OUR CHURCH HISTORY, The story
During the early 1900's the Dorthae community was right in step with time. It had one main gravel road, a train depot, and a post office. The post office was located where Dave Vaughn's house is now in a storehouse building with a general store and post office together operated by David and Roxie Vaughn.
In November, 1917 the family of A.H. (Tollie) and Emily Chadwell moved from Bush, Kentucky to the Dorthae community when Tollie bought a 68 acre farm from Dick Martin. Although four of their children (Cordia, Lucy, Mossie, and Doxie) did not move, the Chadwells brought their other five children with them: Martha, Nettie, Claude, Lon, and Tollie.
Martha Chadwell was fifteen years old when her family moved to Dorthae. It wasn't long until God started to speak to the heart of this young girl. One morning while she was very sick with the flu, Martha
was milking the cows when she gave her life to Jesus. At this time the
call of God was pronounced on her life.
When Martha was eighteen years old, she met Matt Felts and they were married soon after. Martha continued to seek God for her life as she walked to several area churches to worship the Lord. Her dedication took her to several churches: Felts Chapel, Park Hill, The Bridge, and a little store front church (Dizney's), but it became harder and harder to
get to these churches because of the distance from the Dorthae community.
Martha would not be denied an opportunity to worship the Lord. At
the age of twenty-one she received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost one Sunday Morning in her living room. It wasn't long until prayer meetings were being held in neighbors' homes, and soon Lucy Jones, Oilie Mooneyham, Martha, and other neighbors began meeting at Ollie's house weekly for prayer meetings.
It became very obvious that the Dorthae community needed a church. As the prayer meetings continued, the crowds grew larger and the neighbors' homes became too small. God soon spoke to the hearts of Martha, Lucy, and Ollie to build a church. This seemed like an impossible task because the country was in a deep economic depression.
With much prayer and fasting, Martha, Lucy, and Ollie put the plan into motion. In 1932 Matt and other neighbors began cutting trees to be sawed into lumber for the new church. The trees were cut from Matt's and his brother Simon's land in the Bent. Roy and Denver Mooneyham used their mules to drag the logs to Matt's mill where the trees seasoned until early 1934 when Matt and the neighbors started sawing the trees into lumber. A.H. Caldwell donated a half acre of land for one dollar on which to build the church, and J.G. Jones, the Laurel County Court Clerk, paid the $2.25 recording fee. Excitement filled the little community as the building began. A March 15, 1934 newspaper article read, "The community is building a church at the Martin Cemetery."
Building a church during the depression wasn't easy. It was very difficult just to provide food for the workers and getting building materials was even more difficult. Regardless how hard times were or how hard it was to get what was needed to build the church, God always provided.
At first the church came along great. Neighbors all pitched in donating their time, giving nails, or whatever could be found to use on the church, but during the roofing of the church discouragement hit. They had used all the roofing material and the money had been exhausted. It was time for another miracle. Martha fasted three days and went into the community making up money to buy the roofing needed to complete the church. Edgar Felts always walked to work down the railroad tracks into Corbin; however, that day he walked around the road by the Dorthae Church. In his conversation with Martha he found out that they needed more materials. Edgar told Martha to go to Stewart's Store and buy thirteen rolls of roofing and charge it to his account.
This was not the only miracle that took place during the construction
of the church. Another time Martha ran out of food when the men had worked hard all day and were hungry. Just as God would have it, a large box of food was sent from Portmouth, Ohio by Minnie Blakeman, a dear saint of God who had heard His voice and obeyed. Yet another miracle was how God provided the money. Lattie and Dave Barley gave five dollars every two weeks to help build the church.
Finally the building was nearing completion. The church had a frame structure with half inch rough lumber used for weather boarding and was whitewashed with lime. Two by six's were nailed together to make the seats. The only thing lacking was flooring the building with dressed lumber to cover the rough sub floor. Again the money supply had been exhausted, but God was not finished. A.H.Chadwell had to mortgage a cow to borrow the money to buy the dressed lumber, but at last the church would be completed.
After the construction was finished, the inside of the church was next. The big pot belly stove and the kerosene lamps were put in place. The first musical instrument was Emily Chadwell's old pedal organ which Martha played. Everything was ready for the first service in the new church.
The first service was a big event for the community. Even the newspaper announced the big night for May 17, 1934. Approximately 50 people filled the building, and the first offering was $1.50. Everyone was elated. Regular services were set for Sunday night, Tuesday night and the second Saturday night of the month. The church was two years old before Sunday School was started.
God continued to bless the small church. In the fall of 1934 new seats were made out of logs from Matt's mill. In the spring of 1946 brick siding was added to the building. In 1950 around Christmas electric lights were installed in the church. In the early to mid fifties three Sunday School rooms were added to the east side of the building.
The church membership began to grow, and the building wasn't able to hold the crowds. In the fall of 1970 a new building was started. The new building seated approximately 250 people. In the summer of 1972 the congregation moved from the little wood framed building into the new brick building.
In 1980 growth again caught up with the Dorthae Pentecostal Church. After much prayer and fasting, it was decided to enlarge the church, and on Labor Day 1980 remodeling was started which would increase the seating capacity to approximately 400.
With its membership about 450 and plans to remodel again in 1989, Dorthae Pentecostal Church is on the move and God is still blessing the community through the church. From its inception the Dorthae Church was a place to go to worship God, and we still stand on that foundation.This church history is dedicated to all of those who worked, prayed and fasted to give us what we have today,
DORTHAE PENTECOSTAL CHURCH
Article as written by Harold W. Sulfridge
1. Ralph Mooneyham
2. Ernest Felts
3. Charlie Moore
4. Robert Williams
5. George Carr
6. Howard Wilson (interim)
7. Arvil Lanham
8. Carl Ray Felts
9. Bobby Medley
10. Carl Ray Felts
11. Harold Sulfridge (interim)
12. Bobby Loudermilk
13. Carl Ray Felts (current Senior Pastor)
14. Billy Lynn Evans
IIn 1932, during the Great
Depression, God spoke to the hearts of three women, Martha Felts, Lucy Jones and Ollie Mooneyham concerning the need to build a church in the Dorthae community. These women and their families would walk miles to attend neighboring churches. They also had services in their homes until the number of people attending these services became so great that the homes were not large enough to accommodate them. With much prayer and fasting,the three
put their plan to build a church into motion. The husbands and neighbors of these women began to cut trees for lumber to build a church. A.H. Chadwell donated the land. Building a church during the Depression wasn't easy, but God provided.
On May 17, 1934, the first service was held in the new church. This event made the newspaper. At the first service an offering of $1.50 was
collected, the women were elated! The church congregation continued to
grow . In the fall of 1970, construction of a new building began. In 1972, the
congregation moved from the small wooden church into a new brick building.
By 1980, the congregation had grown to almost 450 members, and it was evident that more room was needed. In 1989, the church was remolded
to accommodate this growth. God has richly blessed us.We now have an awesome Family Life Center, as well as a Food Pantry. As our church continues to grow, we give God all the glory! Look how far He has brought us!
Dorthae Pentecostal Church is truly "a soul saving station"