Tyrrell Historical Library, Beaumont Public Library System

Finding Aid for the First Christian Church of Beaumont Records, 1903-2013

Descriptive Summary

Creator: First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Title: First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Records
Dates: 1903-2013
Abstract: Founded in 1894, the First Christian Church is a congregation for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) denomination. The records of the church include directories, committee minutes, papers on church doctrine, photographs, facility records, worship bulletins, records of Camp Wildurr, records of its Sunday School classes, treasurer's reports, and special anniversary and dedication programs.
Identification: AC-632
Extent: 19 boxes
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Tyrrell Historical Library, Beaumont Public Libraries,  695 Pearl St,  Beaumont, TX 77701

Historical Note

The First Christian Church in Beaumont, Texas, began in September 1894, when local area members of the Christian Church invited the State Evangelist, J. A. Bush of Dallas, to preach in Beaumont. The meeting was first held in the Temperance Hall on Pearl Street, but had such a high rate of attendance that it finished in the Fireman's Hall. The meeting lasted for two weeks, and by the end, twenty-six members were added to the fledgling church. Brother Lanehart agreed to preach once a month, and the Sunday School was also organized at this time. Lanehart served for about a year, and was replaced in 1896 by Elder LeMay.

The church held several revival meetings in the 1890s, gradually increasing its membership. It had used the city auditorium for its worship services, but soon found the need for a space of its own. In 1899, S. H. Van Wormer donated land on the corner of Wall and Jefferson Streets to the congregation. The Episcopal Church donated a frame building that was moved to this site, and so by 1900, the Christian Church had its first dedicated church building. This building served the church well for a few years, but the population boom in Beaumont, caused by the Spindletop oil rush, soon created a need for a larger church.

The Ladies Aid of First Christian raised a great deal of money for this purpose. They sold butcher aprons and baked goods, and held a special "industrial pageant" in Magnolia Park, which honored Beaumont's industrial and commercial ventures. Between the money raised by the Ladies Aid and the sale of the original plot of land at Wall and Jefferson, the church raised enough funds to purchase a lot at the corner of Magnolia and North. The new church building, which cost $25,000, was dedicated on June 1, 1905.

The church continued to grow, and established several missions across Beaumont, including the Ector Avenue Mission and the Park Street Church, which later became the Washington Boulevard Christian Church. In 1916, First Christian sent its first "Living Link Missionary", Miss Cammie Gray, to China. The church supported her work abroad until her retirement in 1956.

In 1953, First Christian played an important role in the establishment of Northwood Christian Church in Beaumont, as thirty-five First Christian members transferred their membership to Northwood to serve as a nucleus for the new congregation.

First Christian built a camp for youth, Camp Wildurr, in 1955. Built on 50 acres of land, the camp had a main lodge, ten screened cabins for campers, two concrete bath houses, a caretakers house, and facilities for outdoor games. The camp was dedicated on May 31, 1956, and was widely used the first summer. In 1959, the Camp was sold to Districts 12 and 13 of the Texas Association of Christian Churches. The Camp continued to be used by religious and civic groups until 1987, when it was sold to the Beaumont Independent School District in 1987 for use as an outdoor education center.

By 1957, First Christian recognized the need to build a new church in another location in Beaumont. Parking was scarce at its Magnolia and North location, and the area had become more commercial in nature. Thus, the church purchased 21 acres in the Perlstein Addition in Caldwood. The church later sold four acres, leaving it with seventeen acres. On April 23, 1961, the last service was held in the Magnolia-North church building. While construction on the new building was underway, the church met for worship in East Caldwood Elementary School. The new church was dedicated on August 5, 1962.

In 1968, Glenn F. Moore became pastor of First Christian. He remained at First Christian for thirty years, becoming its longest-serving pastor. In 1974, the Church offered a building on its ground for use by Alcoholics Anonymous. This ministry continues today.

In 2004, Brenda Warren became First Christian's first female pastor. The church has had nineteen pastors in its almost 120-year history.

