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This last weekend (December 1st, to be exact) 160 years ago a small congregation of 13 was chartered as FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH of Andersontown, Indiana.  They met as an “official” congregation in the Chestnut Grove Schoolhouse on Mounds Road.  This newly chartered congregation had been meeting, in fits and starts, since 1834, mostly in the home of Andy Steward, at 11th & Central.

As the village, town, and city of Andersontown (and later, simply, Anderson) grew, declined and grew again…so did the congregation. By 1861, a mere 3 years since their charter, the congregation had grown from 13 to 1168 souls.  A church building was needed and so, on the corner of 13th & Main (home of THE TOAST now) the first building was built, and the first “official” Pastor was called.

By 1880 the organ was installed and used regularly in worship and for special occasions.  A choir loft was built some 5 years later…and thus the legacy of art and music at Central was born.

The congregation was large enough now to move to a newer larger home.  In 1886 a lot on the corner of Jackson & 10th was purchased for $5000.00 for a new sanctuary.  Groundbreaking was December 1899, and the dedication was a short year later: December 1900.  With the move a name change was in order.  As there was another congregation in Anderson going by the name FIRST CHRISTIAN the congregation at Jackson & 10th chose to rename themselves CENTRAL CHRISTIAN.

A 52-day revival led by the renowned preacher, Charles Reign Scoville, the congregation grew in size from 463 to over 2000 members – the largest Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the world at the time. 

These were our beginnings, our roots.  Why is this all important to know?  Because HOPE (as we have learned) is based on A GOAL, A PATHWAY to the Goal, and the FAITH in God and ourselves as partners to reach the goal.  Did those 13 members in 1858 see this place, these people, this town?  In a way, I believe they did…or none of us would be here. 

It is vitally important to remember where and how God took us from one place to another.  Our vision is sadly short-sighted when it comes to dreaming, casting, and HOPING.  To look back and remember is sometimes a very good thing.

It is because of God’s plan, grace, love, strength, and protection that we are CENTRAL CHRISTIAN CHURCH today – what will the next 160 years bring?  That is up to the partnership between God and us…it all depends on HOPE: Goal, Pathway, & Faith.


For a more detailed look at CENTRAL CHRISTIAN’s history, click here: