A Brief History of Our Church
The grandmother of one of the early members of the church, George Knowlton, felt so strongly about local Christian Churches being organized that she left money in her will to hire men to establish churches in this and other communities. Both Mt. Auburn and Flat Rock were helped by her forethought.
In the fall of 1888, a preaching meeting was held. This laid the groundwork for the formal organization of the church. In the spring of 1889, a revival was held from March 28 through April 7. As a result, men and women were inspired to organize a church in Flat Rock. A resident of Westport, Indiana, but the name of W.M. Gard, felt the community should have a New Testament Church and some local residents agreed. After a few nights of revival, Mr. Gard called for a formal meeting to be held on April 2, 1889 and the Church was born. The meeting was held in the home of Mr. Joshua Spurling. Mr. Gard became our first minister. Joshua Spurling was chosen as Elder at this time. Mr. Morgan Bacus and Mr. John C. Armstrong were chosen as Deacons and Spurling, Bacus, and Armstrong became the first Trustees.
Once organized, Mr. John Spurling saw a need for a house of worship. He bought the lot the “old” church continues to sit on from M/M William Nading on May 14, 1889. He gave a total of $500. The lumber was hauled from a local lumber mill, also reported to have been owned by Mr. Spurling. According to an old newspaper article, the congregation hoped to be in the building by late August, but by some estimates, it was probably the third week in September before it was ready. One article says it wasn’t ready early in the month, while another article in late September says that they were now able to meet in their new building.
The church was a small wooden structure without a basement. Near the front stood two red stoves – one on each side of the sanctuary. A small raised platform in the middle of the west end of the building allowed the preacher to face the heavy double doors that opened to the morning sun. All the furniture and wainscoting were covered with very dark varnish and the ceiling was high and peaked.
The building was rededicated on September 8, 1940. By this time the structure had been moved further back from the property line. Originally, it sat close to the corner, so close in fact, that buggy wheel hubs had left marks on the siding as they turned the corner. Frank Jones was serving as minister at this time.
September 18, 1951 was the dedication service of the much changed FRCC building. The old building remained as the cornerstone with a new entrance that faced the south. The entrance to the east was closed and two classrooms were made on that end of the building. The building was lengthened to make room for our new stage and our first baptistery. A kitchen and bathroom were in the new area of the basement. (We no longer had to go to the “outhouse.”) Among those who sang that day was Wanetta Buchanan (now Todd). New pews, a pulpit and communion table, carpeting and fluorescent lights really changed the once dark interior and son books were easily read.
On September 3, 1967, a new addition was dedicated. The minster at that time was Bill Eaton. A new porch/entrance way was put on the northeast corner while inside seven classrooms, a nursery, an upstairs bathroom and a minister’s office were added. The June 27, 1967 Church Chat said that all Sunday School classes were already meeting in their new rooms. A problem with the south side basement entrance later led to the building of a new entryway on the south side of the building. Also, the building was bricked.
The last addition to the “old” building was a large dividable classroom on the west end of the building in 1980. It was built by Charles Swinford and dedicated to his wife, Lucille. This consisted of a large, single classroom (divided by a sliding curtain) attached at the west end of the building. This addition transformed into three offices the summer of 2001 and now houses the Secretarial Office, the Senior Minister’s Office, and the Associate Minister’s Office. In addition to these renovations, the old sanctuary and adjoining classrooms became the TCM Clothing Ministry work and storage area, complete with a washer and dryer in the old baptistery area. The vestibule was transformed into a library (that has since been moved to the Family Life Center), and the basement has been taken over by the Junior/Senior High Youth. Once thought to be without future use, the original building and all its additions, regularly ring with the noises of the Lord’s work.
The Family Life Center was completed in 2000. It was built on church-owned land across the street from the original building. All worship services and classes (except Jr/Sr High) were moved to the FLC. Since that time, we have had the wonderful additions of a paved parking lot and shelter house and playground area. The mortgage for the Family Life Center was paid off on April 18, 2011.
We are looking forward to seeing what the Lord has in store for us in the future. With God’s blessing, we will reach out to our community for many years to come!