Celebrating our past!
A Church for the present!
Equipped for the future!
FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH (DISCIPLES OF CHRIST)
TEXAS CITY, TEXAS 1922 - 2011
Rev. Ewell, Pastor of Central Christian Church in Galveston, Tex. advertised for a meeting of persons interested in starting a Christian Church in Texas City. Seven attended the meeting at First Presbyterian Church. The church was organized and began with meetings in the Hunter Building on 6th Street. Rev. Ewell came from Galveston to preach. Around 1931 the church had grown and a long, narrow house on 8th Ave. was purchased. The Great Depression was in full swing and the decline in jobs led to the loss of membership and the church could no longer afford to pay a minister. Sunday School was continued until the fall of 1933. At that time the building was sold and the $700 in income from the sale was placed with the Church Extension Service to be used for a new church if ever one was attempted again.
In 1944 a meeting was held by evangelist Lloyd H. Thompson for persons interested in starting a Christian Church in Texas City. 64 charter members signed up and pledged $167 per month to meet expenses. The pledges went up as others were given the opportunity to pledge. The group voted to extend an invitation to Dr. Joseph Babb, Central Christian Church, Galveston, to hold services at 3 pm on Sundays until a minister could be called. It was planned to have a minister for the La Marque and Texas City churches together.
The first minister called was Rev. Peyton Davis, June 1, 1944. Rev. Davis stayed with the congregation for 2 years and during that time the building on 4th St. and 8th Ave. was erected. The first section of the building was dedicated on April 29, 1945.
Rev. Kenneth Teagarden came to serve the church in February, 1947. It was during this time that a parsonage, located at #17 6th Ave N, was purchased. On April 16, 1947 the Texas City disaster occurred. Rev. Teagarden was instrumental in organizing the clergy in relief efforts. Help for Texas City families poured in from all over the world. Approximately 500 were killed and thousands injured.
George C. Stuart came from Fort Worth on June 13, 1948 to begin his ministry in Texas City. He resigned on Sept. 1, 1949 to accept a pastorate in Illinois. Rev. Bruce E. Banks was our next minister for a 2 year term and left to reenter the Army as a Chaplain.
Rev. Kent Newman accepted a call to come to Texas City as minister in 1952 and left July 29, 1956. The membership in March, 1944 was 6; in July 1946 the membership was 78; in June 1948, 125; in September 1949, 135; in September 1951, 180; in June 1952, 201; and in April, 1956, 264. Church school attendance during 1953 through 1956 averaged 177 each Sunday. The average Texas City industrial wage was $5,600.00 and the national average wage was under $3,000.00. The monthly budget during that period was $2,191.00.
Rev. Wilbur Mix was interim minister and installed Rev. James E. Dorman. Bonds were purchased by the congregation to finance the new building. Ground was broken in August 1961, for the present building. In September, 1961, hurricane Carla devastated Texas City. Only sand and some materials were lost by the church, but many of our members lost their possessions. Most people thought they were insured for storm damage, but it turned out that they were not insured for flood damage. Christian Churches in Texas sent funds to pay for the ruined floors, etc. in the parsonage. Rev. Dorman left in 1963.
Rev. Alex Cox served as minister from 1963 until 1973.
Rev. John Sperling served from 1973 until July, 1978. In January 1978 Roy Johnson reported that the church was still spending at the rate of $60,000. “Realistic spending should be in the range of $52,000.” A united effort toward high school age youth is being started by St. George’s Episcopal Church, our church and First Presbyterian to show movies. The cost will be shared among the churches. It was mentioned that plans are to encourage the use of offering envelopes as a means of setting an example to others of dropping offering into a plate. Positive note: Elders are assigning responsibility to diaconate with membership calling groups. Youth council decided to have 3 months of youth fellowship. Rev. Sperling suggested means of increasing church attendance: l, sermons, 2, place responsibility upon department committees for “special events” of all kinds - but then what, forget it, ignore it, or rationalize it, 3, the Board, acting as the Twelve Disciples, could become committed and witness to members the importance of church attendance. A class on human sexuality is still being discussed. To encourage attendance, special calling was done before Fathers Day. The possibility of changing worship hour prior to Sunday school was discussed. July, 1978 was John Sperling’s last month with the church. An interim minister was being looked for and the board decided that members would fill the pulpit on the next four Sundays. The Sperlings would be given a farewell reception on July 16, and they will leave on Aug. 14.
