The First Christian Church of Stow was founded over 180 years ago and is one of the oldest congregations in the city. We have been worshiping and witnessing near the heart of the city since 1831.
While we have enjoyed a glorious history, we are more concerned for the present and the future. We seek to preach and to practice a Christ-centered religion, devoted to justice and peace, responsive to truth, and concerned for the spiritual growth of all persons.
About the First Christian Church of Stow
- Services blend traditional and contemporary style
- 11 Music Groups
- Not too big; not too small.
- Sunday School classes
- Youth group for grades 6-12.
- Junior Church for K-5th grade.
- Child Care for Infant-PreK.
- Pastor: Rev.Jonathan Rumburg, email@example.com
- Director of Music & Drama Ministries: Cheryl Neff Lorenz firstname.lastname@example.org
- Director of Choral & Instrumental Music: Ralph Lorenz
- Office Manager: Kathy Gustafson, email@example.com
- Directors of Christian Education: Richelle Aukeman, Anna Lloyd firstname.lastname@example.org
- Building Manager: Tony Falcione
- Organist: Andrea Drews
- Children’s Choir Directors: Andrea Drews, Molly Halpin
- Joyful Noise Director: Barb Eppley
- Treasurer: Sue Painter
- Financial Secretary: Lisa Roseman
Find Us / Directions
First Christian Church is located on the corner of State Routes 59 and 91 in the heart of Stow, Ohio, at 3493 Darrow Rd.
Parking is available in both our upper and lower lots, with access to the building at both levels. Handicap parking is available at both levels as well. Additionally there is a handicap entrance near Darrow Rd. with immediate access to an elevator that will take you to all levels.
About Disciples of Christ
- Affirming diversity; open to all
- 800,000 members in 3700 churches
- Inclusive – All who believe in Christ are welcome at our weekly communion
- No Creed but Christ
All Are Welcome!
History – 170 Years, 1831 – 2001
This year, 2001, we celebrate our 170th anniversary, making us the oldest church in Stow. A timeline will show our progress from a small group of believers to our present status. Included are prayers for our church from a cross section of our membership. This is not intended to be a comprehensive history, but, rather an overview of the people and events that helped shape our church.
David Darrow was the first convert in Stow of the pioneer Disciple preacher, William Hayden. A group began meeting in member’s homes and devout laymen were responsible for much of the worship life of this small congregation.
The church was reorganized and began meeting in the former Presbyterian Church located at the western edge of our presentStowCemetery. Sixteen members were recorded as follows: Mr. and Mrs. Constant Rogers, Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Stark, Mr. and Mrs. Calvin Thomas, Mr. and Mrs. Zebulon Stow, Mr. and Mrs. Datus Lindsey, Mr. and Mrs. Eli Gaylord, Mr. and Mrs. James C. Willis, Mr. David Darrow, Miss C.S. Stark.
APR 27, 1856
Elder Edwin Wetmore, presented a pulpit Bible to the church. Although in a dilapidated state, this Bible is in our church archives with a handwritten note, dated April 1873, detailing its history.
ANNUAL MEETING MAR 14, 1857
Membership in the church was 109.
JAN 9, 1861
Edwin Wetmore, now the owner of the land on which the church stood, “for consideration of one dollar leased to the overseers of the Church of Christ at Stow and their successors in office, this piece of ground for 99 years” as long as it continued to be used as a church.
Our church was governed much different in this time period. Ministers were generally transient and seldom stayed long at one church. When they did remain, it was common to find them sharing their time between two or more churches. Deacons and Elders, elected for life terms, were responsible for the ongoing operation of the church. New members were accepted by confession of faith, baptism, or by letter from another congregation attesting to their good standing. Members could be excluded from fellowship by the Elders for unchristian or immoral conduct, or for absenting themselves from the Lord’s House for more than one year without just cause. Lapsed members could be restored to fellowship upon making a confession. From the pen of Frank Green: “These early leaders may have been sometimes narrow and unbending in their opinions, but they laid a sure foundation.”
ANNUAL MEETING AUG 24, 1861
The Church this day presented 15 Testaments to the Volunteers in the United States Service.
