Woodlawn Church, near Paducah, Ky., presented a petition for
admission into the Presbytery and was received and ordered enrolled
among the churches of this Presbytery. A. L. Roark was enrolled
as the representative from this church.
[Source: Minutes of Mayfield Presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, October 8, 1927, page 3]
The Woodlawn Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized by
the Mayfield Presbyterial Missionary Rev. Tom Harris May
29, 1927. Thirteen charter members met in the Farley School building.
Four elders were ordained to represent and direct the spiritual
welfare of the congregation.
The first pastor called to serve this congregation was the Rev. S. P. Tucker. Rev. Tucker is largely responsible for the existence of this church, as he preached the "whosoever will" gospel to the people many times before they desired to establish a church.
On January 3, 1929, the congregation bought some lots and a church building was erected. This building was dedicated December 20, 1931, by Rev. D. W. Fooks; Rev. E. R. Ladd preached the dedication sermon.
Presbyterial Missionary Mrs. O. H. Hardin organized a Womens Missionary Society at Woodlawn by Spring 1930.
Sunday School has been in existence continuously since the church was organized.
The Woodlawn congregation was fortunate in securing a church
bell, which in fact, is older than the church. This bell was once
used on a tug boat called the GLEAMER, that plied the Ohio and
Mississippi Rivers. The old GLEAMER, after many years of faithful
service, was scrapped by the owner, West Kentucky Coal Company.
The bell was donated to the Woodlawn Church by Mr. Thecker, one
of the officials of the company. Elder Lee Story was employed
by the West
Kentucky Coal Company at this time and was largely responsible for obtaining the bell. For many years the bell rang out its appeal each Lord's Day to the people of the community to prepare for worship in God's holy place.
In the following years additional pastors served the church. They were: W. T. Nunley, Joe Gardner, R. T. Mitchell, Harold Howard, Mrs. Ethel Mitchell, Hubert Covington, E. A. Mathis.
The services of Rev. R. T. Mitchell were contracted for one-half time for twelve months in Fall 1933; he was promised the Sunday offering. Rev. S. P. Tucker was promised a free will offering for one-half time (six months) in Spring 1936.
The record flooding of 1937 covered the Farley area and approximately four feet of water was measured inside the church building. Boards from the pews were used to build a boat. The pews were later replaced. All residents of the area moved to other places for about a month and church services were suspended for a period of time. Many of the church records were lost due to the flooding.
The Rev. Glenn Moore became pastor in 1941, and the church went from one Sunday preaching each month to two Sundays. He was called to full time pastor in 1943. Four new Sunday School rooms were completed in the fall of 1944.
In April of 1947, the Rev. Moore accepted a church in Campbellsville, Kentucky, and a chaplain just out of Military Service, the Rev. E. R. Ladd, succeeded him. His salary was $35.00 per Sunday.
Shortly after the Rev.
Ladd became pastor of the church, a manse and three lots
were purchased, redecorated and remodeled at a total cost to $4,250.00.
The church continued to grow spiritually and financially during
this time. In 1949-1950, a new piano was purchased, the interior
of the church was redecorated, new pews were purchased, and a
furnace was installed. Many members contributed above and beyond
their means in order to further the gospel proclaimed through
A new building, costing approximately $50,000.00, was started in April 1954, and six months later the first service in this building was held October 10, 1954. The membership was 160. A new piano, new organ, and choir chairs were soon purchased. In 1959 a new manse was constructed. In 1960 the old Sunday School rooms were bricked for a garage and other purpose building, new walks to the church and manse were constructed, along with a parking lot for the congregation.
The same year the indebtedness of the church was paid off, 1960, death claimed Rev. Ladd. On October 9, 1960, a special sermon was given at 11:00 a.m. by former pastor and Moderator of Mayfield Presbytery, Rev. Glenn Moore. At 2:30 p.m. a Dedication Service by Eugene Warren, Executive Secretary of the Board of Finance of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was followed by the Dedication Service of Church and Manse by Rev. E. A. Mathis, former Pastor, and General Representative of Kentucky Synod. The day was rounded out with a 7:30 p.m. service led by the new pastor, Rev. Paul Belt.
When Rev. Belt and his wife, Estelle, and their three children, moved into the manse, this began the longest pastorate in the history of the Woodlawn Church. Rev. Belt's first Sunday as pastor was October 9, 1960; Rev. Belt resigned as pastor effective December 31, 1993 - 33 1/4 years.
During those 33 1/4 years a Sunday School annex was built in 1964; the building was air-conditioned and two pieces of property around the church were purchased in 1966, the manse was moved across the street to accommodate the construction of a new 590 seat Sanctuary - all done without a Building Program - completely on faith, in 1974. Cost for this building was approximately $175,000.00. Also in 1974 more property was acquired, and more property bought in 1976.
The former Sanctuary was remodeled in 1979 to provide a Fellowship Hall, Nursery, restrooms, and kitchen. With a vision for the future, a new building was begun, with grounding breaking on Homecoming Day, October 13, 1991. This building was dedicated as the Paul O. Belt Christian Outreach Center on May 17, 1992. It contains a new kitchen, additional restrooms, modern Sunday School rooms, and a multipurpose area. The former Sunday School annex was remodeled to house the secretary's office, the Minister of Music's office, a storage room for music and supplies, a library, and the Pastor's study, dedicated in the memory of Mrs. Estelle Belt.
On December 4, 1994, Rev. Greg A. Moss preached his first sermon as pastor of the Woodlawn Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Attendance on that morning was 136 in Sunday School and 226 in Worship Service.
The Elders serving during the 1995 year included two grandsons of Rev. Paul O. Belt: Todd Belt and Darin Lampley. Rev. Belt participated in the ordination of these young men.
Following the resignation of Rev. Moss December 14, 1997, the pulpit was once filled by various ministers, including Dr. J. David Hester and Rev. James Fulton.
On October 25, 1998, Dr. Roger Reid became the pastor of Woodlawn Church. He and his wife, Becky, and three children, moved into the manse.
The Cumberland Presbyterian Magazine has featured the Woodlawn Church on their covers twice - December 1, 1976, and January 15, 1987. In the 1987 issue Editor Rev. Richard Magrill closed his article about Woodlawn with the following paragraph: The 1986 homecoming celebration was only a tiny portion of the continuing life that is the wonder of Woodlawn Church, but I left that evening feeling greatly enriched for having had the opportunity of sharing in it. The late night drive back to Memphis included a continuing drizzle and fog. My mind paid little attention to the gloom. Instead, my homeward journey was brightly lit by the warm hospitality of Woodlawns pastor and people and the stirring melodies of its choir.
Woodlawn has earned the reputation of being fertile ground for growing leaders. Many have left this congregation and made a mark in the Christian community. As one member recently said Woodlawn has missionaries in nearly every church in the Paducah area. We can also add and in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
No Session Records on Deposit
1979 Church Directory
1983 Church Directory [2 copies]
1986 Church Directory [2 copies]
Commemorative Church Plate, 1953