Scope and Content Note

The First Christian Church Records hold administrative and historical records of the church from approximately the early 1900s to 2013. Since the 1960s, the Church emphasized recording its own history, so there are multiple volumes of yearly histories of the church. These are especially valuable because they were written contemporaneously, by people who witnessed the events of a particular year and could ensure the accuracy of their histories. The Church has also produced several histories in honor of its anniversaries, which provide a long-term view of the Church's past.

The collection includes minutes of the church's Board of Trustees and financial papers. It also contains papers regarding the various church buildings used by the church, including their construction, renovations, and other special work projects performed on the buildings. The collection holds yearbooks from the Christian Women Fellowship, from the late 1940s to today. It also includes some minutes from the CWF, and from its predecessor, the Ladies Aid Society.

In 1916, the church began to support Cammie Gray, a "Living Link" missionary to China. It continued to support her until her retirement from missions work; then remained in touch with her until her death. The collections holds correspondence from Gray and her adopted daughter, Joy Ruth; photographs of their family, and correspondence and news bulletins from the Missionary Society regarding the safety of missionaries in China at the time of its Communist Revolution in 1949. It also includes a photocopy of Gray's published book, By Way of India: A Travel Journal, which was published in 1947 by the United Christian Missionary Society. This book describes Gray's journey from China to the United States in 1945, and goes into particular detail on her time spent in India while waiting for a ship transport back to the U.S. Gray visited multiple missionary stations across India and described her impressions and experiences in this book. It provides a limited, but unique, glimpse of India at the cusp of its independence, from the perspective of a Christian missionary.

The records also include minutes and photographs of its preschool program, along with records from its Sunday School classes. It contains photograph albums depicting Camp Wildurr, and some photographs and papers of the choir and music program in the 1950s, including records of the purchase of an organ for the church. Finally, the collection includes the study notes compiled by its pastor, Glenn Moore, during his time at Brite College of the Bible in the 1950s.


Organization of Collection

This collection is organized into 13 series.
Church Histories
Glenn Moore Collection, 1950s
Board of Trustees, 1907-2003
Buildings and Grounds, 1950-2012
Worship Bulletins and Messengers, 1916-2010
Camp Wildurr and Youth, 1930-1984
Anniversaries and Special Programs, 1954-2004
Christian Woman's Fellowship and Christian Woman's Board of Missions, 1914-1993
Financial Reports, 1910-1996
Ministers of First Christian Church, 1905-2013
Outreach and Missions; Music Program, 1950s
Sunday School and Vacation Bible School


Access Restrictions

Some restrictions may apply.


The Tyrrell Historical Library holds copyright, with the exception of published items. Coypright for these items is retained by their respective publishers. The researcher must secure permission to publish. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to the Tyrrell Historical Library. The researcher assumes full responsibility for complying with copyright, literary property rights, and libel laws.

Index Terms

Personal Names
Gray, Cammie, 1891-1965
Church of God Global Missions
First Christian Church (Beaumont, Tex.)
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Religious life
Beaumont (Tex.)
Ledgers (account books)
Magazines (periodicals)

Related Material

First Baptist Church of Beaumont Records, 1876-2013, AC-630

Westminster Presbyterian Church Records, 1990-2011, AC-606

Separated Material


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Item], [folder], [box], First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Beaumont, 1903-2013, AC-632, Tyrrell Historical Library, Beaumont, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Donated by the Board of Trustees of First Christian Church in 2013 July.

Processing Information

Processed by Tyrrell Historical Library staff, 2013 July.

Finding aid written and encoded by Tyrrell Historical Library staff, 2013 August.


Further accruals are expected.

