was held March 8-17 with Brother Lewis Mikell of Gallipolis, Ohio doing the preaching. Before each of the evening services, Brother Mikell showed slides of his tours through the Bible lands. Prior to Brother Mikell’s meeting 3,693 copies of The STAR were distributed by mail to the local area. Each copy included lesson one of a Bible correspondence course, together with articles pertaining to the church and soul salvation.

The 1967 VBS was held June 12-16 and the 1968 VBS was held June 10-14.

At the June 1966 business meeting, long-range plans for the Sunshine congregation were discussed. These plans included future gospel meetings, a new building to accommodate the increasing attendance, and a preacher’s home. At the July meeting it was decided to create a building fund starting with $1,000 and adding $250 per month. At a special meeting held on August 31, 1966, it was decided to proceed with the purchase of 1.9 acres of property on the south side of State Route 335 and Airport Road for $6,000. After the lot was paid for, consideration for the type and size of a new building began.

In compliance with Ohio law, a meeting of the congregation was held August 2, 1967, to authorize the incorporation of the church to carry out legal matters. The trustees (brethren Stephen Like, Homer Miller, & Paul Stevens) of the congregation were appointed incorporators.

By August 1967 it had been decided that the new facility like the one at Kenova, WV would best suit the needs of the congregation. Since the building there had been designed by Continental Church Builders, a comparison of contractor’s estimates showed that Continental could do the work more economically than a local contractor. Consequently, the contract was awarded to Continental and work began the first of November 1967.

A loan of $45,000 from Citizens Savings & Loan Co. had been approved at the October business meeting. At that time the pews, pulpit, and communion table were ordered from McGwier Co., Grove Hill, AL.


Last Lord’s Day Services in the old building

The last Lord’s Day morning service held in the old Sunshine Church of Christ building was February 25, 1968. Congregational singing was led by Ralph Gampp. Serving the Lord’s Table were Earl Ward, Homer Miller, Russ Burgett, and Gene Peach. The scripture reading by Tom Kelley was II Timothy 4:1-5. The prayer after the scripture readings was directed by Albert Gampp. Steve Gampp dismissed the worship service.  Hymns included “In Remembrance”, “I Want To Be a Worker”, “Jesus Saves”, “Jesus Is Calling Today”, and “Take The Name of Jesus With You”. Attendance was 163; offering was $337.30. The sermon by Brother Mead was entitled “John the Baptist—The Man and the Message” with Luke 1 as the text.

The last evening service in the old building on February 25, 1968 was opened with congregational singing led by Ralph Gampp. The speaker of the hour was Brother D.L. Coriell. The song selections included “My Faith Looks Up to Thee”, “Higher Ground”, “Sweet Are the Promises”, “I Will Sing the Wondrous Story”, and  “Are You Ready?”, “Precious Memories”. The invitation hymn, “Are You Ready”, was requested by Brother D.L. Coriell and the closing song, “Precious Memories”, was requested by Brother Mead. The other 4 hymns were favorites of Brother Will Gampp, who led singing for many years and passed from this world in January 1965.  Earsel Burns read the scripture of the evening from Matt. 16:13-18 and prayer was led by Brother Don Coriell.  Austin Coriell served the Lord’s Table and John Gampp dismissed the audience of 131. The total offering for the last service in the old building was $496.30.


First Lord’s Day Services in the new building

The first Lord’s Day service in the new building was held on March 3, 1968. The opening of the building was in the form of a gospel meeting conducted by Brother Bill Mead. His sermon topic was “Seek Ye the Old Paths”.

An afternoon “Open House” was attended by 411.  Brother Bill Phyllis welcomed those present and Brother Ralph Gampp led the congregational singing.  The hymns selected included “God is Love”, “How Great Thou Art”, “A Beautiful Life”, “I’m Not Ashamed”, “He Loved Me So”, “He Hideth My Soul”, “Let Him In”, and “Be With Me Lord”. Brother Dwight Shumway read the scripture and Brother Don Coriell led in prayer. Brother Mead’s message was “The Mid-Heaven Messenger of Revelation 14”. At the conclusion of the sermon, Brother Steve Gampp read scripture and Brother Bruce Gleim led the closing prayer.

