The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
Submitted by Jean Dougherty, FCC Historian
2014 marks the 165th anniversary of the founding of Blandinsville's First Christian Church, 230 W. Washington Street.
Plans are underway to observe the church's birthday the last three Sundays in August: 8/17, 8/24 and 8/31.
Displays of photos and church memorabilia will be available for viewing in the original sanctuary of the church on those dates. On August 24, a group photo of the congregation will be taken after the 9 a.m. worship service, followed by a potluck meal at noon.
The town of Blandinsville was established in 1842. First Christian Church of Blandinsville was first built on the northeast corner of the intersection of Van Buren and Washington streets in 1849.
The original structure was built of logs and sawed lumber. It was about 50 feet long and 30 feet wide. The congregation worshipped there for 31 years and then began planning a new church building. The original church was sold and moved to the corner south of the present town hall and was used as a blacksmith shop.
The second church building stood on the same site as the first one, and was completed in 1881. It was 80 feet long and 40 feet wide, an attractive frame building with belfry and bell, costing about $5,000.
The second church building was used until 1910 when the congregation began to plan for a new building. The new building was joined to the old building to form one building in 1911 and beautiful stained glass windows were incorporated into the design. The cost of the new building was $23,000.
Sixty-one ministers have served First Christian Church during its 165-year history. Gordon Blankenship is the current minister.
Gordon, his wife Jamie, and their four children were welcomed by the congregation in 2008. Gordon graduated from Lincoln Christian College in May 2012 with two Bachelor degrees: General Ministry and Leadership and Management.
First Christian Church recently donated a memorial bench to the Blandinsville - Good Hope - Sciota Community Veterans' Memorial, located in Blandinsville. An image of the church and the inscription, "In honor of the men and women who have sacrificed for our right to serve our God", are etched on the granite bench, which was dedicated during the Memorial Day Dedication Ceremony on May 26, 2014.
There have been countless worship services, Sunday School classes, weddings, baptisms, funerals, potluck meals, Vacation Bible School sessions, newsletters and board meetings during the past 165 years.
Renovations, remodeling, redecorating and repairs have been ongoing.
The stewards of the church have been exceptional caretakers for 165 years and continue to preserve First Christian Church for future generations.