The History of First Christian Church of Lamar, MO

The History of First Christian Church of Lamar, MO
                First Christian Church stands on land which was originally a part of the U.S. Patent issued by the U.S. Government on September 28, 1850. The present Lamar square was platted December 21, 1856, and recorded on July 20, 1867.
                George T. Parry and Udella Parry, his wife, and Josephine Parry gave the original plot of ground to W.C. Grier, G.W. Oldham, and W.L. Griffin, trustees of First Christian Church to be forever used for church purposes. The deed was dated April 16, 1880, and was recorded on July 18, 1880, and contained a provision that the graves then on the property were to remain on the property and shall be kept in repair by said church organization. Persons buried on the property are Josephine Parry, wife of Joseph C. Parry and the daughter of George E. and Charity W. Ward and also the infant son and daughter of Joseph C. and Josephine Parry. History related that George E. Ward was the founder and father of Lamar.
                The details of the very early organization of the church are quite limited. From all accounts the church was organized sometime in 1871; however, some sources indicate that it started as early as 1869. A small group of less than a dozen held their first services in the Masonic Hall, which was in the upper story of the Courthouse, a frame building standing about midway of the west side of the square. In the early part of the year 1881, reorganization combined the original group and a group that had been worshipping at the Ledbetter schoolhouse, a mile and a half west of town. The reorganization was consummated by evangelist James Hollis and the combined body consisted of eighteen members. For two years services were held in private homes and in the Circuit Court room on the northwest corner of the square.
                In 1883 a church house was erected on the ground that had been given to the church. It consisted of a single room and belfry. The building was remodeled and enlarged in 1893. In 1924 the entire building was raised and a basement was put under the building. In 1948, a new entrance was constructed and the entire building was stuccoed and remodeled. In January of 1955, a seven room class room addition was added to the rear of the old building. The steady continued growth of the membership demanded additional expansion, and on April26, 1959 the present sanctuary with adjoining fellowship hall and twenty second floor classrooms were dedicated. The sanctuary seats 450 with an overflow room for another 75. The entire structure cost $8800. Bonds were sold to finance the cost and all bonds were paid off two years in advance. At this time, Walter Goodman was not only the minister, but he served as general contractor during the construction and went on to build many church buildings with his own company, Goodman Church Builders.
                From the very beginning, the church has been blessed with board members with vision and a supportive membership that has caused the church to expand and to accumulate various plots of ground to meet the needs of the church. The church presently owns an entire city block.
                On August 1, 1985, an architect was retained to develop plans for a new two-story educational building to extend to the east of the first educational wing. Plans called for a new covered entrance, new kitchen, rest rooms, nursery, seven second story classrooms and remodeling of the fellowship hall. On September 28, 1986, ground was broken and construction of the new addition began. The idea of a Miracle Sunday raised a one-time offering of $211,727.05. With that offering, together with funds on hand and additional gifts, the structure was built and dedicated debt free on November 22, 1987, at a cost of $300,000. The parking lot was not surfaced, so in 1989, and in 1990, the congregations, by two special offerings, raised an additional $60,000 to completely pave the parking lot in concrete, at a cost of $70,000.
                The growth of a church is never static. If it is not moving forward, it is falling back and in the year 1995, the membership approved an office addition to be built immediately north and adjoining the overflow room of the sanctuary. The addition provided offices for all staff members and much needed storage space.
                The future of First Christian Church is bright and offers a continuing challenge to those who attend. The contributions to missionaries worldwide, Ozark Christian College, and Good News Productions, Int’l. have been exceptional and reflect the true spiritual dedication of the membership of the church.
History of First Christ Church compiled and written by Edison Kaderly.

  May 2021  
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