SIDNEY — The church currently known as Connection Point First Church of God, formerly known as Sidney First Church of God, traces its beginnings to 75 years ago when a group of believers planned to resurrect a formerly failed church. The church tried to gain ground in 1925, but it was eventually disbanded in 1926 because of economic depression.
Most of the congregation left to attend church in Piqua. Others met in private homes.
The early years
The founding members of the new church, Laco Webb, Beulah Gibson, Eddie Gibson, Nancy Duncum and Edward Burklo agreed to meet in the home of Frank Fosnight starting in 1944. The membership grew and, eventually, a small group began a building fund and raised $900.
The growing group decided to rent the International Order of Old Fellows (IOOF) Hall at 113 S. Main Ave. There were 44 attending. The pastor was the Rev. L.R. Worden from Indiana. The church counts this as their beginning.
On March 12, 1945, the congregation purchased a house at 421 N. West Ave. In order to use the building for church services, the house was renovated by volunteers from the church.
Worden continued in the pastorate until June 1947.
From August 1947 to July 1949, the Rev. Walter Evans Jr. pastored the growing congregation. He was followed by the Rev. Kenneth Davey who served from July 1949-early 1955. The Rev. C.W. Hawkins followed serving from 1955-1957.
The congregation continued to grow and bought a neighboring house to serve as the parsonage. There were also two apartments available to rent.
Birth of the current church
In February 1958, the Rev. W. Clay Arnold became pastor, and the very first capital campaign was begun. A 2 ½ acre tract of land was purchased at the current site of the church, 1510 Campbell Road.
Following approval of plans for the new building in 1963, a building campaign was begun.
The Rev. George K. White accepted the pastorate but passed away from a heart attack less than a year later. His wife, Artie White, participated in the groundbreaking at the Campbell Road site later that year.
The Reve. William Livingston took the pulpit in October 1965 and left a year later because of serious illness. In June of that year, the new building was dedicated.
From December 1966 to August 1969, the Rev. Ted Harrison pastored, and a new parsonage was purchased at Robert Place.
From November 1969 to May 1984, the Rev. Wayne Bowles pastored. Throughout his 14 ½ years of service, Bowles led the church through growth of the church and an expansion of the building.
The modern church
The Rev. Ben Davis pastored 1985-2002. During his tenure, there were many salvations and giving was over budget. The church had active men and women’s groups and the children and youth ministries grew.
In 2000, another building campaign began to build the current sanctuary and offices. The groundbreaking was in 2001.
Pastor Davis became ill and passed away soon after the dedication in May of 2002.
In 2003, Pastor Steve Carney came to Sidney to serve the grieving congregation. Carney served the church until 2008.
Pastors Vernon Maddox, Vern Allison and interim pastor Jerry Reynolds filled the pulpit until Pastor Alan Leach was hired in 2014.
Under Leach, the church changed its name to Connection Point and updated the interior.
A celebration will be held on April 28 at the church.
“The church will be hosting a breakfast at 9 a.m. to encourage current and past members to fellowship together. The service will begin at 10:15 a.m. with special music from various time frames in the church history. Music will include a medley of hymns, praise music and contemporary music played by our band.
“We will also have special music from members of our congregation and the Davis family (deceased Pastor Ben Davis’ family). Another highlight of the morning will be a video presentation of the history of our church with greetings from former pastors. I will briefly share about Continuing the Legacy that those before us have left. He will be encouraging the church to remember the past but focus on the present and the future: How can we reach our community,” said Leach.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.