New Vienna Church of Christ
1861-1898 - The Beginnings...
The New Vienna Church of Christ traces roots back to the fall of 1859 and the Christian Restoration that began at the turn of the 19th Century. William D. Moore while preaching one Sunday per month for the New Antioch, Bethel and Mt. Olive churches, began to work in New Vienna. In the fall of 1860, with an organization of 36 charter members, plans were initiated for the building of a church house. Between $1000 and $1500 was subscribed for the building. The project, as well as most all religious enterprises, came to a halt in the spring of 1861 with the Civil War. Plans were renewed by Elder T.D. Garvin after the war. The trustees
of the New Vienna Church of Christ purchased the lot at the northwest corner of what is now State Routes 28 and 73 from Demsey and Elisabeth Newby for $350. The transfer, recorded at the Clinton County courthouse, is dated July 5, 1866. The original building was a 36' x 50' one room building with stained glass windows and a 10' x 10' entry with a belfry and steeple above. Construction was completed and the building was dedicated in December, 1866. The building stands today with additions as the main auditorium of the church, the original stained glass windows remain with the engraved names of some of the church's founding members and benefactors. When the building was dedicated, the congregation officially organized with Zephaniah Spear and Clark Dixon as overseers. An undated paper found in a record book of the church provides a listing of elders, deacons and trustees. Membership on this record numbers 80 and preaching is once a month by W.D. Moore. Information from the 50 years following the dedication of the church building is minimal. W.D. Moore moved his ministry around Clinton and Highland counties from 1882 until his death in 1910. A newspaper dated April 13, 1898 reports an addition to the church. A 22' x 36' room with a baptistery under the floor and a cellar were built. This was to be the first of many additions and improvements to the congregation's home.
1898-1950 - A New Century brings growth In January 1907, Wynn Stout moved to New Vienna from Indianapolis to preach two Sundays per month for $58.33. The existing board met, reorganized and elected officers. After one year, Robert G. Shepherd replaced Brother Wynn at the pulpit. He also stayed one year, so in 1910 E.B. Buffington assumed the position of preacher. From 1913-1925, four more men would come to New Vienna: C.D. Poston, N. Conger, W.I. Burrell and R.L. Porter. It is unclear how many Sundays per month these men preached, but records indicate that on December 29, 1925 the board voted to employ Floyd Pence to preach two Sundays per month for $20 each day. In November 1929, Floyd H. Smith came to the church and stayed for 19 years. He preached two Sundays per month until the church employed him full time for a salary of $1,050 per year. In 1938, Brother Floyd planned and did much of the work on the second major addition to the building. This addition consisted of two Sunday school rooms and basement on the west side of the auditorium. A new furnace was also installed at this time. Dedication of the addition and the beginning of a one-week revival were celebrated on November 13, 1938. The church's continued growth was recorded by the "Always Faithful" class at the beginning of a two-week "Homecoming" on October 19, 1941 with an attendance of 198. Attendance during this revival ranged from 77 to over 250. The New Vienna Church of Christ has a long history of missionary programs and support. Church records from the 1940's list active missions in Tibet, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Mexico, Jamaica and Bible Colleges. This tradition of giving and continues to grow and is a large commitment of the church to the mission fields today. In late 1945, plans were made to begin the third addition to the church building. This included enlarging the basement and building a third classroom above it, and redecorating the interior of the main auditorium. While the church met in the schoolhouse, contractor Vaughn Huffman built the room over the enlarged basement, a stage, a built-in baptistery, covered the ceiling with acoustical tile, and installed new light fixtures in the auditorium and new stage. The project was completed in 1947. In September 1948, Kenneth Washburn began his ministry with the church. During this time, missionary support had grown to more than a dozen with the addition of locations such as South Africa. Once again, the church made improvements to the now 80(+)-year-old building. Doors were installed to separate the west classrooms from the auditorium, new front doors and aluminum awning added, inside toilets were installed, and the building was insulated and painted. At about the same time, a parsonage was purchased on East Main St (now 277 Bernard Rd).
