About Our Church
Our denomination, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), first developed around 200 years ago on the American frontier. Our practices and teachings have been historically shaped by those roots. At Central Christian Church we strive to be true to the description of our denomination by an early church leader: “In faith, unity; in opinions, liberty; in all things, love.” Additionally, as is typical with Christian Churches, we are congregationally independent, democratically governed and non-hierarchal.
Our local community first began meeting in downtown Austin in 1847, making us one of the oldest church congregations here. Our building, which we have used now for over 80 years, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a widely recognized example of the “Eclectic” or “Beaux Arts” movement of the 1920’s. It’s interior is similar to that of the medieval cathedral of St. Miniato in Florence, Italy, while the exterior is suggestive of our Spanish Colonial history.
Join us for Sunday School for various ages at 9:45 am and our services at 11:00 am. A nursery is provided for ages 0 to 5 years. After the Sunday worship service, we gather in the community room for refreshments and a time of fellowship.
To be a Christ-centered church that supports family, community, and global transformation through worship, education, and outreach.
Central Christian Church supports all people in their journey to explore, expand and experience their truth with God to better connect with Christ and others.
In 1847, eight years after the City of Austin was platted, ten members of the Disciples of Christ Brotherhood met to organize this congregation. Although early records of the church are scarce, it is known that the early congregation met in a log cabin near what is now 6th Street and Congress Avenue and that regular worship services were being held in a local school building by 1852.
The Christian Church of Austin, as the congregation was originally known, acquired its first property at Eighth and Colorado and worshiped at that site until moving to its current location in 1929. An early dispute over theological and procedural matters split the congregation in 1888. Until 1896, when the Rev.S .D. Dutcher was appointed pastor, leaders of the church were selected from among the laity.
The fellowship adopted its current name during the early years of the twentieth century, after other Disciples of Christ congregations had been organized in Austin.
The building you see today was built in1929 and was designed by co-architects, church member Robert Leon White, chairman of the Department of Architecture at the University of Texas and Samuel Charles Phelps Vosper. The Central Christian Church built in 1928-29 in Austin represents the Romanesque Revival in overall style, planned through the Beaux-Arts architectural approach to eclectic historicism. The interior of the Sanctuary is similar to the Basilica San Miniato Al Monte in Florence, Italy with its repetitive arches, column spacing, painted trusses and semi dome over the choir and baptistery.
The congregation saw significant growth during the ministry of Rev. Dr. Sadler between 1936 and 1941 but reached its peak membership during the 28 years of leadership under Rev. Dr. John Barclay from 1941 through 1969. Dr. Barclay represented Protestants by giving the prayer at John F. Kennedy’s presidential inauguration in 1961. President Lyndon B. Johnson was a member and attended Central Christian while serving as a U.S. Senator.
After 1960, this corner of downtown Austin hosted a new trend of deterioration of urban fabric, growth of nearby businesses and county and state government facilities, and movement of residential occupants away from the city center. The Central Christian congregation occasionally considered following residents to the suburbs, but on each occasion renewed its commitment to the downtown facility. Fortunately, their pride in the building resulted in the preservation of the beauty and integrity of this urban landmark. Although much growth has occurred in the outlying sections of the city, Central Christian Church has remained a vital force in the downtown area. Its ministry has included the establishment of several other congregations. As one of the oldest churches in Austin, Central Christian has provided the city with significant service and leadership.
In 1985, the building was entered onto the Texas State Historical Commission list of historical places, and in 1992 was listed on the National Register of Historical Places.
In 2010, a major restoration project was conducted on the church building, bringing back the beauty the original designers had envisioned and providing protection to the structure for many years to come.
Who are the Disciples?
Central Christian Church in Austin, Texas is part of the denomination known as the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Regionally, we are part of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and, more locally, the Bluebonnet Area.
In our church the open and welcoming Lord’s table is central to who we are. As part of every Sunday Worship Service, Communion (also known as the Lord’s Supper) is served. All Christians, regardless of membership, affiliation, denomination, or particular theological belief are welcome at the table.
In all matters of Bible interpretation, religious thought and theological concept, our members are accorded the freedom of private interpretation and the right to individual thought and judgment. No attempt is made to impose a set of formulated doctrines or traditional interpretations of religious thoughts on any member. Jesus Christ is our only standard and pattern. Personal, individual responsibility and mission is emphasized. Because of this position, people of varying shades of religious thought and theological viewpoints may be found within the family of Disciples of Christ.