This information is from the “Gold Book” – “One Hundred Years of Service & Worship”. Jennifer Archibald helped write and preserve our history.
In 1879, about 20 Christians banded together and were baptized in Bachelor Run Creek. There were some inactive years, and they re-grouped as a Christian Church on May 25, 1884.
The women with the Spirit!
In June, 1887, the Ladies Aid Society gave the total amount in its treasury, $20, to have the evangelist, O.E. Sharp, conduct a meeting. Sixty were added to the membership!
Money was a problem, but the first recorded yearly treasurer’s report of 1888 shows a collection of $35.79, and debts of $25.59.
The pastor’s salary in 1904 was $804.66. Collections were $809.18. Ministers were basically paid whatever was received in collections. Some early pastors were paid, at least in part, with commodities.
Church membership in 1895 was 135. By 1906, the number had risen to 200. There were 58 additions in 1905. The church continued to grow, and needed a new building. The one-room brick church built in 1887 was razed on April 6, 1914. There was a service of prayer, praise and thanksgiving before the razing. Immediately after the service, several of the women took up the carpet.
The cornerstone was laid June 18, 1914, and the dedication was Nov. 29, 1914. The original cost was to be $15,000, but reached $20,000. People pledged enough to cover the building costs. Membership was about 175, but nearly 600 from the community, and surrounding counties, celebrated the completion of the building. The pastor at the time was G. Stanley West.
In the next month, there were 13 baptisms. The church increased by 33 members in 1914, and in 1915, by 20.
The church was free from debt in January, 1920. A parsonage on South Division Street was purchased – $3000 for the property, and $2,684 for improvements.
In 1928, the church interior was redecorated.
In 1934, the church adopted its first constitution. Enrollment was 135 resident members, and 10 non-resident members. Rev. William C. Aschanhort was pastor – the only minister to serve the church twice. He also served as state evangelist for the Indiana Christian churches.
Pastor and Spy!
Rev. Aschanhort appeared in Washington on peace conferences, and was sent to Russia to investigate Communism under the guise of a representative of the Board of Education. He was discovered and sentenced to Siberia. He escaped with the help of a Russian officer who was later killed on this account.
During the Aschanhorts’ second term, they moved out of the parsonage, and bought their own home next to the church. The parsonage was sold in 1945 for $4,500.
The property of Ammon Oyler on South Center Street was purchased for $1,000.
The first telephone was installed in the church in 1951.
The cost was $4,000 for the work in 1952. Sunday School and Worship Services were held in the basement which was heated by old iron stoves.
Ladies Aid into CWF.
The change happened in 1953, and Martha Hoffman was the first president of the Christian Women’s Fellowship.
New Constitution forms Committees.
Women Included as Chairpersons.
The following committees were formed in 1953 – Membership, Outreach, Evangelism, Education and Finance. Some were chaired by women, and they began attending Board meetings.
Fire broke out in November, 1954. It started in the furnace room, and burned up into the Pastor’s Study and Loyal Berean classroom, and into the kitchen. Fire damaged the stained glass window to the baptistry, and the painting, “The First Easter Dawn”. Pauline Eikenberry, who painted the picture, restored it.
Helping Each Other.
After the fire, services were held for two months in the Presbyterian Church. They had a building and no preacher; we had a preacher and no building! Al Moss teased that the roof didn’t fall in when “those Disciples came down the street!”
Another Parsonage Change.
In 1959, the Aschanhort property was bought for a parsonage. The property on S. Center St. was sold.
Fifty Years in the Present Building!
An all day meeting was held in 1964 with a basket dinner at noon. New light fixtures were dedicated. Also in that year, the Humes property back of the church was bought and used as a church annex for several years.
Ground was broken in 1967 at 104 Meadow Lane. The parsonage was dedicated June 30, 1968. Rev. Craig and family were the first to live there.
Redecorating in 1970.
The organ was rebuilt and chimes added. The choir seating and pulpit were changed.
Fellowship Hall in 1975.
The basement was remodeled. The kitchen was modernized. New classes were formed, and began meeting in the Fellowship Hall. The nursery was moved from the second floor to the basement.
Library and Parlor.
In 1976, the office and classrooms on the east side were remodeled into a library and parlor.
New Constitution of 1977.
The major change was to turn the Church Board into a Board of Directors.
Bob and Jeanne Thornburg plus Cullan and Becky Eikenberry equaled a great singing team. They sang for the Centennial Celebration in 1979.
Membership numbers in 1979.
Total membership was 286. Of this number, 180 were active; 106 inactive. Average church attendance was about 140 in worship, and 100 in Sunday School.
(Members who became Ministers)
Paul Shields graduated from Johnson Bible College, and was ordained in our church in June, 1954.
Walter Kelly graduated from Johnson Bible College in 1955. While a student there, he served a church in Shelbyville, IN, and was ordained there.
Robert M. Craig graduated from Phillips University in 1966. He got his Master’s and Doctor’s degrees from Christian Theological Seminary.
Kimberly (Wheeler) Stoddard graduated from Christian Theological Seminary, and was ordained in our church in June, 1988.
Long & Faithful Service!
In 1979, it was mentioned that Jack Smith had been a deacon for more than 30 years, and is still serving. It was also mentioned that JoAnn Smith, church organist, had served for more than 30 years, and is still serving. We’re just pointing out that 28 years later, in 2007, both are still serving!