|First Christian Church||3601 S Staley Rd||Champaign||IL||61822||217-356-1649||http://www.fcc-online.org/|
The First Christian Church of Champaign is a thriving organization committed not only to the teachings of Christ, but also to putting those teachings into action in our community. The church has a large membership, drawing between 1,500 and 1,700 attendees to Sunday services each week. There are numerous activities taking place on a daily basis at the large church campus, and those who cannot make it to the church as much as they would like can stay involved via the church’s impressive website. The website is located here: First Christian Church of Champaign, IL
The church holds services on Sunday mornings at 8:00, 9:15, and 10:45 a.m.
In February of 1952, a group of people met at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Dean Butts to discuss the formation of a new Christian church in Champaign. During the following year, more meetings were held and collections were taken to fund the purchase of a church building. While the group sought out a permanent home, the first worship service was held in March of 1953 at the McKinley YMCA and attracted 38 attendees. By the end of August the church had attracted an additional 59 members by transfer and 17 by baptism.
In September of 1956 a groundbreaking ceremony was held at what would become the original location of the First Christian Church, 1509 W. John Street. By June of the following year, construction had been completed and a dedication ceremony was held on June 9th. In the late 1960s, led by Pastor Orville L. Hubbartt, the church made an addition to the original building and created a new sanctuary, which was dedicated in November of 1966.
In the 1980s, Senior Pastor Robert Phillips’ emphasis on evangelism drew many more members to the church. This growth continued into the 1990s, when additional construction was needed to accommodate the growing church community. In 1992, a third wing was added, which included the Fellowship Hall and Education Wing. In 1997, it became necessary for the church to hold three Sunday services in order to accommodate all of its worshipers. In 2000, the church moved to four services each Sunday. Additionally, it became necessary to use a shuttle bus to bring parishioners from the Centennial High School to Sunday services because of the limited parking available at the West John Street location.
By 1998, it was clear that the church was outgrowing its original location, and relocation and expansion options were studied. On Easter Sunday of 1999, it was announced that the church would relocate to a twenty-acre site at the corner of Staley and Curtis roads in southwest Champaign. A fundraising effort, “Growing Together,” was implemented and the church managed to raise $2,011,000. Work began on the new 48,400 square foot building in 2001 and it was completed by January of 2003. The first service held in the new building attracted 1,491 worshipers. In March of 2003, a Dedication Service and 50th Anniversary Celebration was held, and four of the original charter members of the church were in attendance: Georgia Hill, Bill Scattergood, Barbara Butts Anderson, and Bill Keiser. Also in 2003, the church’s current Senior Pastor, J. P. Jones, began work as the church’s Preaching Minister.
Now situated in a spacious location at 3601 South Staley Road, the church continues to attract many new members and is quickly outgrowing its present location. After the initial Phase I of the new building was completed, the church began work on Phase II, which offers additional fellowship and educational spaces for children and young adult members of the church. Phase II has been mostly completed, with the exception of a little interior finishing work, which the church is currently in the process of undertaking. Phase III construction, which will add a church sanctuary, is planned but has not yet begun.
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