CHARLESTOWN, CLARK CO., INDIANA -- There was a special celebration of the 200th anniversary of the organization of the first Protestant church in the State of Indiana on November 22, 1998 at Stony Point Christian Church in Charlestown. Representatives of more than a dozen different congregations were present to celebrate this auspicious occasion.
Gov. Frank O'Bannon issued a Proclamation recognizing the day as "Stony Point Christian Church's Bicentennial Anniversary Celebration Day."
Two hundred years ago, four people who had recently migrated to Southern Indiana from New Jersey, banded together to worship their faith and, with the assistance of a Baptist minister from Kentucky, organized the first Protestant Church in the Northwest Territory.
Over the next few decades, the little pioneer congregation at Silver Creek became "the leading church of all denominations in Clark and adjoining counties, and also was the mother church of many churches in other neighborhoods and adjoining counties."(1)
In 1829, the majority of the congregation of the Silver Creek Baptist Church opted to abandon the Baptist Articles of Faith and became a "Christian" Church. They built a new meeting house closer to Charlestown in 1858 and, today, that congregation is known as Stony Point Christian Church.
The congregation of Stony Point Christian Church hosted a celebration of this auspicious occasion on November 22, 1998, with a special afternoon service, a gospel concert by Mike McCoskey and a reception. Guest speaker Bob Kelly, a former Stony Point minister, now Senior Minister of Hillview Christian Church in Marengo, Indiana, spoke on the impact of the 19th Century Restoration Movement on religious history in the Hoosier State and the future of Christian churches.
An extensive commemorative church history -- including more than a century of church records painstakingly abstracted from the original records -- has been published by the Church. The 100+-page book is indexed by surname and will be invaluable to religious historians and family history researchers anxious to establish their ancestors' presence in this area before the turn of the Century.
In 2008, the church did a third printing of this book, the previous two printings of 250 copies having sold out entirely. This latest printing commemorates the history of the church as well as the 150th anniversary of the construction of the current sanctuary in 1858.
At left is the earliest known photograph of Stony Point Christian Church, circa 1912.
This updated and expanded church history is available for only $20 plus $5 shipping and handling, all of the net proceeds benefiting the Church Building Fund. Currently, the church is dedicating the proceeds of book sales to its fund to erect a steeple on the sanctuary.
Copies of the 1998 bicentennial edition of the book are available at several area libraries, including Charlestown, Sellersburg and Sellersburg.