Detailed Description of the Collection


Church Histories, 1918-2012

This series contains church histories written by members of First Christian Church. It includes several histories written on the occasion of special anniversaries. After the church's 75th anniversary, the congregation decided to write yearly histories of the church. These yearly histories give great detail into the church's activities.
Box Folder
2 1 Unknown Recollections
2 Beaumont Enterprise/Journal articles, 1918-1920
3 48 Year History, 1942
4 75 Year History, 1969
5 Church History, 1969-1972
6 Church History, 1975-1982
7 Church History, 1977-1978
8 Church History, 1982-1992
9 90 Year History Personal Notes, 1984
10 Religious History of Beaumont newspaper insert, 1984
11 Church History, 1992
12 Church History, 1993
13 Church History, 1994
14 Texas Historical Marker Request, 1994
15 100 Year History, 1994
16-18 Church History, 1995
19-21 Church History, 1996 July - 1997 June
22 Church History, 2005 July - 2006 July
23 Church History, 2006-2007
24 Church History, 2007 July - 2008 June
25 Church History, 2012
Box Folder
2B 1 History of First Christian Church, 1894-1969
2 Scrapbook of newspaper clippings, 1962-1981
3 Scrapbook of historical items, 1950s-1977


Glenn Moore Collection, 1950s

This series holds study notebooks created by Glenn Moore during his studies at the Brite College of the Bible (today, the Brite Divinity School) at Texas Christian University in the 1950s. The subjects of the notebooks include, among others, Christian Ministry, Christian History, Comparative Religions; Prophets and Psalms; Sociology; Contemporary American Theology; The Teachings of Jesus; and Introduction to the New Testament. They also include issues of Christian magazines, including Hearthstone (1956 November – 1957 November) and The Bethany Guide (1960 January – December; 1956 February – 1958 December; and 1962 January – December).
3A 15 bound study books, 1950s
3B 6 bound study books, 1950s


Board of Trustees, 1907-2003

This series holds minutes of the Board of Trustees from 1907-2003. It also includes the church's bylaws from 1913.
Box Folder
4 1 Board Minutes, 1899
Board Minutes Ledger, 1907-1908
Board Minutes Ledger, 1909-1912
Board Minutes Ledger, 1912-1915
2 Board Minutes, 1916
3 Board Minutes, 1917
4 Board Minutes, 1918
5 Board Minutes, 1919
6 Board Minutes, 1921
7 Board Minutes, 1925
8 Board Minutes, 1926
9 Board Minutes, 1936
10 Board Minutes, 1937
11 Board Minutes, 1938
12 Board Minutes, 1939
13 Board Minutes, 1940
14 Board Minutes, 1941
Board Minutes (ledger), 1943-1949
Board Minutes (ledger), 1944-1946
Box Folder
11 15 Board Minutes, 1945
Box Folder
4 16 Board Minutes, 1946
17 Board Minutes, 1947
18 Board Minutes, 1948
19 Board Minutes, 1969
20 Board Minutes, 1970
21 Board Minutes, 1971
Board Minutes (ledger), 1974-1975
22 Board Minutes, 1993
23 Board Minutes, 1994
24 Board Minutes, 1995
25 Board Minutes, 1996
26 Board Minutes, 1997
27 Board Minutes, 1998
28 Board Minutes, 1999
29 Board Minutes, 2000
30 Board Minutes, 2001
31 Board Minutes, 2002
32 Board Minutes, 2003
33 Miscellaneous Board Minutes, undated
34 Bylaws, 1913
35 Board Minutes, 1913


