Our Congregation's History

Here is a timeline history of First Christian Church.

1949 early: Conversations about the need for a Christian Church begin.

1949 July: Thirteen people met at the home of Tom and Elsie Burkett, 100 Pearl Road, Oak Ridge, with student minister William A. Loft, to form a Christian Church. First Worship Service held in old Jefferson Junior High School. William A. Loft, student minister.

1949 August: Christian Women's Fellowship (CWF) formed.

1949 September: Arkansas House obtained as meeting place. Tom Burkett becomes temporary minister.

1949 November: First baby born - Jean Gallaher.

1949 December: First CWF project.

1950 May: First full-time minister, Stanley H. Dysart, arrives. Parsonage rented at 183 California Avenue.

1950 June: First conferees attend Bethany Hills; First offering to Missions, Children's Day, $14.05.

1950 July: First baptismal service held at Swan Pond, near Harriman; First youth group organized, Sue Phillippi, President.

1950 September: Charter signing by 87 members.

1951 January: First budget adopted, $6,501.20.

1951 February: First funeral, Rev. Arthur E. Simerly.

1951 May: First church bulletin, used on Mother's Day; First ordination service for church officers.

1952 January: Junior Choir formed.

1952 June: First wedding, Betty McCuiston and Thurman I. Miller.

1952 July: Deed signed for church property on Michigan Avenue, 3.47 acres costing $1,041.00.

1952 October: Chi Rho Fellowship formed, Sue Phillippi, President; Christian Men's Fellowship (CMF) organized, Ray Brookshire, President.

1952 December: Building fund launched; 167 members pledged $12,382.00.

1953 February: Arkansas House destroyed by fire.

1953 October: Ground-breaking services for sanctuary building.

1954 January: CWF First Woman's Day Service.

1954 June: First Vacation Bible School; First constitution adopted; Purchased for $381 from Atomic Energy Commission 1.27 acres - the present parking lot.

1954 September: Moved into new sanctuary building at 203 Michigan Avenue.

1955 October: Dedication Day for Sanctuary Building.

1956 September: Alvin B. Amos installed as minister.

1957 January: The first newsletter, "The Proclaimer", started by Mr. Amos.

1962 May: Benjamin Dinsmore Nisbet, Jr., begins ministry.

1964 March: Ground-breaking services for Education Building.

1964 November: Dedication of Education Building.

1966 June: New parsonage at 205 Michigan Avenue, dedicated.

1967 June: The Honored Minister's Pin presented to Virgil P. Glass, commemorating his 50th year in the ministry.

1968 September: Edward Charles Weber installed as minister.

1969 June: Ordination of Tommy Ray Akers, our first Timothy. Lester G. McAllister, speaker.

1974 July: 25th Anniversary of this church. Tom Burkett, speaker.

1975 September: Mortgage-burning ceremony for our church building debt.

1976 April: First women elders elected.

1976-1979: The Youth Choir, "The Joyful Sounds", organized and directed by Janice Ketterer; Tours southeastern states.

1978 July: Johnny and Martha Wray arrive to begin their ministry.

1978 September: Acolyte Program started in the church.

1979 February: New Allen 2020 organ installed and dedicated; First Rock-A-Thon. Youth rocked for offerings to the Week of Compassion.

1979 March: Johnny Wray ordained into the Christian Church ministry in our sanctuary. Stephen Cranford, speaker.

1979 October: The Honored Minister's Pin presented to Carl W. Smith.

1979 November: Dedication of Sanctuary Building after capital funds improvements.

1980 November: First stained glass window, the Resurrection Window, dedicated. 

1981 February: Church History Corner developed by Robert and Evelyn Ellingson.

1981 April: "The Good Shepherd" window dedicated.

1981 June: The "Suffer the Little Children" window dedicated.

1981 July: Summer Week of Teaching established.

1982 January: "The Nativity of Our Lord" window dedicated.

1982 May: Le Nhu Linh, Vo Thi Kim Sa, and son, Le Nhat Dang, arrive at Knoxville airport from Vietnam.

1982 September: The "In My Father's House" window dedicated.

1982 November: The Prime Timers, a senior citizens group, formed.

1983 May: "The Sermon on the Mount" window dedicated.

1983 November: Elders established the "Ruth Plaque" to honor women of the church, with Ruth Cunningham the first recipient.

