THREE OAKS — Three Oaks Church of Christ, 305 N. Elm St., is planning a 150-plus year anniversary celebration on Sunday, and the public is invited.
A nondenominational church service led by Pastor Ransom Ebersol will start at 11 a.m., followed by a complimentary lunch of brats, hot dogs, veggie burgers, potato salad, coleslaw, sauerkraut, desserts, coffee, soft drinks and water from 1-2:30 p.m.
Those stopping by also can watch the Three Oaks Flag Day Parade starting at 3 p.m.
In 1868, Hiram Wilcox, the Martin family, the Roe family and others got together to establish a church in Three Oaks on the core belief that the Bible only is the inspired word of God.
The church was, and still is, led by a congregational form of government.
Fred Briggs, head of the current church board, said the church was started as a Disciples of Christ entity. In 1876, he said the same people switched to Church of Christ.
Briggs said the congregation also met downtown in the Oddfellows Hall, and later at a local Lutheran church before the building that still stands along North Elm Street was constructed in the early 1880s.
According to a history of the church, on Oct. 15, 1882, the congregation needed $500 to pay for the bricks that were brought in by train. The land this building sits on was purchased for $60. That day, M.N. Lord preached at the dedication service.
In 1889, the church had 97 members and held a three-week revival for which it was standing room only. Families in wagons would line up on each side of the church to listen to the service through the windows.
In 1894, The Christian Endeavor Group was formed. They dedicated to the church a plaque, which is located on the wall behind the pulpit to this day.
There are also two oil lamps at the back of the church that were used when services were held at night. The overhead lights came from the bank in Three Oaks when it purchased new ones. They were donated to the church and were originally in the old Featherbone factory.
In 1955, an addition to the church was built with funds donated by Warren Hochstetler. The addition provided classroom space and a social room. There was a dedication held in the room with more than 100 people in attendance.
In 2007, the deck and a ramp were added to the front of the building. As for the building itself, there is a hand-hewn tree that runs the length of the church, and the rock foundation still holds up the building.
The wood used in the building was purchased from Owen Churchill, a doctor who owned and operated a drug store, a hardware store and a lumber yard.
Briggs, now 81, said he has been attending the church sine he was 2 weeks old, and can still remember an old brick outhouse behind the main building.
He said a 4-day-old girl named Paisley recently was brought to the church to “beat his record.”
Rotating pastors currently serve the church. Sunday services begin at 11 a.m., and Sunday School starts at 10 a.m.