ARP, Rives

Rives Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church

The Sesquicentennial History of Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, for period 1903 – 1951, Prepared and Published by order of the General Synod, Clinton, SC, Presses of Jacobs Brothers, Printers, 1951, pp.528-530. The editor for a committee of the Synod was W. A. Kennedy.

The book is not indexed, contains information about all congregations of the ARP during this time period and has rather extensive biographies of all clergy living during that period. The clergy biographies and the congregational histories are in alphabetical order.


Typed and Submitted by Dorothy Chance.

The Rives congregation was organized at Pleasant Hill November 18, 1882, with thirteen members. Mr. T. B. Moffatt made the promise to the Lord that he would give all the money he made buying cotton in the fall of 1887 for a new church at Rives. God greatly blessed him, and that year he purchased a lot and gave most of the money needed to build a church. This building was dedicated January 8, 1888. Rev. J. P. Weed preached the sermon, with Rev. T. P. Pressly in charge.

Rev. T. P. Pressly supplied the congregation, preaching once each month until 1902. In this year Rives and Polk united in one pastoral charge, and Rev. E. P. Lindsay of the Tennessee and Alabama Presbytery was sent by Synod as stated supply. He began his labors January 1, 1902, and was returned the following year as supply. He accepted a call to the charge June 30, 1903. Rev. Lindsay continued in this field for about ten years. The work truly prospered in his hands. Wherever Rev. Lindsay labored there seemed to be unusual blessings. A gentle, kind and loving spirit was always manifested in his life and work. He was married to a daughter of the congregation, Miss Sallie Wade, who was ever a helpful and efficient helpmeet. In 1912 he accepted the work at Memphis. It is said that possibly no better work has ever been done in Synod that the work of Dr. Lindsay and Mrs. Lindsay there at Memphis.

The congregation was without a pastor for some time. Rev. T. P. Pressly and others supplied until 1915, when Rev. W. O. Weir accepted the work. Rev. Wier was an excellent worker, especially among the young people. He too married a daughter of the congregation, Miss Bess Harper. Death ended his short ministry June 2, 1916. It is said by those who were with him when he was told that he could not live, that he was silent for a moment, then turning his face heavenward, prayed one of the greatest prayers ever heard.

Again the congregation was without a pastor, and again Rev. T. P. Pressly and others supplied until January 14, 1917, when Rev. J. L. Boyd accepted the work. The congregation was well led under this kind and faithful shepherd for three and one-half years. He then accepted a call to Brighton, Tenn. In the summer of 1921 Rev. J. A. Baird supplied the congregation, and in the summer of 1922 Rev. B. Dale White supplied until he accepted the work in India as a missionary.

In the year 1922, the first Sabbath of November, Rev. L. R. Neill took charge of the work. He did an outstanding work for the church and community, and endeared himself deeply in the hearts of all the people. He was taken away in death Nov. 17, 1945.

Rives has ever been known as the congregation that has paid all of its obligations. For years Rives was on the honor roll for paying all of Synod’s assessments. For many years the congregation paid more per capita than any other church of the entire Synod.

Possibly in all the state of Tennessee you could not find so fine a spirit of co-operation among denominations as prevails in Rives. So complete is that spirit that the Cumberland Presbyterians, Methodists and Associate Reformed Presbyterian united in one building in 1932. The congregations together built a large Sabbath School room addition to the original Associate Reformed Presbyterian building. The first union service was held January 17, 1932. The enlarged building was dedicated March 27, 1932. There is a union Sabbath School and Christian Endeavor, but separate Woman’s Missionary Societies, which are very active. The three denominations use the church for preaching services; the Methodists the second Sabbath, the Associate Reformed Presbyterians the third Sabbath and the Cumberland Presbyterians the fourth Sabbath. Many members of this congregation are the descendants of the First Associate Reformed Presbyterians in Obion County. The elders at present are: T. R. Hamilton, T. B. Moffat, Knox Harper and J. M. Fisher. The deacons are: Gordon S. Moffat, John Moss Fisher and Carl Crigger.

Rev. T. B. McBride was assistant to Bro. Neill in 1933 and in the spring of 1934 he accepted a call to Oak Hill, Alabama. It was the pleasure of the church to have him return to conduct a revival meeting August 22-29, 1948.

The church entertained presbytery October 2-4, 1936 and entertained it jointly with Troy again October 11-12, 1944. The church celebrated its 60th anniversary November 15, 1942.

In World War II the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Congregation suffered the loss of one fine and promising young man, Lt. Joe Cotton, who was killed in action September 18, 1944.

Rev. J. H. McFerrin accepted a joint call from the Rives and Troy congregations in August of 1947 and preached his first sermon here September 21, 1947. He is now on the field as co-pastor with Rev. Alfred C. Stone, Cumberland Presbyterian pastor, and Rev. W. T. Garner, Methodist pastor.


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