MAR 17, 1863
The Elders unanimously adopted the following resolution, “Believing that the Scriptural mode of procuring funds to support the preaching of the Gospel is that one should give as he hath prospered, we therefore agree to abide by that rule and accordingly pay our portion of the $225 for that purpose for the coming year.”
SEP 18, 1864
S.R. Willard, his wife, Catharine, and their daughter, Jane, united with the Stow Church. He served as pastor from 1864-1865. His son, Archibald, a nationally famous painter, painted his father into “Spirit of ‘76” as one of the central figures, a drummer. We have recently been given the Scott Bibles once owned by Rev. Willard.
ANNUAL MEETING DEC 29, 1868
Membership of the church was 74; 25 male and 49 female.
FEB 3-19, 1871
Elder, A.C. Bartlett, the present pastor, assisted by F.M. Green of Alliance, held a protracted meeting. Sixteen people were baptized and united with the church. It’s interesting to note that baptisms of this time were held at Silver Lake, even if it was necessary to cut a hole in the ice.
CLERK OF TRUSTEES BOOK
April 8, 1873, the church incorporated as The Church of Christ at Stow. Also in 1873, the church acquired two acres at the corner of Darrow and Kent Roads, including the property known as the Central Hotel at Stow Corners. A subscription campaign was started to raise the necessary funds to remodel part of this property as a parsonage. Of interest is a letter sent to Akron, East Cleveland, and Cuyahoga Falls, thanking them for their “generous aid in buying the hotel property and repairing the same for a parsonage. You have helped us to provide a convenient appendage to the church. But above all, you have helped us to wipe out an institution that has long disgraced our township,” a reference to the tavern, which was part of the hotel.
APR 6, 1875
As our present house of worship has become dilapidated and unsuited to our needs, we have elected to build a new house of worship. Lacking legal title to the old church and property, it was decided to build a new house of worship on the land acquired in 1873.
SEP 9, 1876
The new meeting house was this day dedicated to the worship of God.
A black walnut pulpit, built by Sylvestor Gaylord for the dedication of the 1876 church, is now in our gathering area. The $30 cost of the wood to build this pulpit was raised by the children of our Sunday School, who contributed their pennies. On display in our library is the silver Communion set used in the 1876 church. A black walnut altar table now in our gathering area was added to the chancel of the 1876 church sometime after 1911.
ANNUAL MEETINGJAN 4, 1878
A report was received from the Ladies Christian Aid Society.April 22, 1878, the ladies of theChurchofChristatStoworganized an Auxiliary to the Christian Women’s Board of Missions. These two groups sponsored missionary and benevolent work of the church, including raising funds for needed projects.
February 7, 1881
A group of members transferred from Stow to organize a separate fellowship forming the First Christian Church of Cuyahoga Falls.
DEC 17, 1897
At the annual meeting, Rev. Osgood recommended that the church unite in seeking to enlist all its members in paying a definite sum toward the expense of the church.
DEC 17, 1909
The sum of $10 received for rent of the church for the school graduation exercises was applied to the renovation of the parsonage.
JAN 11, 1913
It was approved to have all officers elected for a term of five years instead of for life.
JAN 10, 1914
One Trustee, as representative of the church, two members of the Dramatic Club, and two members of the Ladies Aid shall act as a committee to set stakes and proceed with plans for building a hall on the church property. The church and community used this hall, located where the Chapel now stands, for several years.At this Annual Meeting, a committee was appointed to devise a plan for adopting a weekly pledge system of finance to be in place April 1, 1914.
NOV 26, 1917
The Men’s Class met at the home of Mr. Spaght for the purpose of reorganizing. OnFebruary 6, 1923, the men voted to change the name of their class to Baracca. The Ladies Class of this time was Philathea.
ANNUAL MEETINGJAN 11, 1919
It was decided to elect 10 Deaconesses for five-year terms. These first Deaconesses were: Mrs. S.E. Nickerson, Mrs. O. Spaght, Mrs. A.S. Wetmore, Mrs. Graves, Mrs. Cowles, Mrs. Studt, Mrs. E.S. Wetmore, Mrs. Iru Palmer, Mrs. H.J. Williamson, Mrs. Appley.
JAN 19, 1920
The Elders reported a membership of 105.
In August 1920, the church held a homecoming at which it was noted plans for a new building were being made.
