The History of First Christian Church
First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has been an important part of the fabric of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County for over 120 years. It was first organized in the town of Winston on August 1, 1890 and its first chapel was built in November of 1891 at 660 West Fourth Street. Soon, the church had grown to the point where it needed a new building and on April 9, 1898 the congregation dedicated its new facility on the same site on West Fourth Street.
In 1913 the towns of Winston and Salem merged and the new town of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County flourished. In 1922 the church (now called the Fourth Street Church of Christ) again moved to a new location on Fourth Street.
By 1954 the rapidly growing population of Winston-Salem was moving away from the downtown area and into the suburbs and at the same time the building that housed the Fourth Street Church of Christ had grown too small for its membership. So, in 1953 the congregation voted to build a new church in a new location. In May of 1954 the church, now called First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), purchased 4.77 acres on Country Club Road and in December of 1958 dedicated the educational and fellowship wings of the church. The sanctuary was completed and dedicated in May of 1961.
The 1960’s and 1970’s were important decades for the congregation. Oppportunities for women to serve the church were expanded, including permitting women to serve as Elders. A new pipe organ was added to the sanctuary and dedicated in 1974. The church focused on community relations and outreach programs and instrumental in helping establish agencies such as Samaritan Ministries, Crisis Control, the Forsyth Prison Chaplaincy and Meals on Wheels. It also operated a well-known preschool. The congregation sought ties with other local churches; for example, the Community Thanksgiving Service, which began as a cooperative effort between First Christian Church and Knollwood Baptist Church, is still going strong with the participation of more than a dozen churches and serves to strengthen interfaith understandings in the community.
In the 1990’s the church renovated its Children’s Wing and Taylor Fellowship Hall. During this decade the church also established ties with Habitat for Humanity; in fact, the first Habitat house built exclusively by members of the congregation was dedicated in 1995.
Currently, First Christian Church is experiencing growth and revitalization. The church has operated Creative Palooza, an afterschool program and summer day camp, since the summer of 2009. A Children Worship and Wonder program was established in 2008 and a new Sunday School program for children and youth, called Faith Journey, was established in the winter of 2012. As a congregation and as individuals the church continues to actively support a number of community agencies as well as Disciples World Missions. One of the highlights of each year since 2006 has been the church-wide mission trip, in which volunteers from the congregation go to an area of the United States that has been ravaged by natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and tornadoes in Birmingham, Alabama and Henryville, Indiana. The congregation was named “Congregation of the Year” for the year 2010 by the Shepherd’s Center of Greater Winston-Salem and in February 2012 received an award from Keep Winston-Salem Beautiful for the work it did in 2011 cleaning up its adopted stream. Also in 2011 the congregation undertook the task of restoring its sanctuary and rededicated it in January of 2012. In 2013 the congregation began an active partnership with Easton Elementary School in Winston-Salem; this partnership includes a Backpack program to provide food for children on the weekends who might otherwise go hungry, school supplies for teachers and students and various activities to support the faculty and staff. Also in 2013 First Christian Church began the Disciples Community Garden; produce from the garden is donated to Catholic Social Services.
First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) continues to be a caring Christian community and we look forward to many more years of worship, ministry and service.