First Christian Church has survived more than 12 decades and a damaging fire, and Sunday it celebrates its 125th anniversary with a 9:30 a.m. service and a fried chicken dinner.
The Rev. Randy Beeman says the anniversary reminds the church and its members of their purpose in life and the community.
“We remember what we’ve been through and done, right and wrong, and it gives us encouragement of the day ahead,” Beeman says.
A white-frame building at 11th and Kentucky streets was the church’s original home, which it bought from another church. In 1908, First Christian Church built its own sanctuary at 1000 Ky. In 1947, a fire caused substantial damage to the interior of the sanctuary, but it was repaired. The church still uses this building today, although it’s had a few upgrades in the past 101 years: a kitchen, offices, an education building, a preschool, meeting space and other modern necessities.
To celebrate the anniversary of the church that started in 1884, Beeman says the church will have one service at 9:30 a.m., which will feature old photos of the church, an announcement of new leaders for next year and a sermon by the Rev. Dr. Paxton Jones, Kansas’ regional minister and president of the Christian Church. The service will be followed by a fried chicken dinner in the church’s Fellowship Hall. Everyone is invited to attend.
Beeman says the church has about 600 members and it regularly offers Sunday services at 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. as well as children’s services and youth groups Wednesday nights. The church is active in many volunteer activities, including the Lawrence Interdenominational Nutrition Kitchen, Family Promise, GriefShare and Habitat for Humanity.