The song leader for the evening service on March 3, 1968 was Ralph Gampp. Brother Dick Havens read the scripture from I Kings 13:1-10 and Brother Dudley Yates led the prayer. Brother Mead’s topic was “The Consequences of Believing a Lie”. This was the initial service of a week-long gospel meeting. Hymn selections included “There Is A Habitation”, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”, “Hear Me Now”, “There Is Power In the Blood”, “Just As I Am”, and “Lead Me to Calvary”. Brother Glenn Gleim served the Lord’s Table and Brother Bruce Gleim dismissed the service.


Ministers & Leadership

Ministers at Sunshine and the dates of their service:

Bill Mead—January 1, 1966 – June 8, 1969
B.E. Bawcom—1969 – 1971
Pat Gibbons—July 1971 – August 17, 1975
James Bailey—August 25, 1975 – May 6, 1979
Charles Gorman—July 15, 1979 – May 17, 1981
Wayne Toye—July 5, 1981 – January 28, 1987
Walden (Wally) Lambert—January 28, 1987 – June 1, 1987
Bruce A. Mayo—June 2, 1987 – February 7, 1988
David Lewis—August 7, 1988 – December 24, 1993
Steve Miller—July 1, 1994 – Present

The men that have served as elders at the Sunshine Church of Christ include the following:

W. S. Coriell                              D. L. Coriell                       Will Gampp
K. R. Garner                              Albert Gampp                   Keith Wilson
Tom Kelley                                 Harry Woodworth            Don Coriell
Wayne Gampp                          Jon Coriell                        Rich Book

The men that have served as deacons at the Sunshine Church of Christ include the following:

Don Coriell                                Wayne Gampp                 Homer Miller
Willis Shumway                        Eugene Risner                Alan Graff
Dick Havens                              Emerson Coriell               Taylor Hoskins
Mike Coriell                               Jon Coriell                        Rich Book
Bud Coriell                                Jason Coriell                    Scott Gampp
Gary Glispie                              Aaron McCray                  Shawn McCray
Terry Sullivan                          Gabe Coriell                     Aaron Kallner
Dewey Cordle                           Nick Davis                        Shawn Gragg
Mark Risner


Current Elders

The men serving as elders as of September 30, 2012 are:

Rich Book                                  Don Coriell                       Jon Coriell
Wayne Gampp                          Tom Kelley


Current Deacons

The men serving as deacons as of September 30, 2012 are:

Dewey Cordle                           Gabe Coriell                     Jason Coriell
Nick Davis                                 Gary Glispie                      Alan Graff
Shawn Gragg                            Aaron Kallner                   Aaron McCray
Shaun McCray                         Eugene Risner                Mark Risner

The congregation began an outreach to the students at Shawnee State University in 1997 with Jamie Riley serving as the minister to the campus ministry.

Following severe flooding as the result of storms in 1997, flood relief was coordinated to serve those that were affected. Food, cleaning supplies, furniture, appliances, and other items were distributed to the community. Flood relief efforts were also conducted in the spring of 2000 to victims of the community.

The congregation has also been involved in disaster relief following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 with 3 semi truck loads of needed items sent to Mississippi. A cleanup team of men from the congregation went to the area in 2005 with tools and equipment to assist in the cleanup of storm damage. A special contribution to provide assistance to the Hurricane Katrina victims of $36,000 was collected.

In 2011 a team went to Joplin, MO to aid in cleanup of the devastation from a tornado.

Teams have been to Haiti and Honduras for several short-term mission trips to minister to the people of those countries in recent years.

Sunshine is currently assisting in the support of the establishment of congregations in India.


Current membership and attendance

There are currently approximately 180 families that are members of the Sunshine Church of Christ and attendance averages about 265 for each Sunday morning service. Currently 2 children of the original members survive and are members of Sunshine. Estelle Coriell, daughter of D. L. & Ruby Coriell, and Alma Coriell, daughter of Frank & Bessie (Gampp) Miller are the only direct descendants of the founding members surviving. However there are many grandchildren, great grandchildren, great great grandchildren, and even great great great grandchildren of those founders that remain in the community and are members Sunshine.


Sources of this information

The information in this history comes from a report prepared by Brother Ralph Gampp, church records, and contributions from many of the current members of the Sunshine Congregation.

Prepared for the celebration of the 100th anniversary on September 29-30, 2012.

A printable version of this page can be downloaded Here