First Christian Church Celebrates 100 Years

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“May God graciously accept the offering of this home, made by grateful hearts, and willing hands, and bless every heart that shares in the gift.”

The words above are from the service of dedication for the new brick home of the First Christian Church of Hillsboro, held on Dec. 7, 1924. Over a century after its first services, that mission continues.

The First Christian Church of Hillsboro will celebrate 100 years of worship in its current church building located at 210 School Street this Sunday, Aug. 22, following its morning service which begins at 10:45 a.m.

According to Hillsboro A History, written by Dorothy Bliss, the congregation was organized in July 1905 after “two stirring addresses by Evangelist E.O. Sharpe.” The 71 charter members first met at the Historic Court house, Old Opera House and the Armory Hall on Main Street.  

The initial First Christian Church building, called a small tabernacle at the time, was a frame “round top” located on the current property, according to an excerpt from God and Country Scouting Project, authored by Bill Rintz,  who was a member of the church circa the 1960s.  

The original building was dedicated on April 10, 1910 and then the current brick structure was built in 1921 with the vision of architect H. R. Temple from Champaign at the cost of only $40,000.  Twenty-two years later on Nov. 2, 1946, that mortgage was retired.

“The Rev. H.J. Hostetler was pastor at the time of the dedication of the new brick church,” wrote Bliss.  Attending those dedicatory services were local parishioners as well as people from Atwater, Collinsville, Raymond, Irving, Litchfield and Walshville.  

Pastors present were Dr. H.H. Peters, state secretary of the Christian Church of Illinois; Rev. Willis W. Vose of Urbana, state evangelist of the Christian churches; Rev. Shreve, Christian pastor of Litchfield; Rev. M.L. Easterling, Christian pastor at Irving; and Rev. H.J. Hostetler, the local pastor. 

Forty ministers or interim pastors have served the congregation since it was established.

Some pastors who have served in the First Christian Church include Edwin Schaich, Lloyd Hustler, Dr. Leon Kidd and the current pastor, the Rev. Harry C. Meyer, who began in 1981.

The Rev. Meyer said the current building was built by all volunteers.  The woodwork inside is all original, as are the metal ceiling tiles and stained glass windows.

One interesting element is that cushioned theatre seats replaced the church pews in the 1970s.  “I don’t think any other church has those,” stated Rev. Meyer.

Members and friends of the church are welcome to help celebrate at the church this Sunday, Aug. 22, immediately following the service which begins at 10:45 a.m.

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