Buildings and Grounds, 1950-2012

This series holds papers related to the construction and maintenance of First Christian's buildings, including its churches on Wall Street, North and Magnolia, and Caldwood Street. It also contains papers related to other churches in Southeast Texas, including the first Disciples of Christ church in Galveston; the Northwood Christian Church; the Washington Boulevard Christian Church; and the Ector Avenue Christian Church.
Box Folder
5 1 Area-Wide Churches
2 Galveston, first church
3 Northwood Christian Church
4 Washington Boulevard Christian Church photos
5 Washington Boulevard Christian Church
6 Ector Avenue Christian Church
7 Magnolia - North Church
8 Photo of Fellowship Hall at Magnolia - North Church
9 Roof Repair Insurance, 1950
10 Annex construction photos, 1951
11 Wall Street church
12 North Street church
13 North Caldwood church
14 Building Fund Receipts and Disbursements, 1941
15 Parsonage in Averill Addition, 2505 Louisiana
16 Notes from First National Bank
17 Gulf Coast Christian Conference
18 Building Loan, Board of Church Extension, 1941-1953
19 Building Fund Campaign, 1960
20 Building Fund Campaign, 1971-1972
21 Thad Dederick Construction - Electrical/Mechanical Work
22 Honeywell Maintenance Proposal, 1966
23 Church Building Fund Proposals, 1970
24 Visual and Creative Arts Ministry of Donna Ware
25 Stained Glass
26 "Shopping Guide" article on addition to Church, 1972
27 Air conditioning maintenance - C & C Electric, 1966
28 Letter from Alex and James Broussard families regarding the church building campaign, 1960
29 Article on the start of construction, Beaumont Enterprise, 1961
30 Building Committee Plans on Conversion of Fellowship Hall, 1971
31 Photos of Caldwood Church
32 Handicapped Accessibility Renovations
33-35 Meditation Walk (3 folders)
36 Kitchen Renovation, 2012


Worship Bulletins and Messengers, 1916-2010

This series holds hymnbooks and worship bulletins from First Christian. It gives a comprehensive view of the weekly activities of the church, and of its worship services.
Box Folder
6 1 Jubilant July Hymnbooks
2 Messenger, 1916-1949
3 Messenger, 1950-1952
4 Messenger, 1953-1955
5 Messenger, 1956-1959
6 Messenger, 1960s
7 Messenger, 1970s
8 Messenger, 1980s
9 Messenger, 1990s
10 Messenger, 1998-1999
11 Messenger, 2000-2002
12 Messenger, 2005
13 Messenger, 2006-2010
14 Calendar of Events


Camp Wildurr and Youth, 1930-1984

First Christian Church constructed Camp Wildurr in 1956 to address the lack of camping facilities for the youth of Beaumont. The Camp was sold to Districts 12 and 13 of the Texas Association of Christian Churches in 1959. The Camp continued to be used by religious and civic groups until 1987, when it was sold to the Beaumont Independent School District in 1987 for use as an outdoor education center. This series contains photographs and scrapbooks of the Camp when it first opened, and various publicity records describing its opening, including newspaper articles. It also holds miscellaneous photographs and papers related to the youth activities of the church.
7 Scrapbook of Pam Green Foster and Tom Rugg, 1984
Scrapbook, "C. E. & Boy Scout," 1930-1939
1 Camp Wildurr Open House, 1956
2 Youth Camp
3 Adult Conference Centerpoint, 1951 June 22
4 Youth Camps and Conferences
5 Christian Endeavor, 1914-1918
6 State Youth Convention, 1946
7 Group Photo, 1960s


Anniversaries and Special Programs, 1954-2004

This series includes papers related to First Christian Church's celebrations of milestone anniversaries, including its 60th, 75th, 90th, 100th, and 110th anniversaries. Papers from other special programs and events, such as ground breakings and building dedications, are also held in this series.
Box Folder
8 1 110th Anniversary, 2004
2 100th Anniversary, 1994
3 90th Anniversary, 1984
4 75th Anniversary, 1969
5 60th Anniversary, 1954
6 Advent and Christmas
7 Celebrations
8 Ground Breakings
9 Lenten Series
10 Dedications


