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April 11, 2008

Brazil church to celebrate 150 years

First meeting of First Christian Church in October 1867

BRAZIL — First Christian Church of Brazil will celebrate its 150th anniversary April 18 through April 20.

According to records found at the Clay County Historical Society, in 1858 an unknown number of believers settled in this very community before it was even established as Brazil. The group met for Bible study, prayer and fellowship. Their meetings were sporadic because of weather and work conditions. The first meeting of the First Christian Church was in October 1867 in a building formerly used by the New School Presbyterians, on the northwest corner of Jackson and Walnut Streets in Brazil. The church services were conducted by part-time preachers. Because of lack of continued meeting places, the church was disbanded in 1875.

In 1877, after the county seat was moved to Brazil from Bowling Green, the church was started again with 11 charter members: Mr. and Mrs. John L. Webster; Mrs. Arabelle Webster Kidd; Mrs. Benjamin F. Shattuck; Miss Anna Shattuck; Mr. Mattie Shattuck Robison; Mr. and Mrs. Henry Cutshall; Mr. and Mrs. R.L. Keith; and Mrs. Stukley Campbell.

The site for the congregation of the First Christian Church was at Washington and McDonald streets in a frame church building also used as a community center.

In 1880, the congregation was able to build a frame structure just south of its church at a cost of $8,000 and by 1900 it had outgrown this church and erected a fine brick church on the site of the old congregational building.

For five years. the membership enjoyed this lovely new church building, until Feb. 4,1905, when a fire consumed the building. Newspaper accounts led to the famous story of the “Bible that would not burn.” It seems during the fire the Bible on the pulpit fell through the floor into the basement. Debris fell on top, and after the fire was extinguished the Bible was found completely unharmed.

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