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The History of the Cynthiana Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
On July 24, 1827, a group of eleven met to organize the Cynthiana Christian Church. For the first few years, these founders gathered for worship at the courthouse and in homes of the members. As the congregation grew, plans were made to erect a house of worship. In January, 1829, a lot at Main and Mill streets was purchased for $100.
The first building which was brick was completed about 1840 at a cost of $3,500. Its seating capacity was 350.This building was converted into a Civil War hospital for wounded Confederate soldiers after the Battle of Cynthiana.
During those early years, services were not held regularly nor was there a full time minister. However, some of the “most forcible preachers of the first part of the century” filled the pulpit. Among them were Barton Stone, Thomas and Alexander Campbell, “Raccoon” John Smith, John T. Johnson, Walter Scott, T.M. Allen, John Rogers, and John Allen Gano.
After 1841, there is evidence that services were held on a more scheduled basis. The following served as regular pastors through 1867: Joshua Irwin, John M. Holton, John Allen Gano, R.H. Forrester, John G. Thompkins, Samuel Rogers, L.L. Pinkerton, John I Rogers, Thomas N. Arnold, R.C. Ricketts, J.D. Wilmoth, and William Allen Broadhurst.
As the Cynthiana Christian Church continued to grow in membership and the needs of the congregation increased, it was decided in July, 1867, to build a second building. It was agreed that the same site would be used. Additional property was purchased for $600.00. This second church building was erected in 1868-69 at a cost of about $10,000. As a large modern brick building, it was considered one of the finest church buildings in the surrounding counties.
In addition to an increase of membership during this second church period, five organizations within the church were formed: Sunday School, Christian Women’s Missionary Society, Gleaners, Ladies’ Aid, and the Endeavor.
Ministers during this time (1868-1900) were D.W. Case, E.Y. Pinkerton, J.B. Jones, J.C. Frank, J.C. Walden, William Stanley, C.B. Edgar, J.J. Morgan, G.W. Yancey, and J.J. Haley.
Following several years of discussion and under the leadership of Bro. J.J. Haley, the congregation decided in 1899 to build the present church building. Adjoining property at Main and Mill was purchased since the existing site was deemed too small.
By November of 1899, the old building had been removed, and the foundation for the new church had been partially built. For two years, the congregation met in the courthouse. Dedication services were held on June 16, 1901. Total cost for this beautiful limestone building was $37,041.21.
On July 27, 1903, the congregation observed its seventy-fifth anniversary. Bro. Haley served as minister until 1904 with W.E. Ellis following from 1904 until 1912.Additional ministers were Joseph D. Armistead, Clyde Darsie, Cavin Barnett and Thomas J. Mattingly.
Bro. Mattingly served as minister from 1948 until 1955.During the time, major renovations to the present church building, particularly in the basement area, were completed. Services were held at the Rohs Opera House during this construction/renovation time.
Benjamin Moore became minister of the congregation in 1955 and served until 1963. Succeeding him were Roy S. Hulan (1963-1969), Barton Johnson (interim minister), John L. Bray (1971-1976), Eugene May (interim Minister). Our current minister, Larry W. Bishop began his service with the Cynthiana Christian Church in 1977.
Following much discussion, planning, fund raising, and prayer, a large addition was built adjacent to the lovely 1901 limestone building and dedicated in June 1996. The new construction contains classrooms, offices, fellowship hall, kitchen, restrooms, and is handicapped accessible.
Truly, this church building at Main and Mill Streets in Cynthiana, Kentucky is an example of the dedication of Christians in the past, present and future. Most of all, this building stands today as a tribute to God.We must uphold this legacy set before us!
To find out more about the Birth of "The Christians" as a result of the Great Revival of 1801 at Cane Ridge, click here.