In the summer of 1930 Brother Marshall Keeble of Nashville, Tennessee was called to Jacksonville to conduct a gospel meeting in the black community by the caucasian congregation of Riverside Park Church of Christ at 856 Margaret Street. The meeting was held for one week under a tent on Ernest Street in the area known as Mixon Town on the westside. As a result of the meeting 15 or 20precious souls were baptized into the body of Christ. Among these families were Troy and Jessie Butler, Robert and Katie Leaphart, Lymas & Willie B. Butler, Wade and Sally Leonard, Jack and Pattie Hammond, Emma Tyson, Ethel Jerry, Charlotte Simmons, Martha Green, Herbert and Letha Nicholson, Annie Davis, Lucas Israel, Sr., Richard and Viola Foster, Rena Young, Herbert and Revella M. Campbell and their children thus enabling the establishment of the first black Church of Christ in Jacksonville. As this small congregation began to grow they began holding services in a storefront building on Run Street. In its infancy, Brother A. B. Millen was sent from the Riverside Park Church of Christ here in Jacksonville, to preach and teach the new converts for several years.
The Westside Congregation has been blessed with many fine ministers. Brother Paul D. English was the first full-time minister to serve Westside, followed by such great men of God as: James Cochran, Russell H. Moore, U. S. Greer, William Whitaker, Sutton Johnson, Columbus Grimsley, A. Griffin, W. J. Butler, E. W. Way.
In 1934, the congregation moved to 1534 McCoy Boulevard at the corner of Dellwood Avenue. The congregation grew spiritually and numerically; several home preachers ministered to the church on a rotating basis. Some of those brothers were: Fred Butler, W. Wells, Lymas Butler, T. M. Butler, A. Millen, P.E. Butler, and S. Simmons of Birmingham, Alabama.
In 1943, Marshall Keeble was called by the leaders of Westside to conduct another tent meeting. Among those added were Walter, Jr. and Lessie Cox. Brother Cox began training for the ministry that same year under the leadership of Minister E. W. Way and Assistant Minister W. J. Butler.
From 1952 to 1958, Walter, Jr. and Lessie Cox worked with the newly established congregations in High Springs, Trenton and Alachua Florida. They traveled on a bi-weekly basis on Sunday and Tuesday for worship and bible study. Song leaders were Robert Leapart, Elder Jack Hammond and their families.
In 1959, Walter Cox, Jr. became the full time minister. Under his leadership numerous Gospel Meetings were held to strengthen and educate the congregation. We began to travel out of town, attending gospel meetings, lectureships, sing-outs and conferences. The 3rd Sunday fellowship meeting began with the Palatka, Odessa Street, Lincoln Villa, Eastside and the Westside congregations. Brother and Sister Cox worked faithfully with the congregation teaching bible classes, Vacation Bible Study classes, doing repairs around the building, transporting members to and from church and traveling monthly to Trenton, High Springs and Alachua to assist in strengthening the newly established congregations. He was one of three who assisted in establishing the first Youth for Christ Conference, where he served as committee head, mentor and senior class teacher for many years. A school bus was purchased and painted green tagged “The Green Hornet” to make the Sunday pickup and Gospel Meetings. In 1960 a building drive was set up to enlarge the edifice to seat 150. Under his leadership and financial assistance from Brother Graham McGhee of the San Jose Church of Christ, a new edifice was built on the same property in 1962.
On May 15, 1974 the congregation moved to 2725 North Laura Street under the leadership of Walter Cox, Sr. This edifice provided a seating capacity of 435 and two offices space, a kitchen, a large Annex, a nursery and seven classrooms. Brother Walter Cox, Sr. retired as minister of Westside in 1979.
In 1979 - 1981 Zebedee Moore served as minister. Under his leadership the congregation began the first prison ministry.
In 1982 Brother Cox and the leaders of Westside started the “Let the Bible Speak”. Later on that same year the project was placed in the hands of Brother McClendon.
In 1982 - 1990 Terrance R. McClain was hired as the minister. Under his leadership was organized the first radio ministry in 1989. This ministry was the first of its kind and was instrumental in reaching over six thousands listener.
