In the oldest record book of the First Christian Church, we find these words: “At a meeting of the members of the Christian Church residing in the city of Marceline, Missouri, held at a vacant house on Santa Fe Avenue on the 3rd Lord’s day in May 1888 for the purpose (sic) of taking into consideration the feasibility of organizing a church. A resolution was unanimously adopted that we proceed organized, which was done in form of electing officers as follows: to wit: J. W. W. Waugh, S. E. Hoge and B. W. Bane, Elders; Marion Washbaugh, and A. C. Yocum, Deacons; J. R. Zimmerman, Clerk. With the number of 53 members enrolled on August 7, Elder J. W. W. Waugh was selected and engaged as pastor for one year, to preach half time for a salary of $300.00.”
On October 7, 1888, S. E. Hoge was elected president, J. A. Smith, treasurer and collector; M. Helwig to furnish emblems and take care of communion set. The first Deaconesses were elected November 20, 1892, Elizabeth Day and Julia Dinsmore. On December 11, 1892, Louisa Sherwood‘s name was added to the list. The first baptism of the new church was Julia R. Patrick, on November 4, 1889. The members met each Sunday in this vacant building, until August, 1889, at which time they secured the use of the Baptist Church for a period of six months for the sum of twenty-five dollars, paid in advance.
On November 3, 1889, Brother F. W. Cottingham began a 21-day meeting, during which 52 persons were added to the congregation.
The board of officers met at the Opera House on December 14, 1889, and appointed a committee to secure funds and erect a church building on Gracia Avenue. The building site had been secured previously. The building committee was composed of L. C. Pendleton, H. C. Kibbler, and I. Jeff Buster, W. S. Atwell, and B. J. Patrick as assistant. W. S. Atwell was to superintend the building of the foundation.
The house, when completed, was dedicated by J. H. Harden on September 28, 1890. At this time $458.32 was raised to eliminate all indebtedness.
This building was the home of the congregation for 25 years. On December 6, 1914, it was decided that the old building was inadequate to the needs of the Church, and especially the Bible school, and a committee was appointed to rebuild, with the instructions to use the old building in the reconstruction. An entirely new auditorium was erected, the old structure being converted into the Bible School annex. Those comprising this committee were A. L. Kleine, J. A. Nickell, L. E. Shelton, I. Jeff Buster, J. B. Pfister, W. C. Patrick, Rev. David Lyon, W. C. Arnold, B. A. Guyer, Geo. Kunkle, Isaac Howe, T. H. Staats, and A. H. Boltz. A. J. Richardson was the contractor and builder.
The Reverend Alfred Munyon assisted the congregation in raising $8,000 to begin building operations. Construction was begun in February 1915, and the new home was dedicated December 19, 1915 at a cost of $16,590.
On February 16, 1916, a new Hinner’s two manual organ was dedicated by Prof. Edward Kreiser, of Kansas City. The Church Choir took the initiative in the installation of the organ. It cost $2,000. The committee on securing the organ was J. A. Nickell, A. J. Richardson, A. L. Kleine, Mrs. A. H. Boltz, and Mrs. Sue Staples.
In 1953 the pipe organ was found to be in need of extensive repairs. Due to the cost it was decided to purchase an electric organ. The Music Committee, composed of Mrs. Cecil Swinehart, Mrs. Elmer Bealmear, and Mrs. Ross Wootten recommended the present Hammond Organ which was installed in December of that year.
The house at 131 West Gracia Street was purchased for the minister’s home in 1943, and in 1961 the congregation sold it and built the present parsonage at 424 South Poplar Street, at a cost of approximately $20,000.