Worship, Discover, Serve and Grow Together
On January 1st, 2012 History was made
as it marked the day that the first joint congregations of First Christian Church and Radford Christian Church united together as one large Christian family.
Well over 200 years of combined history came toether to share one goal and one dream of a unified congregation committed to spirtitual growth and spreading the hope and love of Christian fellowship. Our mission is and will be to bring others to know Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
History of the Disciples
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) grew out of two movements seeking Christian unity that sprang up almost simultaneously in western Pennsylvania and Kentucky - movements that were backlashes against the rigid denominationalism of the early 1800s.
Thomas and Alexander Campbell, a Scottish Presbyterian father and son in Pennsylvania, rebelled against the dogmatic sectarianism that kept members of different denominations - and even factions within the same denomination - from partaking of the Lord's Supper together.
Barton W. Stone in Kentucky, also a Presbyterian, objected to the use of creeds as tests of "fellowship" within the church, which were a cause of disunity, especially at the Lord's table.
"Christians," the name adopted by Stone's movement, represented what he felt to be a shedding of denominational labels in favor of a scriptural and inclusive term. Campbell had similar reasons for settling on "Disciples of Christ" but he felt the term "Disciples" less presumptuous than "Christians."
The aims and practices of the two groups were similar, and the Campbell and Stone movements united in 1832 after about a quarter of a century of separate development.
The founders of the Christian Church hoped to restore Christian unity by returning to New Testament faith and practices. But the church found that even this led to division. One group which opposed practices not specifically authorized by the New Testament, such as instrumental music in the church and organized missionary activity, gradually pulled away. That group finally was listed separately in the 1906 federal religious census as the "Churches of Christ."
Another group remained with the Disciples but began a separation in 1926 over what it felt were too liberal policies on the mission field in the practice of baptism. More than 40 years later (1967-69) some 3,000 of those congregations formally withdrew at the time of Disciples restructure. They refer to themselves as the Christian Churches/Churches of Christ.
History of Radford Christian Church from 1899,
by Bernard Tilley.
History of First Christian Church from 1890
Unity Christian Church of Radford Virginia, is the new congregation formed from the joining of First Christian Church and Radford Christian Church.
In September 2010, exploration of a joint congregation progressed into forming a Unity Committee composed of 6 members from each Church. In just 3 short months it was determined that the formation of a joint Church between the two congregations was warranted. On Sunday January 2nd 2011, the first joint worship service was held in the sanctuary of First Christian Church on Tyler Avenue. Since that first joint service in January, excitement, anticipation and love grew in the hearts of every member. The thirst to be together as one large family of Christians grew rapidly and by June, joint worship services were moved from once a month to twice a month.
Both congregations voted overwhelmingly in favor to join together under one name and come together under the new name of Unity Christian Church.
Starting the first Sunday in November, both congregations will worship together at the Carter Street location of Radford Christian Church in order to make way for renovations to begin at the Tyler Street location. In early January 2012 both congregations will transform from 2 into 1 new large family. On that Sunday, there will be celebrations marking the first meeting together as Unity Christian Church in the newly renovated church facility that once was First Christian Church.
God has enriched our lives and blessed us to witness and participate in the most exciting event in the history of over 200 combined years of two of Radford's longest standing congregations