Church History-First Christian Church

Church History

 First Christian Church, Crossville, Tennessee had its beginning in a Sunday school organized in 1898, which met in a building belonging to the Swedenborgians.  This meeting house was located on West Adams Street.  The leadership and the studying of the Bible by this Sunday  school group led them to desire to be Christians only, not the only Christians.  In 1904, a building was erected and the deed recorded in the courthouse.  The deed states that the land was given to the church by E.J. Snodgrass, widow of Thomas Snodgrass and Annie Mae Tollett and her husband E.G. Tollett.  At the time the church was erected, two other churches were already established in Crossville.  These were the Congregational Church and the Northern Methodist Church.  

We know little of the early history of our church, but one record tells that it did not have any permanence until around the turn of the century, when a young preacher by the name of W.J. Shelbourne held a meeting in Crossville.  At that time, C.E. Snodgrass, or Judge Snodgrass, as he was known, was made an Elder and Superintendent of the Sunday school and Church and gradually took up preaching.  Therefore, we do know that Judge Snodgrass was the first minister and through his efforts was mainly responsible for the organization of the church.  Ministers to follow were J.V. Wright, J.G. Wilson, Tom Burkett, Connor Lundy, Frank Horn, Gerald Smith, Jack Irwin, Sam Fleming, Cary Mumford, Roger Sickmiller, George W. Long, Rob Morton, Roy Slagle, and many others. 

Going was rough for our little church during the late twenties and thirties.  Judge Snodgrass, who had never accepted pay for the work he did, moved to Knoxville having been appointed Judge to the Appellate Court of the State of Tennessee to serve the Eastern district.  There were times when it looked as if we might have to close our doors.  Attendance at the church service was often no more than a dozen.  There were meetings when J.V. Wright was the only man present which made it necessary to call upon the ladies to help serve communion.  There was a little more interest shown in the Sunday school and a few faithful adults kept the children coming.  The Ladies Aid Society of the church remained active and helped provide the little extra things the church needed.

J.G. Wilson was a part-time minister for us during the twenties and in the later years, preached on various occasions.  He also faithfully taught a Sunday school class for many, many years.  He preached for the church the day before his 100th birthday.

Tom Burkett ministered to the church during the years preceeding World War II.  He drove from Rockwood every Sunday to preach.  In the beginning he was paid $10 a week.

Conner Lundy came to us in 1948 and ministered here for ten years.  At the time he came, our membership was 35, but under his leadership, it grew to 158 in about seven years.  Because of this growth, he was able to give up the work he was doing to supplement his salary and thus became our first full-time minister.  According to the Tennessee Christian, we had a fast growing church, "bursting at the seams."  Having gained confidence by paying for a new Hammond organ in about a third of the time, the church undertook a second major project.  The old white church building erected in 1904 had only one large room and a balcony and was far from adequate, so in 1953, we started a building program.  The first part was the lower floor of what is now the back section of the church building.  The cost was approximately $15,000 and provided Sunday school rooms for four classes.  The second section, the top floor, was ready for use two years later and cost approximately another $15,000.  We then moved our worship from the old white building to the upper part of our new structure.  The following spring the old building was torn down.

In 1960 we were again debt free and called Jack Irwin as our pastor.  At that time, a parsonage was purchased to provide a home for our new minister and his family.  Brother Jack was with us for ten years and under his leadership our church experienced even more growth.  After he had been here about five years, ground was broken for the final unit of our church building, the basement and sanctuary.  At the time of our dedication there were 276 names on the church roll.

In June of 1970 Jack Irwin moved to Livingston.  For almost nine months we were without a regular minister, but fortunate to have good speakers fill the pulpit.  In March of 1971 Sam Fleming came to serve as the pastor of the church and ministered to the congregation for the next nine years. 

He was followed by Cary Mumford who served the congregation less than a year. 

Roger Sickmiller served from 1982 to 1990. 

George W. Long began his ministry on the first Sunday in November, 1990 and served for 14 years. 

Rob Morton and Roy Slagle served one year each. 

They were followed by Bob Kastens, who served for eight years; followed by Patrick Pence, who came to FCC in October of 2017 and served until December 2020.