History of First Christian Church of Camp Point, Illinois

HISTORY OF THE FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH

CAMP POINT, ILLINOIS

     The First Christian Church in the community was organized at Pleasant View, about three miles southeast of Camp Point on April 24, 1835. By July 29, 1865, realizing the need for a church in the town, a group of thirty-four of the members organized another congregation. These people held services in a small school house, one mile east of town, where they met until their new church home was completed.  This house of worship stood where the Masonic Temple is presently located and Joseph E. Lowe, the first minister, conducted services in the new building for the first time in January 1866. This church building was destroyed by fire on January 13, 1912.

After their church building had been destroyed, God’s people met together the following morning in the Odd Fellows Hall for services. That same day, plans for a new church building were discussed with a building committee being appointed. The members were H.J. Reynolds, Minister; L.G. Hoke, A.A. Garrett and B.Y. Downing. It was then decided to rebuild in a different location, on the ground that was donated by L.G. Hoke.

Upon the beginning of the building project there was work to be done by all. Each class and organization worked to help finance the new church home with everyone giving generously of their time and money. There was not only cooperation, but enthusiasm and fellowship as the congregation worked toward its goal of a new church home.

On February 23, 1913, a group of dedicated Christian people gathered for the first time in their new church building.  This was the fulfillment of a dream that had been more than a year in accomplishing.

On Dedication Day of February 23, 1913,over five hundred persons were present for Bible School with one hundred seventy-five men in the men’s class that day. The church service was held with George L. Snively bringing the message. After the morning offering, the audience dedicated the new church building free from debt and eleven were added to the church that morning.

In 1947 a new church parsonage was built west of the church. In 1948 the Hammond organ was presented as an anniversary gift from the congregation.

In 1947 while Melvin and Bonnie Fiscus were ministering with the congregation in Camp Point, the church was instrumental in starting a Christian Service Camp in Bailey Park. A permanent camp, the LaMoine Christian Service Camp, was established in 1956 near Tennessee, Illinois.

In 1957, the church at Camp Point was a part of a joint venture in a television program called “By The Way” seen over WGEM-TV, Quincy, Illinois, each week. The program was on TV for over thirty years and past ministers were active in the programming and participation on the show.

In 1978, the auditorium was redecorated and a new organ and piano were dedicated at the sixty-fifth anniversary.

In 1983, the congregation of the church made the decision to build a new education center for the primary and secondary classes of Bible School. A building addition of about five thousand square feet was built and attached to the north side of the building. In June of 1984, the new addition was dedicated to the Lord. As a part of the 75th Anniversary service the mortgage note was burned signifying the new addition was debt free.

There have been many improvements on the building in the last twenty-five years as our Trustees work hard to keep the building in good condition and appearance. Today our newly refurbished church bell will ring for the first time in a number of years as it had become unsafe to use.  As many members and ministers have come and gone over the years, the desire of the church remains to be a messenger of the gospel and the presence of Christ in the Camp Point community.

As we look forward to another hundred years, let us all strive to make a history that will glorify the name by which we are called, “Christians.”