Christian Woman's Fellowship and Christian Woman's Board of Missions, 1914-1993

First Christian has long had an active organization for the women of its congregation. First known as the Ladies Aid Society, the group later called itself the Christian Woman's Fellowship (CWF). This series holds yearbooks and reports of the CWF, and of the national organization Christian Woman's Board of Missions. The Sagers, a group of women dedicated to service through activities such as sewing, knitting baby blankets, and rolling bandages, also served energetically at First Christian Church. Additionally, the series holds a few items from the Ladies Aid Societies of other congregations, including the Washington Boulevard Christian Church and the Ector Avenue Christian Church.
Box Folder
9 1 Undated Reports
2 Annual Report, 1914 October 1 - 1915 October 1
3 Report, 1916
4 Report, 1917
5 Report, 1918
6 Ladies Aid Society Reports,
7 Report of Ladies Aid of Ector Avenue Christian Church, 1916-1917
8 Ladies Aid Society Report, February of unknown year
9 Report of Treasurer of CWBM, September of unknown year
10 Missionary Fund Report, undated
11 CWBM Minutes, September of unknown year
12 Program from Women's Retreat, undated
13 Newspaper articles on women's groups
14 Texas and American Christian Missionary Societies
15 CWF Minutes, 1948
16 CWF Secretary Minutes, 1948-1952
17 CWF Papers, 1999-2004
18 Financial / Membership Report, undated
19 Photograph of CWF Circle, 1949, 1960s
20 Women's Council Yearbooks, 1949-1958
CWF Minutes, 1949-1950
CWF Minutes, 1962-1981
CWF Minutes, 1970-1974
24 Minutes
Box Folder
13 21 Christian Woman's Fellowship Yearbooks, 1959-1961; 1972-1974
22 Christian Woman's Fellowship Yearbooks, 1961-1971
23 Christian Woman's Fellowship Yearbooks, 1972-1981
24 Christian Woman's Fellowship Yearbooks, 1981-1985; 1995-2000
25 Christian Woman's Fellowship Yearbooks, 2000-2001, 2008-2009, 2011-2012, 2012-2013


Financial Reports, 1910-1996

Box Folder
10A 1 Finance Records, undated
2 Financial Report, 1914 April 6
3 Financial Reports, 1915
4 Financial Reports, 1916
5 Financial Reports, 1917
6 Financial Reports, 1918
7 Financial Reports, 1919
8 Various Reports, 1910-1920
9 Financial Reports, 1925
10 Financial Reports, 1926
11 Treasurer's Reports, 1939
12 Treasurer's Report, 1940 January and April
13 Finance Records, 1941
14 Insurance, 1942-1958
15 Finance Reports, 1946
16 Stewardship Campaign, 1947
17 Board Meeting, 1947
18 Finance Reports, 1946-1948
19 Stewardship Needs for 1956-1957
20 Stewardship & Finance Committee, 1964-1966
21 Stewardship & Finance Committee, 1966-1967
22 Stewardship, 1968
23 Audit Report of Examination, 1969-19790
24 Foundation, 1990
25 Finance Records, 1994-1996
Financial ledger, 1994
Lamar Bank Account Records (book), 1996
Box Folder
10B 1 Ledger book, 1914-1915
2 Ledger book, 1916-1917
3 Ledger book, 1918-1919
Box Folder
10A 4 Ledger book, 1954-1955


Ministers and Staff of First Christian Church, 1905-2013

This series holds papers of the ministers and staff of First Christian Church. The files are arranged in alphabetical order by last name.
Box Folder
11 1 Ellis S. Baker, Minister Emeritus, 1958 February 23
2 Roy Biser, 1937-1947
3 Carter E. Boren, Interim
4 W. O. Dallas, Associate Minister, 1905-1908
5 E. A. Ewell, 1910-1914
6 Roy Daniels, Associate Minister, 1954
7 H. R. Ford, 1915-1917
8 P. F. Herndon, 1918-1925
9 J. B. Holmes, 1904-1908
10 W. W. Jones, 1948-1956
11 Curtis Keith
12 Donald C. McCallum, 1918
13 Tom Minyard, 1925-1936
14 Glenn F. Moore, 1968-1998
15 Keith Pierce, Minister of Education, 1976
16 Laura Savage-Rains
17 Kenneth Thorne, 1957-1967
18 Brenda Warren, 2004-2013
19 G. M. "Mike" Weinman, 1998-2002
20 Mary Workman, 1982-1994
21 Minister Candidates
Church Guest Register, 1943-1952