FEB 7, 1921
The building committee was instructed to place the new church between the present church and the Ladies Hall.
MAR 29, 1921
Mrs. Graves was given charge of preparing Communion each Lord’s Day and to purchase wine to be paid for from the current expense fund.
APR 25, 1921
Elders Spaght, Nickerson, and C.M. Wetmore were appointed to write a history of the church in time to be ready for the laying of the cornerstone on June 5, 1921.
JAN 15, 1922
The new church was dedicated. Membership was 120.
JAN 7, 1923
Trustees voted the chair be authorized to advertise the old church building for sale to the highest bidder. The old church is now a duplex on Williamson Road.
The Elders gave approval for the choir to wear robes for the Christmas cantata. Later that month, the Official Board granted permission for the robes to be worn during regular morning worship from that time on.
APR 28, 1935
Our church bell was dedicated. The bell, cast in 1875, was used for over 40 years at the Old Central Church of Christ in Wilmington, Ohio, until that church was destroyed by fire. It was placed in our bell cote and rung for the first time for the Sunrise Prayer Service on April 21, 1935, by Mr. Frank Green, son of Rev. F.M. Green, former pastor at the Wilmington church.
Our church purchased the old Town Hall for $350 and planned to develop a Children’s Chapel. The groundbreaking ceremony was held April 20, and the cornerstone was laid on June 8, 1941, but owing to shortages, dedication didn’t take place until August 15, 1948.
OFFICIAL BOARD MEETINGSEP 9, 1942
Mrs. Cameron reported for the Deaconesses, that at their regular meeting, grape juice to be used for Communion in the coming year was made.
SEP 9, 1945
Mrs. Martin, reporting for the Deaconesses, advised that because of the few grapes available this year, the Deaconesses would not be able to make the necessary grape juice for Communion and asked Board approval to purchase it.
Regular worship bulletins began to be used instead of sheets of paper.
MAR 1, 1948
It was approved that the CYF would take charge of the Easter Sunrise Service, with boys and girls participating jointly.
APR 4, 1948
The church received a donation of $300 to start a church library.It was planned to hold a Vacation Bible School, June 13-24, with Mrs. Biltz as Director.
This is the first reference to VBS in our records.
Mrs. Spaght reported for the Ladies Aid that their entire fund, with the exception of $1, had been turned over to the Chapel fund. She also reported that they had discussed changing their name to the Women’s Council for Christian Service.
NOV 25, 1948
Rev. Quad married Paul and Barbara Coleman in the Children’s Chapel. This was the first wedding held in the newly dedicated Chapel.
FEB 7, 1949
A motion was made to accept the Men’s Club as an official member of the Board.
JAN 14, 1953
At this annual meeting, it was approved that after this date, our official church year will begin July 1 and close June 30 of the year following.
FEB 14, 1952
The Kum-dub-L class was organized to fill a need for a class for young married couples. The President was James Anderson Jr., and the teacher was Mrs. Theodore Cord.
OCT 5, 1952
The Cross and Crown attendance system for Sunday School was adopted.
The original Communion service was re-silvered at a cost of $38.75.
OCT 23, 1955
The cornerstone was laid for theYouthCenter.
MAY 1, 1957
The official name of our church was changed to First Christian Church ofStow.
MAY 5, 1957
Sunday, May 5, 1957 was the opening day of our 125th anniversary celebration. The Youth Center and the Educational Building were dedicated.
JAN 1, 1958
Sunday School classes for adults were C-4-C teacher, Mr. Thomas Clarke; Kum-Dub-L teacher, Mr. Lewis Smith; Homebuilders teacher, Mr. Ben H. Taylor; Friendship Class teacher, Mrs. H. Gover; Men’s Class teacher, Mr. W. Mulvehill.
The Fisherman’s Club was organized for the purpose of cultivating and winning souls to the church.
ANNUAL REPORT 1960-61
Oakley Spaght was named Elder Emeritus.
Harold Oswald was added to the staff as the first Director of Religious Education. Our new pipe organ was dedicated.
The use of Blessing Boxes was started by CWF. The proceeds for this first year were donated to the Haven of Rest.
Jan Anderson became the first woman member of the Board of Trustees.
