Disciples of Christ
Our Identity Statement
The identity statement of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) states: “We are Disciples of Christ, a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world. As part of the one body of Christ, we welcome all to the Lord’s Table as God has welcomed us.”
The Lord’s Supper or Communion is celebrated in weekly worship. It is open to all who are followers of Jesus Christ. The practice of Holy Communion has become the central element of worship within the Disciples tradition.
Disciples’ observance of the Lord’s Supper echoes the Passover feast when Jesus shared bread and wine with his disciples on the eve of his crucifixion. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the living Christ is met and received in the sharing of the bread and the cup, representative of the body and blood of Jesus. The presence of the living Lord is affirmed and he is proclaimed to be the dominant power in our lives.
We practice believer baptism
A person makes the choice to follow God’s call rather than the choice being made for them as an infant. Baptism is the basis of membership in the Church and also a mark that every person is called to serve God – the idea of the “priesthood of all believers.” The meaning of baptism is grounded in God’s redemptive action in Christ, it incorporates the believer in the community in the body of Christ, and it anticipates life in the coming age when the powers of the old world will be overcome, and the purposes of God will triumph.
Our Church History
The First Christian (Disciples of Christ) Church of Maryville is a mainstream protestant church that traces its origin to 1868 when a group of seventeen people met and organized themselves into the “Christian Church of Maryville”. The small group met in the school house, Methodist Church and private homes for two years. The first church building was completed in 1870 and was located at the corner of third and Buchanan and has remained at that location.
The young congregation grew rapidly and soon needed more space. The old church was demolished and replaced by a new bigger and better building that was dedicated in 1893. This building would serve the congregation until the early 1980’s.
As the church evolved and Sunday School became more important, space for teaching became a problem. The congregation decided to construct an education building and the Laura B. Hawkins Education Building was completed in 1959. It is interesting to note that Rev. C.M. Chilton who was the pastor when the cornerstone for the church was laid in 1893 returned 60 years later to participate in the ground breaking ceremonies of the education building.
As the 1893 building aged, the need for new facilities became apparent and the congregation, once again, decided to demolish the old building and build a new facility. The present church building was constructed and dedicated in 1982.
As the physical facilities of the church has evolved through the years so have the practices of the congregation. The early church separated men and women at worship, assessed members according to their income, banned organ music and dismissed members for inappropriate behavior. These practices have long disappeared and the church has become a modern, diverse, all inclusive congregation that welcomes everyone.