History of Bainbridge Christian Church

Bainbridge Christian Church (circa 1910)

Bainbridge Christian Church (circa 1978)

Bainbridge Christian Church 2014

Monroe Township was one of the first settled in Putnam County, Indiana, and Bainbridge, a "flourishing town" on the Louisville, New Albany and Chicago Railroad, was laid out March 5, 1831.

 

Elder John Smith baptized Higgins Lane, having accepted Christ under the preaching of Alexander Campbell, in April 1837, in Kentucky. That spring, Mr. Lane also purchased land at the south edge of Bainbridge and settled there in 1844.

 

Soon after coming to Monroe Township, Higgins Lane became affiliated with the Somerset Christian Church located four miles west of his home. [Somerset Christian Church (later known as Lifespring Church) was destroyed by fire on January 24, 2014, then rebuilt at its present location.]  He served that church as elder for about 15 years.  Desiring to establish a church of Disciples of Christ faith in Bainbridge, Higgins Lane and others in the area initially met in local homes for study and worship.  When construction of a church building began, services were held in the Bainbridge Academy, a building later known as the home of Aunt Della Priest, a devoted member.  The organization of Bainbridge Christian Church was established on December 3, 1859, listing Higgins Lane, Daniel F. Thornton, Harvey C. Black, Samuel Stone, and their successors as trustees on the charter.

 

The plot of ground used for the building of the church, lots #47 and #48 in the Corwin Addition just north of the Higgins Lane farm, was purchased for the price of $10.00.  All of the lumber used in the building was given by Mr. Lane from his farm and was sawed at the Bainbridge sawmill.  The very best yellow poplar and black walnut was used for constructing the building, and the 12" x 12" beams supporting the sanctuary can still be seen above the dropped basement ceiling.

 

The building itself was 38 feet wide and 70 feet long with five large windows along each side.  A double door, centered on the east wall, led into a vestibule, which had a small storage room on the south end for miscellaneous items and one on the north end for heating fuel.

 

Two doors led from the vestibule into the sanctuary, the one on the south was the entry for the men, the one on the north for women and children.  There was a row of long, black walnut pews down the center fo the sanctuary with a riser forming a partition dividing the men and women.  There were rows of short pews along the north and south walls and a pot-bellied stove situated on either side in front of those short pews.  The pulpit was located at the west end of the room.

 

The belfry, centered above the doors on the east end, held one of the largest and most valuable bells made at that time.

 

One Wednesday, January 2, 1860, Alexander Campbell, while on a speaking tour of Indiana, visited the "new and commodious house, which the brethren had recently erected."  On October 21, 1861, the Bainbridge Christian Church house of worship was dedicated.

 

(More to come.)

The Nehemiah Project

In 2012, BCC launched the Nehemiah Project, wherein all members (who wanted to participate) were given $50 to take and use their talents to increase the $50 and return it to the church.  Some folks sold plants and vegetables to sell at the farmer's market during the spring and summer months.  Some made furniture, birdhouses, jewelry, and crafts to sell at the Covered Bridge Festival in the fall.

 

The money earned by the participants has been used to renovate/reconstruct the sound booth, acquire updated technology and sound equipment, and remodel the sanctuary with new chairs, carpet, window treatments, and paint.  In addition to the talents, God blessed us with a large gift from some stock that was bequeathed to the church, which gave us a total of $28,477.80!

 

The old, wooden pews have been replaced with chairs; the old, turquoise, 1960's carpet has been replaced with a more neutral tan colored carpet; and the walls are now a nice, inviting two-tone beige.  Ceiling fan/lights now hang where "groovy" glass canister-type lights once hung. The new fans provide some much needed air flow, which will be great in the warm, summer months.

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