University Christian Church’s history is tied closely to that of our neighbor, Texas Christian University.
Established in 1873, this “university church,” where “town and gown” worshipped together, grew from its sixty charter members to become one of the largest and most visible local congregations affiliated with The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
University Christian Church’s history is tied closely to that of our neighbor, Texas Christian University. In the fall of 1873, Add-Ran College was established in Thorp Spring, Texas. Sunday services, attended by the whole community, were held in the college chapel led by college President Addison Clark.
In 1895, the school and its “university church” moved to Waco, but a devastating fire destroyed this campus in 1910. An invitation to relocate to Fort Worth was extended and accepted, and university and church moved to their present location on “the hill” in 1911. TCU and University Christian Church continued to operate together until funds were finally secured to build a separate “church house” for the congregation on land donated by TCU on the northwest corner of University Dr. and West Cantey St., where we are today.
Through the need felt by members, students, and the TCU’s new president, E.M. Waits, it was brought to a head by a resolution of the State Convention of the Churches in the spring of 1917, instructing the Texas Missionary Society to appropriate funds to make possible a full-time pastorate at TCU. This first full-time pastor was Walter P. Jennings. The Horned Frog of 1918 states, “September 15, 1917 the University Christian Church was organized with sixty charter members and now has two hundred thirty-five, every member contributing through the duplex envelope system. It is meeting now in the Brite College Chapel, but as soon as the awful unsettled conditions caused by the World War become normal again, a magnificent church building will be erected.”
In faith and hope, the cornerstone of University Christian Church was laid on March 5, 1933, the day when the nation’s banks were closed by presidential order during the Great Depression. Three major additions over the years provided space for that expanding congregation. Continued modernization focuses on providing a welcoming space for worship and learning and for equipping University Christian Church to reach beyond the walls to community and world.
This “university church,” where “town and gown” worshipped together, grew from its 60 charter members to become one of the largest and most visible local congregations affiliated with The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
Hall, Colby D. The Early Years. Fort Worth: University Christian Church, 1983. Print.
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