Fayette Faces this week are many faces, the members of Brownstown First Christian Church who gathered at the west outer edge of Brownstown on the afternoon of Sunday, Aug. 20, for a groundbreaking service for their new church building.
The present church, still stately and welcoming, was built approximately 105 years ago and has served its purpose of providing shelter to those worshipping the Lord for generations. The congregation has a documentation of the Brownstown church’s history and agreed to share it with others, as the beginning, which is not only rather unique but also pinpoints a time in our American history.
In the Beginning
The story is told that soon after the Civil War ended, two men then traveled from Mattoon to St. Louis to preach the gospel, traveling on horseback.
While they were making one of these trips in the winter, a severe snowstorm came up. They were forced to stop traveling and stayed overnight at a farmhouse four miles north of Brownstown, with the Arnold family.
The next day was Sunday, so a worship service was held in the home. Neighbors became interested, and services were then held in different homes.
Several years after, a building was erected five miles north of Brownstown. This was the first Christian Church established in this section of Illinois and was called Liberty Christian Church.
The citizens of Brownstown became interested and the gospel spread, and in 1871, a small building was erected in the village, on the north side of the railroad tracks.
The congregation grew, primarily through revival meetings, until in 1910; they had a Sunday school attendance of 267. It was decided to build a larger building south of the tracks, where the present building now stands.
Construction was started …
… and on May 5, 1912, the building was dedicated to our Lord for worship. This was an occasion for much joy among the people, and was followed by a revival meeting.
The cost of the building was $16,500, the amount paid in cash and pledges. In 1967, a need for more classroom space was needed, so an educational unit was built on the south side of the building.
Through the years, many people have been influenced by Biblical teachings.
In the early 1980s, it was decided that a youth minister was needed. Since then, several young men and a woman have led the youth and children’s ministries, including Vacation Bible School, with volunteers from the congregation helping in all programs.
Several of the youth have gone on to attend Lincoln Christian University or St. Louis Christian College, for the ministry or other service.
The Last 100 Years …
… have taken a toll on the present building and the congregation decided to build a new building, as heavy rains have caused issues with the old basement and it will be more convenient to not have so many stairways.
And while many of the congregation may have special memories in their hearts of the present building, remember that the heart of a church actually beats within the hearts of the congregation as it seems to have always been with Brownstown First Christian family … since the beginning.