First Church of God in Newton is celebrating its 100-year history this month.
Pastor Clint McBroom said the church — one of the oldest Church of God (Anderson, Indiana) congregations in the state — was formed in 1918 with just a few members.
"When this church began meeting, there were only three families who were meeting in someone's home," McBroom said.
On Sept. 1, 1919, the church moved to meetings held in a tent on Fourth Street. A month later, the congregation bought a church building at 213 E. Third St. from the German Methodist Organization.
"It grew very fast," McBroom said. "I think, in the first four or five years, it doubled every year."
In 1935, an addition was built on to the church building for Sunday School classes and, two years later, a basement was dug under the new addition to provide even more space.
The church's auditorium was remodeled and enlarged in 1941, with a north entrance tower and stained glass windows added.
First Church of God held its first Vacation Bible School in 1942.
A house at 211 E. Third St. served as the parsonage. When a house at 334 E. Eighth St. became the parsonage in 1950, the Third Street house served to hold Sunday School classrooms. The Eighth Street house was sold and the Third Street house became the parsonage again in 1954.
In 1956, Pastor Glen Ferguson and his family were moved into a trailer house parked on church property while the parsonage was torn down and rebuilt. The new parsonage, which had a basement with a kitchen used as a fellowship hall and youth classroom, was finished in 1957.
In 1963, property at Broadway and Fairview was purchased for the growing church, and architectural plans were drawn up by Ferguson.
The resourceful people of the congregation salvaged lumber from two houses that were torn down to make way for the Safeway (now Graber's Ace Hardware) to be used as building material for the new church building.
First Church of God's new building at 620 Fairview St. held its first worship service on Nov. 29, 1964. The building on Third Street was rented out to another church group, then was sold and torn down in 1969.
Throughout the church's history, many people donated their time, building materials and furnishings to support it.
McBroom became pastor of the church six years ago.
"I remember, when I came, reading through the history of the church and thinking, 'oh, that'll be fun for the pastor who is there in 2018,'" McBroom laughed. "...Six years later, here I am."
First Church of God now has a multi-generational congregation with an attendance of around 100 people each Sunday.
"All of our older (members) are young at heart. You come in and it doesn't feel like an old church," McBroom said. "...They are upbeat, fun and supportive of the mission of the church."
The church is committed to serving the surrounding community, and continues to make improvements — including a newly-paved parking lot — to accommodate worshippers.
"We really believe that we're here for a reason," McBroom said.
The church will hold an anniversary banquet for its members at the end of October. It is hosting guest speakers each Sunday in October, and will hold a special service on Oct. 28 that is open to the public.
"We're looking forward, of course, to the next 100 (years)," McBroom said.
For more information about First Church of God in Newton, visit http://www.nfcog.com or call 316-283-1944.