Two hundred and twelve years ago, as the community of Eaton was being laid out, it was the desire of our ancestors that a Christian church be established. Under the leadership of such great men of faith — Rueben Dooley, David Purviance and Barton Stone — the church became a reality. Throughout the early years (55) of its existence, the congregation took its turn meeting in the Public Church located on Water Street at Wadsworth (the east side of Lake Flory — now Crystal Lake.) It was the home to many of the churches that were established in the community over the years. By 1860, most of the congregations had a church home of their own and as the Christian church had been given land — by William Bruce — on higher ground, it was decided to begin solicitations for a new facility.
In 1862 a new house of worship was built at 113 W. Decatur St. The 32×50 foot brick structure was erected at the cost of $4,500. As work neared completion, the congregation found itself $1,400 short of meeting the cost. Cornelius VanAusdal graciously donated the needed funds to complete the building. The building was dedicated Jan. 2, 1862, and according to Pastor E.W. Humphreys “would make them a most delightful church home.” In 1870, an extensive renovation was undertaken at this building.
By 1892 the congregation had outgrown the first building on this site and committees were appointed to consider the building of a new facility. Under the direction of Pastor J.F. Burnett, the old church was torn down, funds solicited for a new building and construction completed. On June 23, 1894, the work of tearing down the old building was begun and in just 222 working days from that time the new structure was completed and ready for worship.
The new building was completed at a cost of $10,780.05.
On the day of its dedication, the churches of the community dispensed with their own services to attend the dedicatory service at the “Christian Temple.” According to the Eaton Register, “The church is one of the finest in Eaton, and a monument to those who planned so well.” “The Christian Church will now compare favorably with any of the modern churches of today.”
So, as we begin our 125th year of gathering in our current facility, we invite the community to join us in our celebration on Sunday, June 9.
We will begin with a 10:45 a.m. concert by “My Brother’s Keeper,” a bluegrass/gospel band from Cincinnati. Ham loaf lunch will be held at noon. At a cost of $8 you can enjoy ham loaf, green bean casserole, cheesy potatoes and anniversary cake.
Please call the church 456-3810 to make a reservation. At 1 p.m. we will gather for a service of re-dedication — our special guests will be members of the five UCC congregations in Preble County.
Please join us for this day of celebration.
Pastor Roger Stine