History of the 702 E Morgan Street Church
East Morgan Street church of Christ in Spencer, Indiana
[The following information is framed and encased at the office of the East Morgan Streetchurch of Christ building, 702 East Morgan St., Spencer, Indiana. I have left words, phrases, grammar and questionable spelling of names just as they appear on the document – Gary L. Fiscus].
“August 31st, 1834
“John O’Kane, an evangelist of the church of Christ at Connersville, Indiana taught the Christian religion this day at the Court House in the town of Spencer and set in order a church at this place which consists of the following members, to wit:
“Thomas G. Johnson, Thomas Horvd, Dr. James A. Eckels and Lucinda his wife, Delaua R. Eckels, Nancy Secrest, Mary Secrest.
“September 2nd, 1834 Nancy Anderson and Louisa K. Eckels were added to this number.
“Sept. 3rd This day the first person baptized into Jesus Christ for remission of sins took place here.
“The multitudes were variously impressed with the sight. Some mockingly said it’s going to Heaven by water, others thought it a new essential, but of the sinners some were made to say I knew if ever I got to heaven, I know I must go this road. I never seen the Gospel plan as clear in my life. The little band of desciples stood near to the edge of the river and with joy beheld the life of the sister hid with Christ in God in hope that when he who is our life shall appear we shall appear with him in glory; as she came up out of the water the believers in Jesus extended to her the right hand of fellowship and being born of the same parents, towit, ‘Water and the spirit’ they joyfully recognized her a sister in the congregation, a Child of God, and a member of His Kingdom.
“Sept. 28th being the first day of the week the Church being assembled at Spencer Mefser Secrest was added this number, and after the Lord Jesus was set forth crucified among us Mefser Secrest was ordained a Deacon in the Congregation and Thomas Howe and Thomas C. Johnson Bishops by being chosen by the congregation and the right hand of fellowship being given to each.
“Elizabeth S. Echals and Samuel Higinbotham were married at GreencastleInd on Sunday August 15 1847 by Revd. William Laribee of the Methodist Episcopal Church.”
Although this is proven documentation of the church of Christ in Spencer, there were other OwenCounty churches of Christ that were in existence before 1834. According to A.T. DeGroot’s book The Churches of Christ in Owen County, Indiana there was: Dutch Bethel (1825); Adel (1829); Bethsaida (1840); and New Union (1830’s).
As to the East Morgan Street church in particular, it had it’s inception from the old Jefferson Street church in the south side of Spencer. That congregation began in 1924. I remember as a child brother Jim Shively, but before my time he suggested that a group of Christians donate $100 to the group wanting to erect a building on Jefferson Street. [That building today is the Headquarters of the political Democrat party]. The former church house was built to seat 200 people. One can still see (2012), the deep red tile outer walls of the structure.
A division occurred in the congregation in 1930. My grandfather, Roy Fiscus, asked Christians to meet in his home on September 13th, 1930 and a new congregation was organized. The split came over the issue of one container being used for the Lord’s Supper, and the order of worship, as the new group believed there was a prescribed order in Acts 2:42. Ironically, before his death in 1975, Grandpa Roy came back to the now East Morgan Street congregation; and I have worked with that same congregation since 1992!
On February 9th, 1958 a business meeting was held and a proposal was made to investigate property on lots 31-34 of the Mayfair Addition on the east side of Spencer. For the next two years plans purchasing and building were discussed. From May through August of 1960 these brethren from the congregation on Jefferson Street decided to sell that building and build on the Mayfair property. The carved stone on the southeast corner of the present church house, 702 East Morgan Street, is dated 1960.
Preachers who have worked with the congregation since 1960 have been Waymon Swain, (living), Burton Newland, (deceased), Raymond Harris, (living), Henry Smith, (deceased), as well as men at this writing still living: Robert Hines, Steven Moseley, Doug Davidson, Bill Pierce, Stan Caldwell and Gary Fiscus.
In 1958 shortly before the move from Jefferson Street to East Morgan Street elders of the congregation have been Ralph Bucklew, Herman Hinton and Earl Baughn, (all deceased). Other men who have served as elders over the past 50+ years have been Bernard Bucklew, (presently), Joe R. Dillman, (deceased), Daniel (Gene) Miller, (living), Russell Blair, (deceased), with Kevin McKay, Vernon Provines and Steven Stickels, all presently serving as bishops over the local congregation. Various brethren have served over the years as deacons, trustees, and treasurers.
The congregation has an attendance of approximately 100 on Sunday mornings. They sponsor three radio programs, offer Bible correspondence courses, and have two gospel meetings per year, home Bible studies, a Vacation Bible Study in the summer, and a Winter Bible Study with congregational male members doing the speaking. There are Bible classes on Sunday morning and Wednesday night, and evening services on Sunday.
The congregation is autonomous in government, does not support human institutions and worships with vocal music only. They do not have fund-raisers, entertainment, or engage in other secular activities. They believe that one is to “worship God in spirit and in truth,” (John 4:23-24) and that the Lord’s church is His body, (Ephesians 1:21 & Colossians 1:18).
They invite your investigation, your visitation, and most of all your study of God’s word, the Bible, as the sole basis for your faith (Romans 10:17).