Congregation History

The congregation first met in 1939. That year marked a turning point for the world as World War II broke out in Europe. At first, the tiny congregation met just as the first Christians did—in a home, with E. C. Coffman serving as the first minister for the 39-member congregation. As the congregation grew during the next 10 years, its members met in several public buildings in the area. By 1950, the congregation had built its first facility, and membership that year grew to 125.

As the West University congregation has matured over the years from 1950 to 1999, many able leaders have provided spiritual guidance. The congregation has been blessed by a succession of loving, able, and spiritually minded elders and ministers. In addition, countless deacons, teachers, and other men and women of faith have given their time, efforts, and talents while they have been members at West University Church of Christ. Most importantly, God has blessed the congregation richly.

Throughout the 60 year history of West University Church of Christ, God has given us many great opportunities for ministry:

– The Medical Center continues to grow and draw patients, doctors and other medical professionals to the area and to our congregation.

– The University of Houston, Rice University, and medical schools bring thousands of young people right into our backyard.

– The city of West University Place has been a stable , affluent location that has an excellent base for spreading the Gospel in the area

– The industries in the Houston area have sent our members and former members throughout the world, enabling them to teach Christ in ever corner of the globe.

January 1939 – West University congregation started with 39 present for the opening service. It was held in a member’s home. E.C. Coffman served as minister.

April, 1939 – The congregation started meeting in a theater building on University Boulevard

September, 1939 – The congregation began meeting in the elementary school building in the 3700 block of University Blvd.

March 1940 – All services moved to the West University Civic Center on Rice at Auden. They met there till December of 1949.

June 1942 – E.C. Coffman left the congregation of 60 members. T.B. Underwood Jr. became minister of the congregation.

December 15, 1944 – T.B. Underwood left the congregation of 75 members.

March 1945 – Basil Doran began work as local minister.

March 1948 – Basil Doran left the congregation of 85 members. Louie Welch and others preached until September 1948.

September 1948 – Wilbur White started preaching for the 65 member congregation

January 1949 – Plans were drawn for the auditorium of the new building

January 1950 – Completed the first unit of our present plant at 3407 Bissonnet on January 29. There were 300 in attendance. The congregation numbered 75 members.

July 1950 – Membership increased to 125.

July 1952 – Completed the first Bible School addition to the building with 10 classrooms being added.

January 1954 – Membership increased to 175.

May 1954 – Wilbur White left the congregation.

June 1954 – Larry Virgin started serving the congregation of 190 members.

January 1956 – Membership increased to 210.

September 1957 – Completed the second addition of classrooms to the church building.

July 1960 – Larry Virgin left the congregation.

August 1960 – Glen McDoniel began work as the minister with 220 members

January 1963 – Membership increased to 310.

March 1964 – The present auditorium with 800 capacity was completed and used for the first time.

June 1964- Additional Classrooms were completed after changes were made to the original auditorium for a total of 32 classrooms.

April 1967 – Membership increased to 435.

September 1968 – Bill Jackson began work as the Associate/Youth Minister

August 1968 – Bill Jackson left the congregation to accept the Associate Minister position in Irving, TX.

September 1969 – David Rivoire hired as Associate Minister

December 1969 – Membership was 550

April 1970 – Membership was 570

June 1971 – Glen McDoniel resigned and left for the South 5th Street Church in Mississippi

August 1971 – Joe Hailey Jr was hired as the Associate Minister.

August 1971 – Charles A. Whitmire secured to work as pulpit minister.

September 1971 – David and Malissa Rivoire left to undertake mission work in Munich, Germany.

August 1973 – Membership was 520

June 1974 – Joe Hailey Jr left to accept the Youth Minister’s job at the Woodlawn Church of Christ

June 1974 – Rob McElroy secured to work as Associate Minister

April 1976 – Bus ministry began at West University

September 1976 – Charles Whitmire left after 5 years to go to Longview

March 1977 – Joe Winnett and Rob McElroy preached during the absence of a full time minister

February 1978 – Joe Winnet left to be a pulpit minister at the Houston Terrace Congregation

May 1978 – Rob McElroy left the congregation and moved to Victoria to serve there

August 1, 1978 – Glenn Lackey secured to work as youth minister

February 1979 – Paul Arnold began serving as the Associate Minister

March 1979 – Homecoming celebrating 40 years. There were 546 in attendance

January 1980 – Glenn Lackey left West University

August 1981 – Wayne Ford began as part time Youth Minister, serving through May 1982.

September 1981 – Shawn Jones obtained as pulpit minister

December 1981 – Bus program terminated

January 1986 – Dr. Burton Coffman and his wife June placed membership with West University

April 1989 – 50th Anniversary of the church celebrated. Glen McDoniel preached. Bill Jackson led singing. 537 were present

June 1990 – Paul Arnold left to become Campus Minister at Westbury Christian School

April 1992 – Began the apartment ministry for Medical Center patients.

December 1992 – Rene Moya began work as an Associate Minister

July 1994 – Shawn Jones left the congregation after 13 years. He was succeeded by Steve Grubbs.

August 1994 – Rene Moya left West University

May 1995 – Dale Mannon began working as the Associate Minister

June 1995 – Church house on Case Street was bought.

September 1995 – Made the final payment on the $432,000 bond which was financed originally in 1978.

October 1997 – Upgrades were made to the auditorium and classroom area

May 1998 – Associate Minister Dale Mannon left.

June 1988 – Darin Kennedy began work as Associate Minister

May 1999 – 60th Anniversary was celebrated

March 2001 – Rick Fyffe began work as the Pulpit Minister

2005 – Rick Fyffe left West University

Oct. 2003 – August 2004 Jay Blackburn was the youth minister

2003 – Darin Kennedy left West University

August 2005 – May 2007 Joel Steve Williams served as Pulpit Minister

August 2006 – December 2009 Damon Price served as the Associate Minister

2007 : Calvin Warpula serves as the Preaching Minister

April 2009: Lane Widick serves as the Associate and Worship Minister

June 2012: Daniel McGraw joins as Community Life Minister

Dec. 2014: Calvin Warpula retires from full-time preaching

May 2014: Church holds a reunion celebrating the congregation’s 75th anniversary

Jan. 2015: Daniel McGraw serves as Pulpit Minister

May 2015: Roy Rhodes begins as Associated Minister

The Rhodes family departed in 2019 and the McGraw family departed in 2020 to serve closer to their family and hometowns

In 2019, Stanley Petrisky began serving the congregation as worship leader, and he joined our staff as office administrator in 2020

January 2021: Josef Bilnoski began serving as the senior minister, coming to West U from Impact Church of Christ