Welcome to the first installment of a new series of articles. It’s our aim to highlight some historical events in our heritage.  The first one comes from the February 1954 Word and Work (Vol. XLVIII, No.2). It’s chronicles the “Fiftieth Anniversary celebration of Bro. Robert Henry (R.H.) Boll’s coming as the preacher of the Portland Avenue Church of Christ in Louisville, KY.

Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration

         On January 10, 1904, Brother R. H. Boll began his work with the Portland Avenue Church of Christ.  He has been the minister of the congregation, “save   about. A year in 1910-11, when he taught Bible in Bro. Stribling’s school in Lawrenceburg, TN.”

January 10, 1954, significally fell on Sunday again, and as he has done thousands of times through the years, Brother Boll again had the pleasure of speaking the life-giving Word to the congregation at Portland Avenue—some of whom were present fifty years ago when he first began his ministry.

The elders and deacons at Portland Avenue along with the whole congregation and many other brethren wanted to make this anniversary and occasion or special thanksgiving to God and to His humble servant for the rich blessings they had received from his ministry during the years. January 15, 7:30 p.m., the date set for this occasion, found the auditorium filled to overflowing, with a number accommodated in classrooms which were served by loudspeakers. Many from distant points were present for this unusual occasion. Some of the preachers present, and others, have known Brother Boll for the entire fifty years. The large crown came in spite of the very unfavorable weather.

Brother Carl Vogt Wilson, an elder of the church, was the able Master of Ceremonies. The meeting was informal and those who wished were given the privilege of making three-minute talks reminiscing and telling what the life and teaching of this man of God had meant to them.

Seats were reserved at the front for those who were at Portland when Brother Boll first came to the congregation or during the early years of his ministry. The Christian A Capella Chorus and the Kentucky Bible College. Quartet sang a number of his favorite hymns.

Brother George Albus, an elder of the church, read and presented to him a letter from the congregation artistically hand lettered in English script on parchment by Brother David Clancy. Brother Victor McKinley presented to him a liberal love offering of about eighteen hundred dollars from the Portland church and many other friends in honor of this occasion.  At the close of the service Brother Boll was given the privilege of saying a few words in his own “defense” and recounted his experiences in his first protracted meeting.

Following the service in the auditorium he and Sister Boll were taken to the dining hall of the new school building, which had been beautifully decorated in gold and white for the occasion, where they received congratulations from their many friends.  A large, beautifully decorated cake had been prepared for the anniversary celebration.  Each of the guests received a souvenir booklet of Brother Boll’s early life reprinted from Truth and Grace.  A point of special interest was the display of pictures of Brother Boll, his early schoolmates and friends, and the Bible classes through the years. There were also many old meeting announcement and other mementos from his service for the Lord through the years which Sister Boll had carefully saved along with a complete display of his books, pamphlets, and tracts.

It was a blessed time of fellowship and many lingered until close to midnight, we all left feeling, The Lord has been very good to us,” as Brother Boll expressed it.

We rejoice that after so many years of faithful untiring service he is still strong and vigorous “full of sap and green” and able to continue his preaching, teaching, and writing ministry.  We pray that if the Lord tarries, He will graciously give him many more years of service.