HISTORY OF THE GARDEN CITY CHURCH OF CHRIST, COLUMBUS, INDIANA
Garden City Church of Christ was founded at a meeting held in the former Wagner School that was located on old road 58 (200 S) in 1910. W. H. Book was the leader. On February 13, 1911, Marshall T. Reeves bought the ground from C.W. Masters and the church building was constructed in Garden City on Highway 11. It was dedicated in June 1911.
Attendees met for Sunday school until 1929, when a regular worship service was instituted. Dick Fisher was the first Sunday school superintendent, followed by John Eddy, Charles Peterson and Willard Ault. There were 30 members present when the church was organized. The first officers of the congregation were: Elders – Willard Ault and Wilbur Schnell; Deacons – Paris Hunter and Gus Pyatt; Superintendent – Willard Ault.
The First Christian Church of Columbus and the County Missionary Board were visionary help during the early years.
On October 20, 1929, the late A. Satong became the first pastor of the church. After his death in 1930, J.C. Reynolds became pastor. In 1944, a front porch was enclosed in order to accommodate the growing congregation. The Ladies Aide was active in fund raising drives, and in 1913 shucked corn in a nearby field in order to raise money for needed items in the church. Pews, a baptistery, an organ, sound system and refurnished kitchen are just a few of the items the Aide provided.
In 1951, four more classrooms were added to the east portion of the church. Again in 1956, an extensive remodeling was done, including an enlargement of the sanctuary and more class room in the basement. An entrance foyer was added. In 1961, the congregation celebrated at a mortgage burning. A parsonage was purchased in Zephyr Village this same year with Jack Prather and his family being the first church minister to occupy it.
In 1971, 8.22 acres were purchased just south of Garden City from Mrs. Nelle Stader for $20,000. Robert P. Johnston was the minister. On November 18, 1973, the congregation commissioned Goodman Church Builders to begin construction. Some ground was traded which left seven acres. After an exciting $250,000 Bond Program was completed in four days, the groundbreaking ceremony took place on August 25, 1974. Eleven months later, July 29, 1975, 591 people gathered in the all new facilities for the first worship service. Dedication services were held on September 7, 1975.
On July 5, 1981, a new wing to the new building was added to accommodate more classrooms, expansion for the sanctuary, and office accommodations. Bill Eaton was the minister during both of the building projects and Virgil Clotfelter was Associate Minister during the expansion. Approximately three acres of property with a house, adjacent to the north side of the church property was purchased in 1984, and the house was made a rental. Steve Kehrer was Senior Minister and Virgil Clotfelter was Associate Minister during this time. A mortgage burning was held in 1991.
A large outdoor building for storage, parking and picnics was constructed behind the church in 1992. In 1995 the rental house was sold, but the church retained 2+ acres of ground. David Lee Smith was Senior Minister and Virgil Clotfelter was Associate Minister during this project.
The building was divided into a teen room in 2000 to accommodate the expanding teen ministry. David Burnett was Senior Minister, Virgil Clotfelter was Associate Minister and Ken Manning was Music Minister.
2001 brought extensive remodeling of the building. Offices were modernized with carpet, furnishings and computer equipment. The sanctuary and foyer followed with the installation of a Welcome Center, new carpet, upholstering of the pews and chairs and new lighting and windows. In 2002, the office was expanded to accommodate a larger office staff and extensive remodeling was done to the teen room. David Burnett was Senior Minister, Virgil Clotfelter, Pastoral Care Minister and Ric Musselman, Youth Minister.
Improvements were made in the Youth “shed” and tables & chairs purchased in 2007. A new roof was installed on the building in 2007 and blacktopping of the parking lot was done, new round tables, chairs and linens were purchased for the fellowship hall. 2008 brought remodeling of the bathrooms and new lighting & painting in the children’s wing. Ron Voss was Senior Minister, Virgil Clotfelter was Associate Minister & Jai Haulk, Youth Minister.
The church celebrated its 100th anniversary August 28, 2010. Two days of celebrations were held and a pitch-in meal at the 4/H Fairgrounds was enjoyed. The Children’s wing of the church was remodeled in 2011. The kitchen was totally remodeled and enlarged in March & April 2011. A garden was provided beside the church for use of the community in 2011 as well as a playground in May 2012. Ron Voss was Senior Minister, Virgil Clotfelter was Pastoral Care Minister & Brian Gilroy was Education and Family Minister.
Brian Gilroy accepted the position of Lead Minister in September 2014. Bryan Graves became the Family Life Minister in July 2015.