Church History

Church History

A Brief History of the Manchester, Connecticut Church of Christ written by Mary Brown
In the early 1960’s, there was a need for congregations of churches of Christ to be established in the Northeast. Mr. Eugene Brewer, after corresponding with W.E. Hebbard from the West Hartford, CT congregation, moved his family from Stamford, Texas to Manchester, CT for the purpose of starting a new congregation there. His supporting congregation was the church of Christ in Muskogee, Oklahoma. On September 10, 1961 seven families began meeting in the rented Orange Hall on East Center Street in Manchester. On that day, Eugene began his long service as minister of the new congregation.
In November of 1961, a committee was formed to begin the search for a building site, and a building fund was established. In April of 1963, lots were purchased on the corner of Lydall and Vernon Streets in Manchester, and construction of a new building began in November. The church met in its new building for the first time on May 3, 1964 with 45 attending Bible class, 60 attending worship service, and a contribution of $168.
The young church continued to grow. The church’s first elders were ordained on September 30, 1973—A.J. Todd, Don Nelson, and Eugene Brewer. The first deacons were appointed on December 30 of that year—George Caruthers, Ken Arey, Jim Todd, Ken Wagner, Ed Post, and Don Summers. The church continued to grow to the point where more room was needed, so ground was broken for an addition which was completed in September 1978. As time passed, more elders and deacons were appointed, and assistant ministers were hired including Mike Lawlor, Steve Holt, and Gareth Flanary.
In 1993, founding minister Eugene Brewer retired as pulpit minister after 31 years of service; however, he remained an elder and continued to serve as education director and write the Bible class curriculum. Raul Fonseca and Charles Wilson each served as pulpit minister for a time, and on March 1, 1998, Arnie Holmes began his service as the pulpit minister. A youth minister, Kerry Richardson, was hired in 1999 followed by J.P. Conway in 2000, Bryan Gray in 2007, Brady Easter in 2009, and Cameron Franklin in 2013.
The church continued to grow. In April, 1999, the Manchester congregation began conducting two A.M. Sunday services and also began the process of searching for land on which to build a new building. On January 31, 2001 the church purchased property at 601 Tolland Turnpike in Manchester. An adjoining property was purchased later in that year, and a major capital fund raising campaign was begun in order to raise funds for a new building.
On May 31, 2004 the church was shaken by the unexpected death of Barbara Brewer, wife of Eugene Brewer. On June 16, 2004 ground was broken for the new facility at 595 Tolland Turnpike. On April 10, 2005, over 316 people gathered for the last worship service at 394 Lydall St. On April 17, 335 people attended the first service in the new building on Tolland Turnpike. During 2007, the average attendance at the Sunday morning worship service had grown to 283. In July 2007, Anthony Melakian was hired as on outreach minister. Arnie Holmes retired after 17.5 years as pulpit minister in October of 2015, and Patrick Barber began his tenure as pulpit minister on January 1, 2016.
A more complete history of the church can be found in the church office!

Skip to toolbar