In 1924, the corner of Crutcher and Delmar streets were at the extreme southeastern edge of Springfield and still pretty much country. Two Christian ladies who lived in the area decided that it would be good to have a church nearby. They began a fund drive to raise enough money to erect a building. They concentrated on doctors and lawyers because those professions would have more available to contribute. When the building was finished, church services began. There was not a specific denomination affiliation but just a group of people who wanted the Gospel preached. They started without a full-time pastor but invited various men to share God’s Word. These men came from various walks of life including a high school teacher and a Methodist minister.
In 1938, an Irish preacher named Tom McCullagh came to the area with his family. He had just returned from missionary work in Arkansas. He rented a house on Crutcher Street and became acquainted with the folks at the little church on the corner. He began doing the Lord’s work in the church. Early ministry included baptism services for new converts at a rented city swimming pool.
During the next year, Mr. McCullagh started tent meetings to preach the Gospel and called his friend, Mr. John Elliot, also from Ireland, to join and help him in ministry. Several people from the little church on the corner assisted in the tent ministry by handing out tracts, singing, and setting up the tents.
Mr. McCullagh and Mr. Elliott started Bible studies with the folks at the church and soon the group became an assembly of believers, desiring to meet according to New Testament principles. And so in 1940, the Southeast Gospel Hall was born. There was a short period when the group moved to a store front in downtown Springfield for services and sold the building on Crutcher to another group. However, that group later put the building back up for sale and the Southeast believers purchased the building back and returned to their roots.
In the intervening years, the building has been remodeled and the name has changed to Southeast Bible Chapel (1995) but the testimony and Biblical teaching have continued. The assembly of believers from the little church on the corner are still preaching the Gospel and teaching the Word of God.