Leaving A Grand Legacy: The Story of First Christian Church of New Castle

In 1856, a small group of Restorationists gathered in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. Talks began of starting a new church. As songs were sung and plans were laid, they could not have imagined the future that would await for their church community.


With the support of the Thomas Phillips family and many other prominent residents of the New Castle area, the small gathering began to grow in numbers and wealth. In just 8 years, the group formally organized to as the First Christian Church of New Castle.

What started as a small group would soon become a central part of the city of New Castle, constructing a church home known as the “big steeple” church on the city’s diamond.


The growth of a community

The church continued its ministry with growing numbers of members and expanding ministry in the community and denomination. Along the way their history was marked by a split of an independent church, Central Christian, and a merger with a Baptist congregation. And the “big steeple” became a central part of the New Castle community.

As the years passed, the great steepled building became a greater responsibility to maintain. Utility bills soared, and worship attendance and membership declined in the 1960s and 70s. Even in this declining period, the church continued to actively share in outreach in their community and through the Pennsylvania Region and mission funding of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).


The decision to close

Faced with increasing deferred maintenance and dwindling attendance, in 2012 the congregation decided to sell their building. The congregation’s decision to gift their remaining assets served as a last testament to their devotion to God’s mission and the commitment of their ancestors in faith.

The congregation made a large gift to the Christian Church in Pennsylvania. Although most of those funds were used by the Region for ongoing expenses, the Regional Board, at the recommendation of Regional Minister Thad Allen, committed $1,000 to establish a named permanent fund with the Christian Church Foundation as part of the Pennsylvania Region’s All Saints Fund. This fund became the First Christian Church of New Castle Fund.

Through this fund, the legacy of each generation since 1856 will continue to serve Christ’s church through an annual income to the Region.

Extend the legacy of your church

Legacy Permanent Funds established through the Christian Church Foundation, enable the accumulated assets of a congregation to continue to serve God's mission long after the doors of a church building close.

If your congregation is interested in exploring how a Legacy Fund might extend your church's legacy, contact us at (800) 668-8016 or info@ccf.disciples.org.