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Our Brethren History
 
  One of the missions which was directed by the Board of Southwestern Kansas and Southeastern Colorado was that at Garden City.  On April 1, 1904, when Elder S. E. Thompson and family of Fredonia, Kansas, arrived at Garden City they found but two other families of members in the city, namely, those of William and George Wise (of the German Baptist Church) -- four members.  It was very difficult to get a foot-hold, since no suitable building for holding services was to be secured and the minister's house was inadequate.

  However, Brother Thompson found that the Baptist Church was without a pastor; therefore, the Brethren attended that church.  Brother Thompson obtained the privilege of preaching in this church one Sunday each month.  This arrangement continued for some months.
 
  The first baptism into the Brethren Church was that of the janitor of the Baptist Church, who, by the way, was a negro.  The Brethren hesitated some time in receiving him, fearing that this action might hinder their work, but after some delay, baptism was administered.  Their fears were found not to have been justified.
 
  In 1906 the membership had grown to 24 -- these members were from Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Kansas -- and a formal church was organized.  They purchased the former Christian Church for $3,000.  This church was located at Eighth and St. John Streets and was originally built by the Friends Church.
 
  In the December 29, 1906, edition of the Garden City Imprint (The Evening Telegram), it was reported that a large party of German Brethren (called Dunkards) from Ohio were expected to move to Garden City early in the year 1907.
 
  In 1908 Annual Conference changed the name of the denomination from German Baptist Brethren to the Church of the Brethren.  In 1908 the District Conference was held in Garden City.  While children under five were fed free, those older were charged full price, which was 15 cents.
 
  In the fall of 1908, J. S. Carney, a minister in the first degree, presented his letter.  The presence of another minister in the congregation led Brother Thompson to think that his services were no longer needed.  Accordingly, on February 4, 1909, he left Garden City, then a church with a membership of fifty, to take up the work in Lincoln, Nebraska.  That summer, however, Brother Carney sold out and moved away, leaving the congregation without a minister.  For five and a half years following this, the preaching was done by ministers from surrounding churches.  This naturally caused a lack of interest and more or less dissatisfaction, resulting in the migration of several members.
 
  Then the Mission Board of the district appealed to Brother Thompson to resume his former post, which he agreed to do, and on June 15, 1914, he returned to Garden City to find but twenty members remaining.







 

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  He set to work, however, with a will and in 1918, the membership had reached the figure of fifty-five.  On August 1, 1918, Brother Thompson resigned the work and subsequently took pastoral charge at Clovis, New Mexico.  Howard D. Michael, formerly of Juniata, Nebraska, now became pastor and elder.

  In 1921, a total membership of seventy was reported.  In May 1921, Elder D. H. Heckman, of McPherson, Kansas, moved to Garden City to take charge of the church.  Also in 1921, a committee was appointed to purchase a piano.  Despite some opposition to having instrumental music in the church, a piano was purchased.

  In 1929 George Burgin became pastor and attendance grew to over one hundred.  But the dust storms discouraged many farmers and they moved away.  So the church suffered a loss in members but grew strong again in the 40's.

  A building fund was started for a new church building in 1949.  In May of 1950 total membership was 155.  An electric organ was purchased and installed.

  The parsonage, which had been north of the church building, was moved to Albert Street.  Ground breaking for the new church building was on Easter Sunday, April 5, 1953.

  Meetings continued to be held in the old church building and the new church was built around it, to the north and west.  The new church had sanctuary seating for 210 with an overflow of 136 in the Fellowship Hall.  The estimated cost was $115,000.

  Several pastors and many changes have come and gone through the years.  In 2003 we were an organization for 100 years, and in 2005 we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the formal beginning of the congregation.  We were greatly blessed in 2008, when twelve new members joined the church, all on the same Sunday.  In 2017, our membership is 100.

(Excerpts taken from “A History of the Church of the Brethren in Kansas” by Elmer LeRoy Craik, A. M, Ph. D., published by the Author in 1922, McPherson, Kansas)

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