The Central Christian Church of this city established a mission in a little dilapidated frame building on Bolivar Street. They conducted Bible School Services in the afternoon and in the evenings students from The College of the Hible preached for them.
This building proved to be inadequate and plans were immediately made for enlargement. Bro. Wm. Vanpelt, a member of The Central Christian Church gave a lot on the corner of Mill and Cedar Streets for a new building. Immediately the Central Christian Church erected a new building more commodious and dignified than the one on Bolivar Street. This became known as the South Side Christian Church.
In 1898 Bro. Ward Russell was employed to preach for the new Church, and in a very few months alter he began his work he organized the Church with about 45 charter members.
Among these consecrated and devoted members were Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter and their daughter, Miss Anna; Messrs. Albert and Walter Dougherty, Misses Josephine and Ida Dougherty (Miss Ida Dougherty is now Mrs. J. W. Dishon) and Mr. John Sibold. Mrs. S S. Jacobs also became interested in the little church at the same time.
Miss Susie Sublette organized the Women's Missionary Society and the Ladies' Aid and was a very useful member.
During the ministry of Bro. Ward Russell the Central Christian Church appointed the following men members of a financial committee: C. W. Graves. Merritt Lancaster, J. T. Potter, S. S. Jacobs, J. W. Sibold.
After Bro. Ward Russell had ministered to the church diligently and well, Bro. C. J. Armstrong was chosen as a succeeding pastor. During Bro. Armstrong's ministry, Bro. Omer of Illinois conducted a very successful series of meetings lasting for three weeks.
Brother Armstrong was followed by Brother J. B. Hundley, who stayed with us tor about two and a half years. Brother J. D. McClindon completed his unexpired term. From 1905 to 1907 the Church was ministered to by Brother A. P. Finley and it was during this ministry of two years that the South Side Church becamc self-supporting, relieving The Central Christian Church of the task of supporting the South Side Church so they could help other needy fields.
In 1907 Brother Stambough came to us and it was during his ministry that the first Elders and Deacons were ordained; also the Church property was sold and a Tabernacle was erected at the corner of Maxwell and Mill Streets, in which the little groups of Disciples worshipped until the year 1909, when the present Church home was dedicated. It became the Maxwell Street Christian Church at this time.
This brings us to a more, familiar period of the history ot the Church and most all of the members remember the successful pastorates of Brother J. T. Watson, Brother Sam Wageoner, Brother B. E. Watson, who were at the time students in the College of the Bible.
In the summer of 1917 Dr. A. W. Fortune, professor of the New Testament in the College of the Bible succeeded Brother B. E. Watson and ministered to the church until the first of the year 1919.
During his ministry much progress was made and there were one hundred and fifty-seven additions, bringing the total membership up to the number of four hundred and three.
Bro. Ernest L. Ford, our present minister, came to us in February, 1919. He came to us as a student in the College of the Bible, graduating, however, in June, and has given all of his time since to our work at the Maxwell Street Christian Church.
"Then they that feared the Lord spoke often, one to another, and the Lord hearkened and heard it, and a book of remembrances was written before him for them that feared the Lord and that thought on his name, and they shall be mine saith the Lord of hosts in that day when I make up my jewels."
The following brief historical sketch of the Maxwell Street Christian Church was prepared In a large measure by our Mrs. S. S. Jacobs, one of the charter members in the Old South Side Church.
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