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
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.
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
1913-1915 W.S. Founds,
1916-1918 B.H. Bruner
1918-1920 F.E, Welton, 1920 D.L.
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.
1943-52 H.L. Hayes, 1953-56
1957-58 Paul Clark, 1959 Don
1959-63 Don Lanier, 1963-1976
1976-77 Brad Cramer, 1978 Hiram
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