A special board meeting was called on August 15, 1978 to introduce the board to the new interim minister, Dr. D. Ray Lindley. Dr. Lindley would spend Sunday through Wednesday in Texas City, preaching, shepherding, recruiting, and visiting. Priority will be given to any who are troubled in any way. A folding machine and two copying machines were purchased through bidding on surplus items at College of the Mainland.
The church has subscribed to “The Newcomers List”, published by the Chamber of Commerce. The feasibility of this subscription is being studied. Communion will be taken to those shut-ins who request it. This is suggested by Dr. Lindley and the elders will be responsible for this service. During the October Board meeting, a letter of resignation was read from Gene Johnson, board secretary. She was hurt because the nominating committee did not ask her to run for the office again, nor did the tell her or her husband that they were being replaced. At the December board meeting a motion was made to send a letter of appreciation to Gene and Roy Johnson for their faithful service as Treasurer and Secretary. Wilbur Mix attended the December board meeting to discuss becoming the interim minister when Dr. Lindley leaves.
David Mills was called as minister June 10, 1979. A committee for long range planning was appointer by Pat Hughes, chairman of the board for 1979. A proposal was made to have a revival during March of 1980. Faust Matthews was contacted and accepted. Long range planning committee met with a representative of the Church Extension Board. They recommended that the committee have more members and more goals. There are currently 22 members on the committee. The committee requested and received approval from the board for the establishment of a Youth Council and a Building Fund.
In October, 1980 the church tried volunteer pledging and it did not work. The 1981 budget will have to be revised for $5,000 to $10,000. In October, 1981 the Long Range Planning committee recommended that 3 or 4 acres on the east side be sold. This motion was tabled. It was decided that the property of the church would be sold only in a dire emergency.
Dr. Wes Morgan came to Texas City in 1985. During Dr. Morgan’s stint with us a lot of outreach programs were begun. The Bearly Making It group makes bears to be presented to children who are picked up by the Texas City Police Department.
The quilting group makes sewing projects for the church and makes quilts to be raffled as a money making project. Habitat for Humanity builds houses for the homeless. Food is collected for the Texas City Food Bank. School Supplies are collected for the community. Soup labels and store receipts are collected for the Texas City day nursery. Our congregation has been blessed with large donations from members. We have also been blessed by help from outside our congregation. Whenever a need has arisen, such as hurricane Alicia. Money from donations has allowed us to pay off the cost of our sanctuary and now we own the building outright. We have a bell and chimes music ministry which is outstanding. One of our services to the community is our Class Acts program which brings quality entertainment to the community at a reasonable cost
Beginning with January 1986, David Mills was associate minister and Wes Morgan was minister. In Feb, Sandra Andoe asked for a personal audit of the previous year’s income and expenses to use for evaluation purposes. The Pastoral Relations Committee met to set goals for 1986. In July, 1986, Treasurer, Bill Wimberly explained to the Board that we were in trouble financially. If he released the April, May and June payments to the Church Finance Council, we would have a negative balance of $4,000. plus. He advised we would either have to spend special funds or adjust our Outreach. Sandra Andoe made a motion to release the checks for April, May and June as funds were available and review where we stand at the end of the budget year. Motion carried. David Mills resigned as Associate Minister effective August 1, 1986. In April, 1987, the church met with a representative from the Church Board of Extension to discuss a building program.
In February, 1988 Joe Hoover was hired as the Architect firm for the building of the sanctuary. It seems the Long Range Planning Committee was turned into The Cabinet.
August, 1988, Wes Morgan requested that everyone pray for dirt. Prayers granted. In March, 1989, a motion was made and carried to ask for assistance with financial planning from the Board of Extension. This was after a motion to move the Parsonage Certificate of Deposit and the Parsonage Note to the General Fund and the interest from the Building Fund remain in the Building Fund was defeated. On September 17, 1989 the membership voted to put 3.5 acres of land up for sale, with the proceeds going to the Building Fund.
