From the beginning in 1965
Nearly 60 years ago the Methodist Church Extension Society surveyed the area around Indianapolis to determine where new churches should be located. Ground was purchased by the Conference on the southwest corner of US 31 South and Stop 12 Road for the eventual building site for a new Methodist congregation. A farmer had owned the land and wanted a church built on it.
Bishop Richard C. Raines and three district superintendents interviewed the Rev. Robert and Mary Jim Hunt from Mississipppi in July of 1964 and wanted them to come immediately to lead in organizing a new congregation. The Hunts were able to come about a year later.
One of the first things Rev. Hunt did when he arrived in Indiana in June of 1965 was to erect a sign on the 6.8 acre site telling that a new Methodist Church was to be built there. He made a survey of the area with the help of members from nearby Methodist churches, knocking on doors and asking interested people in the neighborhood to attend coffees to hear more about how to start the church.
On August 29, 1965 a group of interested people met at Southport United Methodist Church to plan the first service and following activities.
The First Services
The first worship service of the new congregation was held September 19, 1965 at the Baxter Family YMCA. The largest room had to be used to accommodate the 126 people. Thirty seven children and workers were situated in other rooms. That day the name Christ Methodist Church was chosen by those attending the service.
Sundays at the Y were hectic. The men had to set up chairs before church and take them down after. Toys were carried to and from the child care rooms each week. People carried their chairs to the adult Sunday School classes in the gym. The classes had circles as far apart as possible. The adult classes began as different age groups.
The first call for members came in October 1965. Eighty-three adults and children joined on profession of faith or transfer. The charter membership was closed November 21, 1965 with a total of 115 members. Church activities started during the "Y" period. They were Sunday School, Senior and Junior High Methodist Youth Fellowship (MYF), Boy Scouts, Methodist Men's Club, WSCS, Choir and various committees.
Most meetings took place in homes except for Sunday mornings and times when the Y was rented for entire congregational meetings such as the Christmas Party.
Vacation Bible School was held in members' and their neighbors' garages.
The Start of Something New
The ground breaking for the new Christ Methodist Church took place April 16, 1967 and the cornerstone for the building was laid August 27, 1967. The first phase as planned by the Building Committee was the sanctuary (now Fellowship Hall) and Sunday School rooms. The building was consecrated by Bishop Raines on January 21, 1968 after members worked until 1:30 am laying tile, cleaning, and working on frozen water and sewer lines. The sanctuary overflowed with 425 members, their families and friends of the church.
The congregation grew rapidly and after starting a second worship service and placing Sunday School classes in the secretary's office, the pastor's study, the choir room, the shelter house, and even the parsonage, a second building phase was started. Ground breaking for it was May 1970 and included a kitchen area and an extension of the education wing to add ten classrooms.
The master plan from 1966 for Christ United Methodist Church called for a large formal sanctuary. The emphasis of having a separate Sunday School Hour and a strong adult Sunday School program required many classrooms. Plans were presented by the Future Planning Committee and passed by the Administrative Board in 1983. These plans included building the sanctuary, adding more classrooms, and a music room. remodeling the old sanctuary to make a Fellowship Hall, and developing an open courtyard.
The ground breaking took place in March 1987, and our first service was held in the new sanctuary November 29, 1987.
As with all the projects of the church, members contributed their talents and time. Several men worked daily with the construction group. Members planned the decorating and then did the painting and cleaning. Scouts readied the courtyard for the volunteers who did the landscaping. Nearly every day, evening and weekend members worked and enjoyed fellowship at the new building.
Nearly 60 Years Later
Nearly sixty years after opening its doors, Christ Indy UMC continues to serve out its mission to make disciples for Christ for the transformation of the world. Our community outreach is stronger, our service to those who need assistance has grown, our programming has strengthened and as years have gone on, the building has changed, times have changed, and people have changed, but God is still the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. The next sixty years we will continue to serve our God and His people to the very best of our ability.
The Stained Glass Windows
The Trinity was an easy selection for the building committee to choose for the three windows in the new sanctuary. Different stained glass company artists submitted drawings. The Louisville Art Glass Company was chosen to do the windows. The artist combined the ideas of the committee with his own to give Christ United Methodist Church its original windows.
The window at the front of the sanctuary is the "God, the Father" window. The hands are the symbol of creation with water flowing down representing the constant creative flow from God. Objects of creation are scattered in the background. God's Word, the Bible is inscribed with Alpha and Omega, the Beginning to the End.
The second window is the "Jesus, the Son" window. The cross tells us that God in His love for us, sacrificed His Son and forgave us. The lamb under the cross represents Jesus as the Sacrificial Lamb. The lamb also is to remind us that Jesus is the Good Shepherd that leads us in the living of life.
The third window is "The Holy Spirit" window. The Holy Spirit is represented by the Dove descending from Heaven onto the Believers. The little flames or little tongues of fire represent God's Spirit in us, empowering and strengthening us to be productive for Him
Honoring Those Who Have Served Christ Indy UMC
Senior Pastors Serving
The Rev. Robert Hunt June 1965-March 1974
The Rev Keith Carlile April 1974-October 1976
The Rev. James McKinney October 1976-June 1980
The Rev. Leon Nicholson June 1980-June 1997
The Rev. Charles Berdel June 1997 - February 2004
Interim Pastors Serving February 2004-June 2004
The Rev. David Lee July 2004-December 2022
The Rev. Dr. Cindy Reynolds, Interim January 2023-June 2023
The Rev. Sharon Williams July 2023 - Present
Associate Pastors Serving
The Rev. Jeff Trees 1973-1976
The Rev. James Duncan 1976
The Rev. Jim Truelove 1981-1983
The Rev. Fred Cain 1983-1985
Brenda Lindley, CTS Student 1985-1986
Brenda Cox, CTS Student 1986
The Rev. Bruce Bendinger 1986-1988
The Rev. Larry Martineau 1988-1991
The Rev. Theodore Cutrell 1991-2015
The Rev. Dennis Lawrence 2017 - Present