First Christian Church will be celebrating 185 years in Palmyra this month.
The church, which traces its history to 1834, when Brother H. Thomas began preaching in Palmyra, will be observing their anniversary starting with special services of “Reflection and Rejoicing with Song” at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, and Saturday, Sept. 14.
The 185th birthday celebration will continue Sunday, Sept. 15, during morning worship, beginning at 11 a.m.
According to church records, almost all of the church’s services have been held just about where the present building stands at 202 E. Olive.
The original church building was a one room brick building erected in 1846.
In December 1887, the first steps were taken for a new church building.
The Palmyra Spectator of Aug. 23, 1888, published an article on the dedication of the new Christian Church.
“The handsome new house of worship recently erected by the members of the Christian Church of this city was dedicated last Sunday,” the article states.
The general plan of the structure was the same as it is at present except for the north wing which was added at the time of remodeling in 1923.
Many changes have taken place since the erection of the second church building in 1887 including a most recent total sanctuary renovation completion in 2018.
There have been 41 resident ministers and many guest preachers, such as Jacob Creath and Barton W. Stone in 1841, and Alexander Campbell in 1848, who have presented the Christian proclamation to the congregation of First Christian Church.
The Restoration Movement or by some known as the “Stone-Campbell Movement” resulted in the development of non-denominational Christian churches with their congregations identified as Disciples of Christ or Christian churches with a focus on New Testament teaching, shared governance between clergy and laity, baptism by immersion, ecumenism, and the regular celebration of communion during worship.
The congregation is currently led by Pastor Mark Carpenter serving as the 42nd minister during the church’s 185th birthday and Palmyra’s Bicentennial year.