It was during the pastorate of P. J. Rice at the West Jefferson St. Christian Church that a mission Sunday School was conducted in Miller Hall on Lincoln Avenue. This Hall was some times called South Wayne Hall and occasionally, in news items, the meetings were known as the South Wayne Christian Church.
In 1896, a meeting was called to assemble at 916 Lincoln Avenue, the home of E. W. Miller. The question of organizing and building a church was placed before the meeting. A committee was appointed to investigate the location and price of some available and suitable building site.
The Committee finished its work and brought in a report of three desirable locations, namely: the corner of E. DeWald and Clinton, the corner of Suttenfield and Harrison, and the corner of Miner and W. Creighton. (The wisdom of the committee is testified unto by a church today, standing on each one of these sites.)
At a second meeting the congregation chose the location of Miner and West Creighton Avenue.
The Church was organized in May, 1896, with 114 members. The building was erected and dedicated November 22, 1896, at a cost of $8500.00. Brother F. M. Raines preached the dedicatory sermon. Brother J. V. Updike served as the first Pastor of the new church.
The West Creighton Avenue Christian Church was organized during the spring of 1896 by Brother J. V. Updike. In November the House was dedicated to the service of the Lord. The outlook was bright and propitious. Soon, however, clouds began to appear in the financial horizon and it early became evident that the church must pass through a financial crisis. Some of the substantial members failed in business matters, some moved away, then to cap the climax, the church was not able to collect one-fourth of the subscriptions taken on the clay of dedication, so the church was not able to meet her obligations and a crisis was inevitable.
The darkest period was during the year of 1899. All the debts had become due and the church was not prepared to meet them, although we had succeeded in raising about $1700.00 in pledges during the year. It seemed that the property must be sold to justify the mortgage. We determined, however, to make one more strenuous effort.
"A Thanksgiving Jubilee"
Thanksgiving evening of the year 1913 was an occasion of great rejoicing for the Christian congregation of West Creighton. A social gathering met to celebrate the clearing of the church from debt. The Miller Quartette, Gilbert, Edwin, Cyrus, and Harvey, had stood seventeen years before when ground was broken for the new building and sung "Go Gather Them In," and here at the Jubilee of lifting the mortgage they sang the same old sweet melody. Then, as the entire congregation joined in singing, "Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow," the mortgage was burned, leaving the church absolutely free from debt.
The church grew and flourished from 1913. During these years its membership increased. The school rooms were inadequate and the need of a larger building was felt on every hand. To build a larger church meant the securing of a larger plot. After discussions relative to changing sites or not, it was decided to purchase the private residence property immediately east of the church building. This was done and the home made into a very comfortable parsonage. This was in 1925.
Then the question arose, shall a new educational unit be built or a new worship auditorium. It was decided in favor of an educational building. The same year ground was broken for a new church school annex and the corner stone was laid on Sunday afternoqn, June 28, 1925.
The new building is one of the finest Religious Educational plants in Indiana. It is up to date in every detail, with departmental assembly halls and separate class rooms annexed. It has a large social room and dining room; ample kitchen facilities, and a full size gymnasium floor which combined with a stage is for entertainment purposes. This three-story educational building, plus property cost, indebted the church nearly $70,000.00. With the same good will and plucky spirit that the fathers and elders showed in 1896-1913, the members are attacking the debt. In the three years that the building has been completed the debt has been reduced to $65,000.00. The interest paid regularly, and the current budget, which now approximates $9,000.00, is met promptly as debts incur.
Thus the West Creighton Avenue Christian Church rejoices over its past victories. Courageously, it faces the future. They believe in Christ, they have faith in God, and in this sign they will conquer.
1. "Lines of History," Directory and Year Book, 1929, West Creighton Avenue Christian Church, pages 5-9.