First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Coleman, Texas
by Mrs. Ben Taylor 

from A History of Coleman County and Its People, 1985 
edited by Judia and Ralph Terry, and Vena Bob Gates - used by permission

The Coleman Christian Church was established in 1884 with sixteen charter members:  Mrs. C. N. McFarland, Mrs. Bolinger, Mr. and Mrs. Bird Lewis, Judge and Mrs. Evans, Mr. and Mrs. W. P. Blackburn, Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Stobaugh, Mr. and Mrs. A. Petty, Mr. and Mrs. F. I. Harbour, and Mr. and Mrs. Ratcliff.  The congregation met in the only church building in town, which had been built as a community church where all denominations held their services.

Several years later the congregation held services in a vacant business building which was later occupied by the Manhattan Cafe.  Still later and until 1895 the Christian Church held its services in the County Courthouse.  During the years from 1884 to 1895, the following ministers served the church: W. F. Hawkins, Lyle Smith, Rev. Baldwin, and T. D. Secrest.

While meeting at the Courthouse the church purchased a lot at the corner of Commercial Avenue and Elm Street (312 South Commercial Avenue) and built a wooden frame building in 1895.  The church grew rapidly.  At the end of 1896 members numbered 98, and at the end of 1899 there were 130 members.

Church records show that in 1897 a group of members withdrew and established the Church of Christ.  This “unhappy division” (to quote church history accounts) occurred country-wide during the period of 1895-1900, chiefly because of dispute over use of musical instruments in the church and the method of support of foreign missionaries.

Ministers who served this little church from 1896 to 1916 were: T. D. Secrest, 1896-1900, R. I. Simmons, 1900-1901, Rev. Stanley, 1902-1904, H. M. Brandy, 1905-1907, J. W. Gates (Interim as needed over period of several years), C. F. Hunt, 1913-1914, and George Morrison, 1914-1918.

Drawing of the First Christian Church, built in 1896

In 1916, the decision was made to build a new church building on the same lot on which the present one stood.  To help raise money for this project the women’s organization catered many meals and sold baked goods.  The last service in the little frame building was held in June 1916, and workmen began tearing it down the next day.  Again the congregation held services in the Courthouse until the new building was completed.  The cornerstone of this second building, which was constructed of cream colored brick, was laid, with appropriate ceremonies, August 28, 1916. Bricks were laid by Mrs. Jim Harbour, Mrs. Edgar Williams, F. W. Taylor (Chairman of Board), Miss Fannie Caldwell, Miss Beulah Estes, and Rev. George Morrison (Minister).  When the earlier church building was torn down, the following articles were found in the cornerstone: telephone directory, newspaper dated August 25, 1916, letters, cards, coins, church roll, Sunday School classes roll, and a poem evidently written by a member for the occasion of laying of the cornerstone.

This new building was dedicated April 29, 1917, with Arthur W. Jones conducting the service.  Ministers serving in this second church building were: George Morrison, 1914-1918; Fred Ross, 1919-1921; Joe White, 1921-1923; J. W. McKinney, 1923-1925; Rev. Boultinghouse, 1926-1927; Fred Ross, 1927-1930; C. Robert Forrester, 1931-1935; Harley Woolard, 1935-1938; S. P. Miller, 1938-1941; R. F. Deloach, 1941-1942; Lamar Hocker, 1943-1944; Thomas Cray, 1945-1947; Alex Mooty, 1947; Charles Malotte, 1948-1950; Walter Feay, 1951-1956; Harry Curl, 1956-1959, George Cuthrell (Interim 1960); J. W. McKinney, 1960-1961, and C. A. Jarman (Interim 1962).

First Christian Church, build in 1916

On Easter Sunday 1962, the congregation held its first services in the new church building which had been built on the 1600 block of Commercial Avenue.   Ministers serving in this latest location since 1962 to the present time: C. A. Jarman (Interim 1962), Claude A. Weingran, 1962-1969, Floyd Leggett (Interim 1969-1972), Gene Lamb, 1972-1974; Wilburn Mendel (Interim 1975), Jerry Beck 1975-1977, Nimmo Goldston (Interim 1978), Don Lanick, 1978-1983, and Karl Parker (Present Interim).

An innovative Sunday School program was begun in 1969 when the Christian, Presbyterian, and Episcopal Churches joined together to form a Tri-Church Sunday School, (meeting alternately in the Christian and Presbyterian churches which offered adequate facilities) with members from each of the churches serving as teachers.  This arrangement continues to the present time.


First Christian Church - 1984

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This page updated May 18, 2006
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