The church began when “six forthright women” gathered under the leadership of John Allen Gano and T.M. Allen in 1827 at the Bourbon County Courthouse. Alexander Campbell spoke in Paris around 1830 and many others joined together with this new church. The 1858 church building stood at the corner of 8th and Main Street until the present sanctuary was built in 1902 at a cost of $50,000. The education wing of the church was erected in 1958, in large part due to a generous gift from Nanine Clay Wallis who paid for approximately 60% of the $180,000 cost.
Church growth accelerated under pastors Sweeney, Ellis and Thompson. The church rolls grew in those days to over 1,000 members. During the Christmas program in 1861, the Union Army commandeered the church as a headquarters for three months. Notable pastors who have spoken from the historic pulpit in the chapel include Barton Stone, John Rogers, Alexander Campbell, Walter Scott and Racoon John Smith. Fred Craddock, considered by Time magazine as one of the top ten preachers in the United States, has spoken from the pulpit in the sanctuary.
The Last Fifty Years
The chalice symbol of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has several meanings.
- First, it represents the central place of the Lord’s Supper in worship, which also reminds us of the loving sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross.
- The St. Andrew’s “X” shaped cross represents what the disciple Andrew believed was his unworthiness to be crucified in the same manner as Christ on the upright Latin cross. Andrew was crucified on an “X” shaped cross and we are reminded of our humble stature before Christ.
- The red represents the vitality of the faith.
- The open top of the chalice proclaims that all are welcome at the Lord’s Table in worship.
Some have also interpreted the St. Andrew’s cross to be a cross in the position Jesus would have carried it part ways to Calvary. We, too, are to take up our cross and follow him. The “X” of the cross is also the first letter in the Greek word for Christ. A common misinterpretation is that it is a symbol which represents a stand against drinking and driving.
The church has maintained its strong and historical identity as a member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada. Pastors have served in leadership positions in the community and the regional and national church. Pastors since the 50’s have been Rhodes Thompson, Sr., Leonard Boynton, James Seale, Bert Smith, John Ledford, Henry Hanna. and Jeff Bell.
The church is located only seven miles from the Cane Ridge shrine, which was the church where Barton Stone’s belief in the oneness of all Christians gained a foothold. Combined with Alexander Campbell’s preaching on the restoration of the New Testament church, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) experienced new birth here and spread throughout the frontier.
The church has been involved in countless outreach ministries to deprived and/or suffering people. Here are listed just a few:
- Resettled a refugee family.
- Housed and hosted victims of the 1937 flood.
- Was intensively involved in helping families recover from the 1997 flood of the century,
- A leading church in contributing to Cane Ridge and to Christian Care Communities.
- Gave a single gift of $100,000 from the church’s endowment fund to the Week of Compassion for Honduras recovering from hurricane Mitch in 1998,
- Have provided a clothing closet for the community for over 25 years.
- Provide space for Alcoholic Anonymous to meet weekly.
- Help sponsor Prodigals House new church development by allowing the church’s small groups to meet here.
- Assisted the poor needing help with utility bills and rent with over $10,000 of assistance in 2005-2006.
- Took a leadership role in creating Operation Food Basket over 25 years ago.
- Took a leadership role in establishing The Well in 2006.
- Helped sponsor a ministerial internship program with district Disciple churches.
- Serve as a site for Kentucky Blood Center donations and much, much more.
- Member of the Bourbon County Ministerial Association.
Timothies and Priscillas of the Church
Men and women from our congregation who have entered the Christian ministry.
- William Sweeney
- W.T. Henry
- Joseph Faulconer
- James Quinn
- Cromwell C. Cleveland
- Charles Proctor Cook
- Marlene Ballard
- James O. Hazelrigg
- Edwin Sweeney
- James Faulconer
- C. Duke Payne
- James Ewalt
- Rhodes Thompson, Jr.
- Kaye Speakes Edwards
- Whit Criswell
- Larry Paul Jones
- Dana Williams Keener
- Roger B. Sledd
- Sue H. McCracken
- Peggy Hickman
- Sharon Fields