From September 1, 1990 – 2012 our senior minister Willie C. "Pete" Jackson was hired. Under his leadership the congregation has been introduced to many programs that our forerunners could only dream of, but could not realize at that time. Brother Pete was ordained an elder in 2008. He served as Life Group #3 Advisor and Coordinator of Public Outreach, WHAM Ministry, Media Ministry, Melinda Ministry, Boys and Girls Scouts Ministry.
In February 2013 – January 24, 2016 Brother Elisha Taylor, Jr., served as minister. As an anointed man of God who boldly preached Jesus, he enlighten his audience to read, study and reread what you have learned before you could earnestly defend the faith to a lost and dying world. Under his leadership, he revamped the Evangelist Ministry with the motto: “Soul Seekers, Soul Winners, Soul Keepers.
Our Minister: On August 14, 2016 Brother Thornton Brown gave his 1st Message to the congregation as the minister of Westside Church of Christ. He is a leader that speaks highly on Love, Forgiveness and Passion.
Our Leaders: The first elders at the Westside congregation: 1959 - Brothers W. J. Butler and Jack Hammond. Other elders who served faithfully were: Brothers Cecil Dowel, Aaron Debose, Herbert Nicholson, Charlie E. McClendon, Willie Temple, Jr., Lorenzo Williams, Willie “Pete” Jackson, Jerome Sanders, Andrew Jackson, Sr. and Lonnie Stewart, Jr. also served as associate minister. The first ordained deacons were: 1974 - Brother Monroe T. Dinish, III and George Carter. Our previous deacons: Larry Clark, Sr., Henry Lewis, Jerome Sanders, Lorenzo Williams, Lendward Griffin, Sr., Brock Brown, Lawrence Hill, Sr., Mario Robinson, Sr., Freddie Thomas, Melvin Hamm, Lester Beans, Jr., James Bell, Jr., Ronnie Denson, Sr., James Conoly, Ronnie Murray, Sr., Mark Williams, Sr. and Marvin Williams. Our present deacons are: George Carter, Leon Hayes, Jerome Hill, Sr. and Johnny Wynn, Sr.
Our Finance Committee: Our first finance brothers were Richard Foster, Frank Harris, James Jones, Brother Lockett, Frank Seward, William Owens, Brother McFashion, George Starks, Cleo Williams, Monroe Dinish III, Lendward Griffin, Sr., Harold Kelly, Andrew Jackson, Sr., Ronnie Denson, Sr. and Ronnie Denson, Jr. Our present finance committee members are George Carter, Lendward Griffin, Jr., Adrian Allman, Charles Spencer, and Maxine Griffin.
Our Youth: In 1956 the congregation first volunteers to work with the young people were Sisters Juanita Ward, Mamie Dixon, Beatrice Hammond, Catherine Williams and Revella Faye Israel. In 1969, Brother Nolan Butler followed by Brother Charlie and Ida McClendon continued to carry the torch for the Youth for Christ Conference until 2008.
In 1982, Brother Robert G. Birt was hired as Youth Minister; organizing our first Westside Youth Power (W.Y.P.) Youth Day. We also hosted a youth basketball, baseball and track tournaments. Others working with our youth were: Robert and Linda Richardson, Monroe, III andMary Jane Dinish, Cynthia Kent, Larry, Sr. and Beverly Cark.
On January 1, 2000, Marcus and Gloria Watkins were hired as the full time youth minister. In 2001 our first Bible Bowl team was organized with Pam Denson as Coordinator. We received 1st and 2nd place trophies, rally ribbons and spelling bee recognitions. May of 2001, Deacon Larry Clark reclaimed the position of Youth Ministry Director. Working with the young people they traveled to Youth Conferences, attending youth extravaganzas with 86 youth and adults to congregations in Albany, Atlanta, and Valdosta Georgia. Brother Ron Murray, Sr. and Brother Mario Robinson, Sr. were appointed to the Youth Ministry Directors position in 2005 until 2009. In 2010 our previous youth coordinator Jermal Butler and Mario McKennon served as the overseer of the youth ministry. In March 2016, Doug and Rachel Tunsil became youth coordinators at Westside. Our youth participated in the Black history program and Bible Bowl and was awarded 1st Place trophies in both events. Thus far, under this leadership we hosted our first “2016 Youth Jam” with record numbers in attendance in and out of the states.