"We the people of First Christian Church, commit ourselves to living and teaching the works of Jesus as we celebrate His Presence and carry out His Mission of healing and salvation. As members of the family of God, we seek to know, love and support one another and minister to others in our community."
The first organized group of people calling themselves Church of Christ met in various places, including school buildings, the Baptist Church at Second and Otley, and even in homes. When the group was ten years old, on March 30, 1981 the first articles of incorporation was signed. The following is the first paragraph:
"The members of the Church of Christ of Perry, Iowa, desiring to form themselves and their successors into a body corporate for the purpose of maintaining religious worship according to the doctrine of the Christian Religion as taught by Christ and his Apostles and contained in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, witness"
signed; W.S. Russell, George Harlan, and Alonzo Jessup
The next month the organized body purchased and strarted erecting the first of its three churches at the corner of Second and Lucinda. Completed later that same year it was a one room frame structure, to which an addition was later made. This church served the congregation for seventeen years, until 1898. The entrance was at the southwest corner of the building. The pews were "opera chairs" which were fastened togerther with a kick board for a foot rest, and a wire holder for the gentlemen's hats was under each seat. These chairs were grouped in three sections making two aisles. The rostrum held the pulpit and the choir faced the south wall.
Ladies Aid Society Records during these early years are very colorful and a true spirit of devotion to building a successful and influential church group is evident in these records. The congregation numbered 205 in 1883. Out of the "Dorcas" society grew an organization of church women who called themselves the "Ladies Aid Society". This group organized in 1889 to "promote sociability and to assist the pastor to raise money" They met each Wednesday afternoon in the homes of the members. They mad and sold sunbonnets and made quilts and tied comforters. They had exchanges a forerunner of the present day Bake Sale. They also raised money by having Ice Cream Socials. In September 1893, they recorded having a stand at the fair all week long, They took in $55.79, expenses $41.07, leaving a balance of $14.72 for their weeks work! They promptly turned it over to the Minister to be applied on his salary. That year the Church Directory listed the following organizations: Sunday School, Ladies Aid, Christian Woman's Board of Missions, and the Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor.
Mass Baptism In 1896 occured a milestone in the history of the Perry Church. Following a Union revival meeting, Rev. Charles Clayton Morrison, then minister of the Church, baptized 131 converts in the Raccoon River. People arrive from many miles around in buggies and hay racks. It was estimated 6,000 people witnessed this event.
Links of Interest