A brief history of Tiffin’s First Christian Church

Founded in 1891, First Christian members started meeting in a room above Schwable Hardware, 61 S, Washington St. In 1895, the original church was constructed at 152 E. Market St., across from the roller skating rink. The cost was $30,000.

Serving as pastor from 1969-1994 was the Rev. Alonzo Wise. His wife Margaret ministered with him and served as interim pastor for a short period. DeVos said Margaret still sings in the choir. David Mills became pastor after the Wises. DeVos is hoping to have Alonzo Wise speak at the anniversary celebration.

It was Wise who initiated the construction of a new church. The aging building was difficult to heat and not handicapped-accessible. A lightning strike destroyed one of the church’s steeples. DeVos explained Wise had been a banker before entering the ministry, so Wise organized a building fund campaign and began the planning for a new place of worship.

The East Market Street Church closed in 1991. Tiffin City Schools purchased the property and demolished the building.

The church purchased property at CR 19 and US 224, adding small parcels as they became available. Wise and his wife lived in a house on the property. Once the church was constructed, the Wises moved and the house was removed.

“This church was built not only with a whole lot of faith in the future, but also with the determination that they were going to make it work, and they weren’t going to hire everything done,” DeVos said.

Records from that period indicate church members cleared the grounds, moved the garage, hand-dug a basement under the church and various other tasks.

Under Pastor Mills, the congregation built a playground and the shelter house in the woods behind the church. DeVos said the shelter is used for family gatherings, vacation Bible school and outdoor worship once a month from June through September.

The worship service at First Christian Church is at 9:30 a.m. every Sunday. More information can be found online at www.tiffinchurchfamily.com or by calling (419) 447-3731.

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