We have a firm belief that in order to know where we’re going, we need to know and respect where we have come from. Central Christian Church has a rich and interesting history since 1835.  Although our church has changed and will continue to change with the times, there are certain principles we were founded upon that will always remain.  Enjoy as you read more about our history…

 

Prepared by Dr. Robert Tuck for the 1980 pictorial directory, updated in 1996 by Dr. Win Logan and in 2003 by Rev. Kevin Phipps, with ongoing updates kept up by the church’s technology team.

church_1847_smallThe introductory work of preaching and teaching in preparation for the establishment of a Church of Christ in Wooster began in 1834.  The actual organization of the church was on July 26, 1835.  The following statement of the organization as found in the old records of the church reads:

At a meeting on Lord’s Day, July 26, 1835, the persons whose names appear below extended to each other the hand of Christian fellowship, and organized themselves into a worshipping assembly under the following pledge: We, the disciples of Jesus Christ, living in and near Wooster, being desirous of attending to all the ordinances of the Lord’s house, do unite ourselves together in a congregated capacity, taking our guide or discipline the New Testament of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  And we propose, as soon as practical to appoint bishops and deacons, whose duty it shall be to take charge of the temporal and spiritual interests of the congregation, according to the Holy Scriptures.  And in order to protect ourselves from imposition, we further agree not to receive any person claiming to be a Christian who is not known to us, or who does not present a letter of recommendation from some congregation.  To the above we have authorized our several names to be affixed: Wm. F. Pool; Peter Willis and Elizabeth, his wife; Frederick Kauke and Elizabeth, his wife; Samuel Zimmerman and Mary, his wife; George K. Zimmerman; Griffith L. Jones; Elizabeth Scott; Eleanor Jones; Mary McCurdy; Elizabeth Hickman; Rebecca Hull; Sophia Zimmerman; Kimball Porter and Susannah, his wife.

From the time of the organization until May 1847 there is no definite record of the congregation.  It is presumed that this little band met from house to house for communion, Bible study, and for preaching when a preacher was available.  The records show that this group, under their own leadership, grew from 21 to 100 in the first twelve years of existence.

The first ‘called pastor’ (1844-47) was Bro. J. Harrison Jones, an outstanding pulpit orator and singer.  At times, meetings were held in the court house, in a brick school house in the southern part of town, in a Grant Street copper shop, and in a large room in the J.S. Lake Building on West Liberty Street.  In 1847, the church occupied its first ‘church owned’ building located at S. Walnut and South Streets.

With an enrollment of 30 and an attendance of 18, a Bible School was organized on March 21, 1857.  Another historic event took place on May 12, 1852 when the Ohio Christian Missionary Society was organized in Wooster, a forerunner of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Ohio.

Due to internal problems and the weakening of the number of Disciples, the church building was becoming badly in need of repair and was sold for $1,000 and the money was applied to the purchase of a lot in the 400 block of N. Buckeye Street.  From 1885 to 1891 the group met in homes again, also meeting in 1888-9 in Miller’s Hall.  Prominent in the leadership at that time was Mrs. Charlotte Reid, through whose personal influence and labor a new building was conceived as an imperative for growth and mission.  In 1891, the building on Buckeye Street was dedicated without indebtedness.

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1891 – Central Christian Church

With a determination to relocate to a larger facility the congregation bought a very strategically and prominently located property on N. Market Street, just back of the Buckeye Street property.  In 1950 the church dedicated a new brick colonial sanctuary, attached to an impressive, well preserved and expanded brick house.  The Buckeye property and an additional lot now serve as excellent parking space.

From 1923 to 1967 the church was capably served with the ministerial leadership of the Rev. Dr. Robert S. Tuck.  The Rev. Dr. Paul E. Kerr served as pastor from January 1967 until May 1984.  Pastor Jerry L. Murphy was called in July 1985 and served until 1998.  Under the Rev. David Stout the church underwent a program of revitalization.  Rev. Kevin Phipps was called to serve as the church’s twenty-fifth pastor in its 168-year history in July 2002 and he served the church through April 2016.
 
Currently, the church is being led by Rev. J. Alexander as an Interim Minister through mid-2018. We’re working on writing our next chapter of history as a church!