Christian Church

1872 Christian Church

“We the undersigned do mutually agree on this the tenth day of April 1872 to unite in forming a congregation of the Church of Christ at Arrow Rock, Saline County, Missouri.”

Among those 47 people who signed this agreement were John Sites (the local gunsmith) and his wife Nancy. Other prominent names on the membership roster were Bingham, Eastham, Roper, Kibler, Grimes, and McMahan. The congregation remained strong and active until the 1920s.

The Great Depression took its toll on Arrow Rock; the population was declining and so was the size of the congregation. When a big tree fell across the roof of the building in 1937, there weren’t enough resources to repair it. In 1942 some members of the Saline County Conference of Christian Churches tried to get the roof repaired. However, since it was not an active church with regular meetings, they could not obtain the necessary wartime priorities to authorize repair material. In 1947 they tried again and a plan was approved to fix the roof and other damages. Services were begun in May of 1948. Evening services continued once a month until August 1949. At that time a prominent member of the church announced plans to form a federated church in Arrow Rock and regularly scheduled services at the Christian Church ceased.

The Arrow Rock Federated Church (still active today) was formed by other churches that were also having trouble sustaining themselves because of declining population. Thus the Methodist Church, Baptist Church, and Christian or Church of Christ became the Arrow Rock Federated Church.

The Arrow Rock Federated Church meets in the former Methodist Church. The Baptist Church was sold and in 1960 became the Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre. The Friends of Arrow Rock obtained a 99-year lease on the Christian Church and supported the Craft Club in its restoration of the Christian Church. With its original furnishings it is a favorite site for weddings. In the 1972 filming of “Tom Sawyer” Tom’s funeral took place in this chapel.