In June, 1990, building plans were approved for the start of construction of the new sanctuary. Cliff Guidry acted as general contractor and the building work was subcontracted. Ground breaking was held on July 29, 1990. Loan Resolution from the Church Board of Extension was approved. This was a loan of $200,000.00 to be amortized within 15 years. There was also a new organ purchased during 1990. During 1991, row greeters were appointed to cultivate an evangelistic spirit within the church. A goal of 50 new members was set by the HUG (HELP US GROW) committee. Red Lesco and Alan Kepley audited the financial records of the church for the year of 1990 and found everything in order.
The cornerstone for the new building was leveled on April 25, 1991. Dedication of the new sanctuary was held on June 23, 1991. A recommendation was made by the board to sell 3.5 to 4 acres to James Saye, Jr. for $1.00 per square foot. In September of 1991, $2,000.00 was borrowed from the Capital Improvement Account to meet monthly expenses. In September,1991, Frank Martin requested that a mid-week fellowship activity be held. In November, 1991, David Mills was appointed Minister Emeritus for life. Permission was requested to use our facilities for a day nursery and a latchkey program. In June, 1992 another Youth Council was formed. It was recommended that a Youth Director/Minister be hired. Three octaves of hand bells were donated to the church by the McQueen family. Susan Howe was hired a Director of hand bell music. Room 16 was rented to Family Outreach of America for $100 per month until they move into their new building.
On March 29, 1993 the Sonshine Day Care Center opened. A part-time youth director was hired for the balance of 1993 to be worked into a full-time position in 1994.
An associate pastor (Cynthia Cohrs) was hired. On April 17, 1995 a report by the Long Range Planning Committee was presented (copy attached). An audit of the 1994 financial records was attempted, but not completed (copy of report attached).
In October, 1995 the board approved the recommendations of the long range planning committee and also approved the job description for a program director. In November,
1995 Suzanne Madden began work as program director.
On October 6, 1996 FCC entered into a 3year contract with Bengal-T to provide a Christian Child Care Center, in our facilities.
In August, 2001 Wes Morgan left Texas City to become pastor of FCC in Conroe, Tx. Our interim pastor was Rev.Dave Hunsicker. Due to Rev. Hunsicker’s disability and illness he was away most of the time.
In September of 2003 Rev. Terrye Williams assumed her duties in Texas City. During her tenure, the Lesco Memorial Garden was created. Today this space serves as a place for meditation, worship, and reflection, remembering those who have served so faithfully. Rev. Williams served the congregation through the spring of 2005.
Rev. Dr. Chuck Isbell served as the interim for the congregation from November 2005 through September 2006.
In October of 2007, Rev. Dr. John Stewart was called to serve the congregation. During his tenure, Hurricane Ike hit the Gulf Coast, blowing most of the roof off the education wing of the church. Nearly every section, including the kitchen, classrooms, and office space was effected by the storm. During this time, most of the building, except for the sanctuary, which did not take on one drop of water, was remodeled. Also during this time, the Mission Post Station was created. The Mission Post Station served as a place where work crews from around the country could stay while helping to rebuild both the church and the Texas City community. In February, 2011, Rev. Stewart retired.
In May, 2011, the Rev. G. Todd Williams was called to serve the First Christian Church of Texas City, marking once again, a new beginning for the congregation.
The following is copied from a prior history of the church:
“First Christian Church is a New Testament Church! This means we draw our inspiration from Scripture and the Holy Spirit. The congregation is made up of persons who have made a confession of faith that Jesus is the Christ and the Savior of the world. Our purpose is to manifest the love of God to all, and to invite all people to respond by accepting Jesus as savior; and, then to discover, develop and use their abilities and resources in serving God and humanity. We are a part of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the largest denomination in America which had its beginnings in this country. With great faith in God’s presence and loving care we serve among the whole human family in the interest of promoting God’s community of peace, justice, mercy and kindness in all that we do.
We are a family! A congregation of people who have accepted Christ as our Savior, and who are now in the process of fulfilling God’s purposes for our living. We have a new heart and a new spirit, and we are growing, learning and loving as Christians. We are also increasing in our ability to help others in their own growth toward God.”