Branson Christian Church will celebrate its 99th birthday in 2023. As one of the oldest churches in Branson, we are thankful for the 25 people who first came together in 1923 to organize a Church Sunday School.
On June 24, 1924 the church was officially organized. In 1925 the Christian Women's Fellowship purchased a lot on the corner of Commercial and College streets for $290. Two adjoining lots were given to the church by Mr. and Mrs. Albert Parnell. Construction began in the spring of 1926 and the first service in the new building was on Sunday, August 29, 1926. The original building was one story, with the main entrance on Commercial Street.
In 1952 plans were drawn up for a new sanctuary, office, nursery, kitchen, classrooms, and choir room for an estimated cost of $45,000. With a second story sanctuary, the original basement church became the Fellowship Hall. The new building was dedicated on June 2, 1957. A building north of the church was purchased and became the annex.
In 1973 the Founders Chapel and the Albert Parnell Memorial Window were dedicated. The chapel is located next to the sanctuary with an adjoining prayer garden. The large stained glass window was given by the Parnell family in memory of Albert Parnell, Sr.
Sometime in the late 70s or early 80s, the Divinity Square quilt block stained glass at the front of the sanctuary was installed by the quilting club. (NOTE: History research of this piece is still in progress.)
In the 1990's the Parnell and Kornmeier families donated the beautiful windows in the sanctuary in memory of Patricia Parnell Kornmeier.
Fortunately our building was high and safe from the floods that were common in Branson's history. While the church was growing, the little town of Branson grew even more and became the popular tourist destination it is today. Many members of Branson Christian Church were active leaders in Branson as it grew. Ozark Mountain Christian Church was organized and is our sister church in Merriam Woods. (Sadly, they closed they have closed their doors and rejoined the Branson Christian Church.) In July of 2007, the church established the By the Way Thrift Shop in the annex building. The Thrift Shop has become an important ministry for our church. It is run by volunteers who address some of the physical and spiritual needs of our community.
On February 29, 2012 a tornado hit Branson, damaging the roof and east wall of the building as well as the large cross and awning. The rock wall and roof have been repaired and the landscaping is better than ever. Sit and relax on the bench in our Meditation Garden and enjoy the beautiful butterfly sculpture designed by one of our members. Relax long enough and you will enjoy the sounds of our carillon bells that sound off every fifteen minutes and ring out the time on the hour. We are proud of our historic church and want it to be a welcoming place to all as we proclaim God's love.
In March of 2020, the Covid pandemic struck. This forced us to look at things a little differently. We started our first Facebook page with pre-recorded services and life feed Pastor videos. It also saw us enter the social media world by joining Instagram and Twitter. Shortly after we created a YouTube channel for services and special music.
In September of 2020, the Sanctuary saw a huge addition. After a year of planning, countless man hours and generous donations, the current stained glass window at the front was taken down and a new stained glass window installed. The old stained glass window was framed and backlit, then placed just off the Sanctuary and is still used today as an Easter picture background.
Now as 2024 starts to creep in, plans have already begun for a 100th Anniversary celebration. Mark your calendars for June 21-23, 2024 and plan to going us for some fun events.