On Mother’s Day, May 9, 1948 at 11:00 a.m., 46 people gathered at the former Brookhaven Methodist Church at 202 Colonial Drive in the Brookhaven area of Atlanta for a worship service. They heard the Rev. Edgar Craighead preach, were led in the service by J.L. Bickers and W.T. Oliver and contributed $56.16 in the morning offering. But most importantly, on that Mother’s Day Sunday, 19 people signed the opening charter as the first members of Brookhaven Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and our history was officially begun.
Of course, history is never as simple as it seems. The Brookhaven Christian Church was started long before that Sunday morning. Dr. Robert Burns, Senior Pastor of the Peachtree Christian Church in Atlanta had long desired that the Gospel of Jesus Christ might be spread to the furthest reaches of northeast Atlanta through a new church start affiliated with Peachtree Christian. When the Brookhaven Methodist Church building came up for sale, Dr. Burns arranged for financing of the building and began the process that would get this fledgling congregation off the ground.
The first full time minister, A. Geoff Bedford, was called in August of 1948, the first of 14 senior ministers. Those ministers are: Harold E. Phillips, Charles C. Thompson, W. Ray Holdren, James W. Sosebee, Jack L. Snellgrove, Jim Helen, James S. Clifford, Hal Doster, Jeff Smith, Anne Bonney, Brad Miller, Jennifer Heinz and our current senior minister, Beth Wendl.
The church grew fast, and by 1955, the church had 109 members on the active rolls. Talk of growth and expansion prompted the purchase of property at the corner of Peachtree and Lanier. The Colonial Drive property was sold, and for a time, the congregation leased space from Oglethorpe University for their Sunday services.
Construction of the first building on the church’s present site at 4500 Peachtree Rd. began in the fall of 1958 and the dedication of that building took place on June 14, 1959. The succeeding years have seen an expansion of the sanctuary, and the addition of a narthex and parlor. The latest addition of offices, classrooms, theatre room, storage and a beautiful new fellowship hall was completed in 2001.
Over the years, the church has continued to be a presence in the community. Times have changed, and the neighborhoods surrounding the church have changed, but the message of the Good News of Jesus Christ presented by the Brookhaven Christian Church has never wavered.
Through involvement with community organizations, support groups, Scouting organizations, the Brookhaven Christian Ministries organization, the Brookhaven Christian Child Development Center, Habitat for Humanity, the Interfaith Outreach Home and others, the members of BCC continue to demonstrate their commitment to this community and their commitment to being a positive presence for years to come.
Today, there are approximately 300 members of Brookhaven Christian Church, and each passing year finds us continually striving to find new and exciting ways to be church here at the corner of Peachtree and Lanier. Our goal is to provide a genuine Christian welcome to all who enter our doors, and to reach out in love to all those who seek the affirming presence of God in their lives.
Come take part in our worship and our fellowship! We would love to get to know you, and for you to help us write the next chapter in the ongoing history of Brookhaven Christian Church (Disciples of Christ.)