The chancel was remodeled. During the process of removing the pillars, a hymnal, which had been placed in the top of one pillar, fell, hitting Rick Lloyd, but giving us a relic of the 1920s.
SEP 9, 1974
Our Nursery School was started.
Our first woman Elder, Jennie Seese, was elected and Elizabeth Cowles was appointed to fill an unexpired term on the Board of Elders.
Our lift was installed.
The Memorial Committee was established.
The Fellowship Committee was formed to handle congregational dinners.
MAY 6, 1984
The 92nd birthday of Rev. Leo Gregory was celebrated at a coffee hour in his honor.
It was approved that no registration fee for VBS would be charged, making it a community outreach.
MAY 10, 1987
The Peace Pole was dedicated. “May peace prevail on earth” is engraved in English, Russian, French, and Chinese on each of the four sides.
SEP 20, 1987
Ben Taylor was named Elder Emeritus. It was noted that Palmer Williamson and Judd Russell had previously been so honored.
JAN 10, 1994
It was reported that the Youth Center was in a marginal state of repair. The building had been flooded at least three times, and was showing signs of decay. It was recommended that it be replaced with a new building.
DEC 12, 1994
The Deacons thanked Bill Dowey Jr. and Al Naylor for procuring new figures for the Nativity scene.
AUG 4, 1996
A groundbreaking ceremony was held for our new addition.
JAN 21, 1997
A time capsule, filled with items representing both the church’s history and its dreams for the future, was placed into the interior wall on the interior wall on the north side of the new addition. This area is now marked with memorial bricks.
MAY 17, 1998
Our new addition was dedicated.
JUL 1, 2000
The Board of Deacons and Deaconesses were merged into a Diaconate.
APR 22, 2001
Our Chapel, completely refurbished by the Friends of the Chapel, was rededicated.
A lot has happened in the 170 years that this congregation has been in existence. I hope that you pause and reflect on the past rich history of First Christian Church of Stow. We have been given a legacy and are responsible for passing it on to the next generation. We are called to expanded and deepen our ministry and the Church of Jesus Christ right here on this corner. Thank you for your part in helping us create the future.
Prayers of the Church
My prayer for our church is that it will always be a beacon or lighthouse in our community and meet the spiritual and physical needs of all who come to the church.
My prayer for our church is that we bring more individuals into this church, so that they may experience the great joy we share with the Lord and one another.
My prayer for our church is that Jesus be our reason for existence, our guide for living, our focus in worship, and our mission to share.
My prayer for our church is to get more people to come to church, so they can learn about God too.
My prayer for our church is that we continue to grow our outreach and ministry programs so that we can spread the Good News and “keep the fires burning” for ourselves.
My prayer for our church is that we become closer with more understanding of God’s teaching.
My prayer for our church is “Blessed Jesus, Blessed Jesus, hear Thy children when they pray.”
My prayer for our church is that we may always reach up in adoration, reach down in compassion, reach over in fellowship, and reach out in the name of God.
My prayer for our church is that we remember, “For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.”
My prayer for our church is that all know the basic principals of our faith, “Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so.”
My prayer for our church is that we stop, look, and listen before forming opinions.
My prayer for our church is that we judge not, be an example, and love our brothers all.
My prayer for our church is “Blessed Jesus, Blessed Jesus, thou has loved us, love us still.”
My prayer for our church is that we accept one another.
My prayer for our church is that we thank God for allowing us to share His many lessons in life with each other.
My prayer for our church is that we show our love for one another and for Christ in our Christian witness.
My prayer for our church is that we prayerfully consider the funding and incorporation of modern worship technologies and methods.
My prayer for our church is that all members may grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ and share in the fulfillment of the common task of building the Kingdom of God on earth.
My prayer for our church is that you lead us, Lord, in becoming a church that is flexible and embraces change as needed, to ensure that a larger, stronger, more diverse church will be our legacy.
My prayer for our church is that we enrich a life, embrace the burdened, make the difference.
My prayer for our church is that we may always be a vessel through which God’s love and grace may flow and his will be accomplished for our members, our community, and all those whom we can influence for God’s glory.
My prayer for our church is that, Heavenly Father, you would help the members of this church to be forward thinkers and to build upon the great legacy left by those who have proceeded us.
Amen and Amen