First Christian Church Was Organized In 1909

The First Christian Church was the third denominational church in Pampa . On Sunday afternoon, April 4, 1909, an organizational meeting was held in the small frame school house located at the corner of East Francis and North Starkweather . John D. White, minister of the Amarillo Christian Church, directed the meeting.

Photo of Eloise Lane

Eloise Lane

The charter roll was signed by eight people: Mrs. H.M. Bailey, Mrs. J.M. Bell, Miss Suda Bell, Mrs. Frances Knox, Mr. and Mrs. Henry J. Lippold, Mrs. J.F. Meers and Mrs. J.A. Newman. A few weeks later Mrs. Jennie Ledrick, Mr. and Mrs. Lee Ledrick and Mr. and Mrs. H.B. Lovett became members of the church.

In September, 1909, the Reverend Otis Hawkins conducted a revival meeting at the corner of Cuyler and Francis Streets, and 58 people came into the church. Among these were Mr. and Mrs. C.W. Masters and their family. Mr. Masters was the first Sunday School Superintendent and choir leader for the church and held those positions for many years. He was also the only photographer in Pampa for a long period of time.

During the 1909 revival meeting, plans were made to purchase lots on which to erect a church building. While the building was being constructed, the congregation met in the Methodist Church building at the corner of South Starkweather and East Foster.

On Easter Sunday, April 16, 1911, the Reverend John D. White of Amarillo led the dedication service of the first church building. This was a neat white frame building located on the corner of East Kingsmill and North Ballard (present location of Duncan , Fraser and Bridges Insurance Agency). The main entrance to the building faced east on Ballard Street .

Consecrated laymembers gave freely of their time, talent and treasure to the work of the church. Mrs. H.J. Lippold was typical of many who served well during the early years. Her buggy was a familiar sight on the streets of Pampa as she called on “her children,” the members of her Sunday School class. At the time of the church’s Diamond Jubilee in 1984, some church members still possessed the greeting cards Mrs. Lippold sent to them when they were children in her class.

Several ministers served the church on a part time basis until 1915 when the Reverend T.Q. Purcell bacame the first full time resident pastor. The church grew rapidly and soon it was necessary to add a Sunday School Annex which was completed in 1916.

In 1925 the Reverend James Todd became the minister. The next year a parsonage on Ballard Street was built — largely by the men of the church.

Mrs. Emma Todd, wife of the minister, was the librarian of the Pampa Public Library when it was located in the basement of the city hall.

The rapid increase in the population of Pampa as a result of the oil boom necessitated a larger church building. A tan brick building, constructed on a quarter of a block on the corner of East Kingsmill and North Starkweather , was dedicated in 1928. A second unit, added to the building in 1931, included a sanctuary with a beautiful baptistry window donated by Aurbra, John and Joe Bowers “in loving memory of Joe B. and Lizzy Bowers.”

In August, 1939, a Hammond Organ was installed and dedicated. Mrs. Vera Davis, organist, and Mrs. W.A. Bratton, choir director, and many others made possible the purchase of this organ. A new Hammond Organ was installed in 1962.

On March 4, 1951, dedication services were held for a brick parsonage constructed on the corner of Kingsmill and Starkweather, just across the street from the church entrance. In 1953 the educational plant was remodeled and in 1957 a new Youth and Education Building was constructed on the lot south of the sanctuary.

In 1955 the Lamar Christian Church was established at 1200 South Sumner on land purchased with the generous donation of W.T. Wilks. (The Trinity Fellowship Church now meets in the building at this location.)

In 1959 the First Christian Church purchased four and one-half acres of land at 18th and Nelson. The ground breaking for a new building occurred on Sunday, February 4, 1968. On the Sunday the congregation moved from the old building on Starkweather to the new building on Nelson, a very impressive “split church service” was observed. The bread was served at the building on Starkweather — then a journey was made across the city to the new building on Nelson for the serving of the wine. (The building on Starkweather is now used by the Bible Baptist Church.)

The church bazaar, which has become an annual event, was organized by the Christian Women’s Fellowship Groups(s) in November, 1969, to help with building fund expenses. The Hanging of the Greens, a special event that introduces the Christmas season, began in 1977.

It is impossible to name all of the people who have contributed to the life of the First Christian Church, but the conviction, sacrifice and dedication which characterized the early members has continued to the present time.

(Most of this information is in the Diamond Anniversary Celebration Book.)

Over 200 Articles, written by Eloise Lane, were published in the Pampa News. These articles may be accessed by clicking on each section below. A list of articles will be revealed that are linked to a page containing the text of the article.

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