Oldest church in Iowa Park closes

IOWA PARK (KFDX/KJTL) — A church nearly as old as the city of Iowa Park itself, First Christian Church, is closing after more than 130 years in the heart of Iowa Park.

But the church council thinks they have found a perfect way to keep this historic building in the city. At the moment, the town hall is crammed into its current space, but thanks to all of this, that may change.

“It will be a bit sad for me to come here after his conversion, but it’s for the best. God works in mysterious ways,” said First Christian Church congregation member Jim Goodwin.

Even with their doors permanently closed, Goodwin, a congregation member for 32 years, says God has a plan for First Christian Church.

“My feelings went all the way from very depressed, but now I’m not depressed because I realized the cloud, closing the church and not being able to worship together here, but the silver lining provides blessings,” said said Goodwin.

A staple of the Iowa Park community for nearly the entire 133-year existence of the city, the First Christian Church was established in 1891. Now, more than a century later, it looks like it might accommodate new occupants.

“Maybe a year or so ago we dropped the idea of ​​looking for a new city hall to focus more on police and fire, which are going pretty well at this point,” said Jerry Flemming, director Municipality of the City of Iowa Park.

With these new police and fire departments already signed up, Flemming says the church that approached them about the building completely blew them away.

“We need a council chamber and a courtroom, which is very much like a sanctuary. We would like a community center, which looks a lot like a scholarship hall, and we need offices, which look a lot like classrooms,” Flemming said.

“We don’t need money, but the community needs money and we would have given this church for free, but we felt like we had to take money and give it to local charities so that we can enjoy the city and give the greatest possible blessing to the whole city,” Goodwin said.

As this money from the city will go directly to Iowa Park to help the Friendly Door Senior Citizen Center, Iowa Park Food Bank, Lake Brownwood Christian Retreat, and the Southwest Region Cycling Men’s Mission Project.

Along with a new town hall, Flemming says it’s important to make sure First Christian and its 131-year history is never forgotten.

“It’s amazing how much history gets lost with each generation. So right now we’re in a period where we’re trying to preserve the legacy of the people, organizations, and institutions that have been in the city. So I truly believe that the legacy of First Christian Church will be preserved in Iowa Park, and it will be here forever,” Flemming said.

First Christian’s last service will be on Saturday April 23 and they will also have services on Easter Sunday.

Jerry B. Hatch