Church History









1902 Building



Burned building





Burned building


1934 Building


Current building with new kitchen and addition



 Our Beginnings

   The First Christian Church of Arcola was founded in 1858. Only twenty-six years earlier, in 1832, the "Disciples" and "Christians" merged to form the movement now known as the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Numerous Disciple churches had been established in Illinois before this time, but now a wave of the movement was sweeping the state amid many debates with the denominations and considerable fervor.

   Alexander Campbell, the leader of the movement, visited Chicago in 1857. The Illinois State Missionary Society had been organized in 1850. It was probably through the efforts of this organization that Dr. W.T. Sylvester began to bring together men interested in Disciples in the young settlement of Okaw. Dr. Sylvester led the group to organize a Christian Church in Arcola in 1858. Dr. Syslvester was the leading member of the church for about fifteen years.

   Our church was organized in 1858 when the village of Okaw was part of the Illinois prairie. The first church building, a wood frame structure, was erected in 1865 and was located at 365 East Washington Street (Arcola). At that time, most of the preaching was done by local elders of the church. In 1902, the second structure (pictured at left) was built. The new structure was a spacious building of red brick trimmed in blue Bedford stone and supported by an Asher foundation. Official dedication was held May 31, 1903. On Wednesday evening, February 8, 1933, in below zero temperatures, this beautiful building was totally destroyed by fire. (see pictures at left.) Immediately, plans were made to rebuild and the present building was dedicated on Sunday, February 4, 1934.


History of Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

   The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) was founded in 1832, when a group of believers known as the "Christians" and a group known as the "Disciples" joined together with a handshake. Both groups agreed on basic beliefs and aims. Today, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is one of the largest churches founded on American soil.


Former Ministers

   We have a relatively good record of former ministers starting at the year 1900, as follows:

1900 J.A. Clemons,     1901-1906 L.T. Faulders

1906-1911 J. I Gunn,    1912 McConnell

1913-1915 W.S. Founds,   1916-1918 B.H. Bruner

1918-1920 F.E, Welton,   1920 D.L. Dunkleberger

1921 O.Pierce Bellanger,   1922-1929 J.I. Gunn

1930-1931 David P. Morris,   1932-33 No record

1934-36 Raymond McAllister

1937-39 W.S. Schuerrmann

1940-41 O.R. McColgin,   1942 H.B. Groff

1943-52 H.L. Hayes,   1953-56 P.N. Hollenbeak

1957-58 Paul Clark,   1959 Don Brown

1959-63 Don Lanier,   1963-1976 Wes Groff

1976-77 Brad Cramer,   1978 Hiram Kegerries

1979-1984 G. John McGarvey

1984-1985 HIram Kegerries

1986-1994 Terry L. Ford

1994-2000 Pat Jones

200-2002 Walt Zorn

2002-Present Harold Williamson