Outreach and Missions; Music Program, 1950s

First Christian Church sponsored Cammie Gray, a missionary to China, for approximately thirty years. This seris holds photographs of Gray, and letters she sent to church members describing her work. It also includes papes of other missionaries sponsored by the church. First Christian also had an active music program, with a large choir. The series holds photographs of the choir, and contracts from the church's purchase of an organ.
Box Folder
13 1 Choir and organ purchase
2 Organ purchase and piano contract, Magnolia and North Church
3 Music Directors
4 History of Christian Church
5 Green Team Mickwick
6 Margaret Shaw, Missionary to Africa
7 Zena May Standifer, Missionary
8 Missions Publicity
9 Photographs of Cammie Gray and Family
10 Description and Photograph of Women's Missionary Society Quilt
11 Good Friday Worship Service Program
12 Other Missionary Correspondence
13 Letters from Cammie Gray
14 Photocopies of missionary letters sent to Mrs. A. D. Brown by Cammie Gray (Originals in folder 13)
15 World Call Magazine, 1950, 1954; The Christian Evangelist, 1957; Front Rank, 1954; American Churchmen Visit the Soviet Union, 1956
16 The Christian Evangelist, 1955; Front Rank, 1957
17 Photographs of Cammie Gray
18 Letter from Cammie Gray to Nan Blanchette, describing China, 1950 April 21
19-20 Cammie Gray Papers, including By Way of India: A Travel Journal (2 folders)


Sunday School and Vacation Bible School

This series contains papers created by First Christian's Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. These records hold scrapbooks, photo albums, membership lists, and yearbooks for several different Sunday School classes. The classes include the Preschool, the Sagers, the Agape Class, the "Mr. and Mrs." Class, the Men's Bible Class, the Stuart Class, the Shirgley Class, the Triple L Class, and the Koinonia Class. Records from the Vacation Bible School include photographs and an album documenting the church's special program, "Marketplace 29 A.D.," which sought to teach children what life was like in Israel during Jesus' lifetime.
Box Folder
12 1 Photo album of the Sagers[?] and the Agape Campbell Disciples, 1970s-1990s
2 Youth Group Photo Album, 1990s
3 Nursery Mothers Club Scrapbook, 1938-1940s
Box Folder
14 1 Preschool Minutes, 1986-1991
2 Minutes of the Preschool, 1983 September - 1986 July
3 "Primary Lesson Stories," 1930s
4 Preschool Photos, 1970s
5 Preschool Photos, 1970s
6 Preschool Photos, 1980s
7 Preschool Photos, 1980s
8 Preschool Photos, 1980s
9 Snow Day at Preschool Photos, 1984 December or 1985 January
Box Folder
15A 1 Scrapbook, Young Adult Class, 1957-1958
2 Sagers papers, yearbooks, photographs
3 Agape Class papers
4 Golden Circle papers
5 Koinonia Sunday Schooll Class photo, 1963
6 The Model Sunday School Record, 1904-1905; 1902-1903
7 Mr. and Mrs. Class papers and photographs, 1960s
8 Stuart Class papers and yearbooks, 1976-2002
9 Men's Bible Class photographs, newsletters, 1920s
10 Shirgley Class papers and photographs, 1910s-1940s
11 Triple L Class papers, 1907-1970s
12 Triple L Class scrapbook, 1907-1972
Box Folder
15B 1 Photo of Mr. and Mrs. Class, 1960s
Box Folder
15A 2 Stuart Class Love Offerings, 2004-2005
3 Loose page of scrapbook, with newspaper clippings from 1947
4 Sagers scrapbook, 1955-1965
5 Rolled photos: Men's Bible Class, with old parsonage and pastor's auto in background, 1923; Men's Bible Class, 1924; Men's Bible Class, 192[?]
Box Folder
16 1 Bethel Series Educational Materials
2 Educational Materials, 1960s
3 General Church Photo Album, 1980s
4 Carl Leatherwood Photo Album, 1957
5 Vacation Bible School Photos, 1950s
6 "Marketplace 29 AD" Photo Album, 1990 July