First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Marietta celebrates anniversary Sunday

For the 69th anniversary of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Marietta, Minister Emeritus the Rev. Dr. Hal Doster will return to preach. The special worship service begins at 11 a.m., Sunday, April 15, at 569 Frasier Street in Marietta.

Doster’s sermon is entitled, “Core Values,” and will be followed by a fellowship luncheon.

Sixty-nine years ago, a tiny notice, less than one column inch, jammed inconspicuously into the dense classified ads in the Marietta Daily Journal, read simply, “If you are a member of the Christian Church or are interested in organizing a Christian Church in Marietta, call Mrs. Thomas Hill.” It was November 1948.

Several people responded to the advertisement and articles that followed, including R. T. “Toy” Moon, destined to become a strong leader in the new congregation. The small group moved the St. Timothy Episcopal Church from Kirkwood, Georgia, to Frasier and Fairground, in pieces. They reassembled it, changed its denomination and held a formal dedication service in the small sanctuary on April 3, 1949, the official birthday of the church.

A new, larger sanctuary was begun in 1961 and dedicated on May 5, 1963. The educational wing was begun in 1971, and dedicated in the spring of 1976, under the leadership of Rev. John Lee, (1969-1981). Under the ministry of Rev. Dr. Hal Doster (1990-1996), the church helped birth a new Disciples Korean congregation. On July 5, 1990, the Christian Women’s Fellowship of the church, under the leadership of Anita Farris and Marge Rose, started the Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry, which became a major provider of food assistance to the disadvantaged in Marietta.

Under the ministry of Rev. Dr. Jerry Gladson (1997-2007), the church began a total refurbishing of the sanctuary and dedicated it in January 2004. Rev. Gladson also founded an academic-style Bible study called “Conversations.” Under Rev. Gladson’s leadership, First Christian Church sponsored at least nine ministers to ordination or commissioning, a worship band, Soulfire, and a thriving ministry in addiction recovery.

During and following Rev. Jerry Gladson’s tenure at First Christian Church, the food pantry continued growing its ministry. Sherwood Smith was appointed director of the then renamed, Disciples Mission Food Pantry, which served during the difficult times following 9-11, Hurricane Katrina, and various economic downturns. In 2017, Disciples Mission Food Pantry distributed 414,239 pounds of food to 5,600 families in Cobb County.

First Christian Church called Rev. Wilma Zalabak as its newest senior minister in January 2018. First Christian Church is continuing its legacy of nurturing other local churches, and currently four different churches worship and host various meetings in the facilities at Fairground and Frasier.

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