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Central Christian

Visitors to the Sept. 10 open house at Central Christian Church in Waterloo will have opportunities to tour the sanctuary, above, and other areas of the church. The event is free and open to the community.

Over the years, Central Christian Church has become a fixture on Kimball Avenue in Waterloo.

The congregation opens its doors each October for its popular, well-attended Fall Bazaar. The church also houses a Small World Preschool in its lower level. Few of us know much more about Central Christian beyond that.

On Sept. 10, members will provide an opportunity for the community to become better acquainted with the historic congregation. It will host an open house from 1 to 3 p.m., free and open to the community.

The event will showcase the church’s new additions: the Gathering Space that now serves as the main entry on the church’s west side and a new elevator on the east side.

The open house will highlight various areas, including tours of the sanctuary, classrooms, library, historical photo collections, youth ministry areas, Bazaar Room and Outreach display.

Since breaking ground in the early 1960s, the church planned for a large fellowship hall. In recent years and after several attempts to raise funds, members decided instead on plans to make the church more accessible to those with disabilities.

The open house also serves as a celebration of Central Christian’s 120th anniversary.

“The congregation was founded 120 years ago,” notes Sharon Gatewood, 70, a lifetime member. “The Disciples of Christ had made several attempts to start a congregation here, and it was the Ladies Aid Society that eventually started the church.”

The congregation was incorporated in 1897. By 1900, the congregation had moved to a large meeting room on Grant Avenue.

The church moved to the corner of West Fourth and South streets in 1908, then to a building down the street to the corner of West Fourth and Locust in the mid-1920s.

The current building at 3475 Kimball Ave. was dedicated in 1964. It’s nestled on eight acres in the midst of what was then farmland.

In more than 50 years since putting down roots on Kimball, the congregation has watched a bustling residential and business district grow up around its church.

Golden writes The Courier’s weekly faith and values column. Email her at

Golden writes The Courier’s weekly faith and values column. Email her at


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