1950-1990 - Change is good Changes kept coming to and through New Vienna with Hassell Justice in May 1953, followed by Walter Cruzan in 1955. Shortly after Brother Cruzan's arrival, a February 1956 windstorm toppled the chimney onto the roof requiring extensive repair and redecorating. While this was being done, the congregation once again met at the New Vienna Schoolhouse. Not long after, church officers began to feel the need to expand once again. With no more property to build upon, they purchased the adjoining lot and house of C.R. (Dick) and Gertrude Clark. After remodeling, the house was used for classrooms until 1964. At about this same time, the New Vienna Church of Christ began what is now the congregation's longest standing missionary support relationship. It was 1956 when Charles Troyer moved to Italy with his wife, Jessie, to spread the gospel there and began the Lecce Christian Mission. Following Brother Troyer's death in 1998, Jessie remained in Italy to continue working with the mission there. The work started by the Troyer's is continued n by Pino Neglia, a faithful Christian who came to the church as a result of Brother Troyer's work. The 1960's proved to be another fruitful decade beginning with the arrival and short stay of Ralph Carter, followed by Walter Messimer in 1960. Brother Messimer's son, Dennis, would go on to dedicate his life to the missionary field with the support of the New Vienna Church. Virgil Farringer would then come to New Vienna in July 1963, and would stay through the largest addition to the church building to date. In 1964, the church again decided it was time to build. The newest and largest addition would be a 100'x40' annex with 10 classrooms, a kitchen, and men's and women's restrooms. The four front classrooms divided with folding doors to allow for use as a large fellowship hall. A hallway was constructed to join the new annex to the church building. Walter Cruzan returned to give the dedication address for the completed building on November 29, 1964. Following the Farringer’s was Don Thomas in 1968. Brother Thomas stayed in New Vienna for 5 years, and followed by Jim Wright in 1973. During Brother Wright's ministry, the parsonage was insulated and covered with new siding, and the church building was painted. Bus Wiseman of Person to Person Evangelism would serve as interim minister as the church searched for a permanent replacement. That void would be filled when Marc Champion, of Paden city, West Virginia, came to New Vienna in January 1979. During his stay, the church building was updated with siding and a new roof. When Brother Champion left in 1986, Forrest Hahn was hired as full-time minister. Brother Hahn had come to serve as youth minister for the church in 1984 and would continue to serve in his new capacity until April 1990.
1990-2011 - Here we are... Sidney Clay came to serve at the New Vienna Church of Christ in 1990. His return to New Vienna was welcomed as he had previously preached at New Vienna's sister congregation, Mt. Olive Church of Christ. Since the spring of 1990, the auditorium has been redecorated with new paint, carpeting, lighting and sound system. A new garage was built at the parsonage in 1993 and both the church parking lot and parsonage drive were blacktopped in March 1994. The classrooms that were added to the west side of the auditorium in 1938 were painted, and the doors that were installed in the 50's were removed to open the auditorium. At the same time, The church offices, located in the 1898 addition, were remodeled. Later that same year, the Chaney property, located on the west side of the church, was purchased. The church kept the house located there as a rental property until 2009 when the youth began using it as classroom and recreation space. New entry doors were installed in late 1995, and a shelter house was built by the trustees and volunteers in 1996. Brad Clouse joined the church in October 2009 as Associate Minister. He worked alongside Brother Clay in that capacity before stepping into the pulpit full-time. In 2011, the New Vienna Church of Christ continues to support and preserve the same restoration principles that first brought W.D. Moore to new Vienna, and the founding members to organize the church in 1861. On July 17, 2011 the congregation the 150th anniversary of the church, many former members attended the celebration to remember their time growing up and attending in New Vienna. The morning service welcomed Milton Jones back to the pulpit with Dan Knisley sharing a message in the afternoon. We look forward to celebrating the 150 years since the 36 charter members first came together, and expect to continue growing and serving New Vienna for many years to come.