1984 June: Church's 35th Anniversary celebrated; "The Congregational Window" dedicated.

1984 July: Ruth Theobald receives "Ruth Plaque" honor.

1986 August: Charles Leroy Cox begins his ministry.

1987 March: World Day of Prayer sponsored by Church Women United.

1987 November: Jesse Bradshaw begins his ministry in this church.

1988 April: The "Portrait of Jesus" window dedicated.

1988 May: Joseph Michael Peacock, our second Timothy, ordained into Christian ministry. Loren Broadus, speaker.

1990 May: Walter Taylor installed as Associate Minister.

1990 August: The "Portrait of Mary" window dedicated.

1992: Oak Ridge's 50th Birthday. Brick walk in Jackson Square honors donors of bricks with names inscribed. First Christian Church's name is inscribed on one brick.

1993 March: Kitchen refurbished by CWF.

1993 May: Stella Smith honored by Ruth Plaque.

1993 June: Homecoming Celebration with speakers Tommy Ray Akers and Joseph Michael Peacock, our two Timothys. The Elders Emeritus honor established. Karl Rapp Jr. and Floyd Glass elected as the first two recipients.

1994 March: Mural in Baptistry dedicated in memory of Eugene and J.T. Canady.

1994 June: John Farquharson and Woodford Terry named Elders Emeritus.

1995 June: Robert D. Ellingson, John Harris Mitchell, and Mary Helen Rose named Elders Emeritus.

1995 June: Evelyn Ellingson receives "Ruth Plaque" honor.

1996 January: Danny Plaster makes his first missionary trip to Haiti with others from the Christian Church in Tennessee.

1996 October: Adrianne Hopper Prentiss, our third Timothy, ordained into Christian ministry. Lori Adams, speaker.

1997 January; Brice Hughes begins his interim ministry - the first full-time interim in the congregation's history.

1998 January: Danny Plaster makes his second missionary trip to Haiti.

1998 February: Laura Odiorne begins her ministry in this church.

1999 July: Lois Ann Farquharson receives "Ruth Plaque" honor.

2000 July: Davis Babcock begins his interim ministry.

2001 June 24: Charlotte Keyes receives "Ruth Plaque" honor.

2002 February: Jack Russell begins his ministry in this church.

2004 June: Virginia Brock receives "Ruth Plaque" honor.

2004 June: Tom Adkins and Barbara Pullen named Elders Emeritus.

2004 December 31: An arsonist destroys the facility.

2005 February: Jack Russell and Buddy Murray make missionary trip to Haiti.

2005 February-March: Linh Le makes missionary trip to Vietnam.

2005 March 20: The church moves into its interim facility at 116 East Division Road.

2005 October 1: Congregation votes to build its new facility at corner of Oak Ridge Turnpike and Gum Hollow Road.

2006 April 9: Church selects Foxhollow Goodson as architect and Construction Design and Management (CD&M) as constructor for new building

2006 July: Ramona Halburnt and Robbie Kotarski receive "Ruth Plaque" honor.

2006 July: Barbara Wilson and Bill Wilson named Elders Emeritus.

2008 May 11: Congregation apporves design and construction of new facility.

2008 August 1: Michael Fetty begins his ministry in this church.

2008 September 29: Construction of new facility at 100 Gum Hollow Road begins.

2009 : Bill Wilson first to receive honor of the new "Carpenters Plaque."

2009 October 18: First worship service in New facility at 100 Gum Hollow Road.

2010 April: Parking lot expansion doubled the number of parking spaces from the original parking lot.

2011: First Christian Church continues to grow as we have welcomed a record number of new members into the church family.

2012:  Heather Godsey begins her Interim Ministry in July.

2013:  Steve Sherman begins his Ministry in March.