by Roger Thomas

This content is part of a series.

Getting a Grip on Our Heritage (7 of 7)
Series: Strengthening Your Grip
Roger Thomas
John 17:20-23

Introduction: A little boy goes out to the garage one Saturday afternoon and asks his dad "the question." "Dad," he queries, "Where did I come from?" Dad doesn't hesitate for a second. He takes a deep breath and immediately responds, "Son, go talk to your mother!"

The boy heads for the kitchen. He finds his mother and asks again "Mom, where did I come from?" She, of course, begins "the answer." The youngster listens in rapt attention as his mother begins a detailed discourse on the "birds and the bees." Thirty minutes later, he looks up at his mother and says, "That's all very interesting, mom. But the new kid down the street just told me he came from Cleveland. I just wanted to know where I came from."

It's good to know where we come from. That's true for churches as well. Today's message is the last sermon before we launch our congregation's 125th anniversary. This is a good day to look back a bit and answer that question, "Where did we come from?"

Churches, like little boys, don't just come from nowhere. All congregations have histories, stories, and ideas that shaped them. The early settlers who followed Col. Aaron McPike to Vandalia in the early 1870's included folk from lots of different religious backgrounds. The most popular church groups on the American frontier of the day included the Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists. All three started congregations in the village. The Presbyterian Church came first.

The earliest residents of Vandalia included another group as well. Our early church records refer to them simply as Disciples. Neighbors who wanted to rib them a bit would often call them "Campbellites." More often than not, they preferred the simple term Christian. That's why the stonework above the main entrance to our building simply reads "Christian Church." The corner stone of our first building erected in 1 ...

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