2010-08-18 / Religion

Small Congregation Reason For Church Closing

After 38 years, the Archbold First Church of Christ closed its doors due to a small congregation. The building replaced an earlier structure that was destroyed by a fire set by an arsonist. Nolan Tuckerman, former church treasurer, said the remaining congregation members have split up and gone to other area churches.– photo by Mary Huber     After 38 years, the Archbold First Church of Christ closed its doors due to a small congregation. The building replaced an earlier structure that was destroyed by a fire set by an arsonist. Nolan Tuckerman, former church treasurer, said the remaining congregation members have split up and gone to other area churches.– photo by Mary Huber A small congregation was the primary reason for closing First Church of Christ, Archbold, in the 22000 block of St. Rt. 2.

The church building will sell at auction, Thursday, Sept. 16.

“We didn’t have financial problems. The congregation was too small. We weren’t doing the Lord’s work,” Nolan Tuckerman, former church treasurer, said last week.

At the peak, he said about 100 people were meeting to worship each week. Recently, about 25 had been attending worship services.

After 38 years, the last official service was conducted Sunday, May 25.

Fire

The church building is the second one built on the property. The first was destroyed by fire during the early morning hours of June 20, 2001, the night after a fire did $10 million damage to a warehouse on the south side of Archbold.

It was one of five churches burned by Julius Burch, whom law enforcement officials once called the worst serial arsonist in northwest Ohio history.

Burch was arrested in December 2002 on breaking and entering charges. He was later charged with a total of 37 arson fires and more than 120 breaking and entering cases.

Burch was sentenced to more than 35 years in prison. He is 50 years old today.

He will be eligible for release from prison at age 80.

High School

During the time the First Church of Christ was being rebuilt, the congregation met at Archbold High School.

It took about 20 months for the new building to be completed.

Now that the church has closed, Tuckerman said the remaining members of the congregation have split up “and gone off in different directions.”

“Some went to Napoleon; some, to West Unity; some, to West Franklin or Wauseon.”

Money from the sale of the building will go toward supporting missionaries, Tuckerman said.

Return to top