Fontana Christian Church

This document was published in the year 2004, when Fontana Christian Church celebrated 125 years of service to our Savior.

The Fontana Christian Church was organized in 1872, at 101 South Lincoln in Fontana, Kansas with seven members. Records with the Kansas Secretary of State show that the church was incorporated on October 3, 1879 under the name Church of Christ of Fontana. Our earliest records of Board Meetings indicate that the church has always referred to herself as Fontana Christian Church. The Articles of Incorporation spell out our mission then and now: "The purpose for which this corporation is formed is to promote and advance the Worship of God."

On December 15, 1879 lots 2 and 3 in block 11 in the town of Fontana, Miami County Kansas, were deeded to the trustees of the Christian Church. We do not have any minutes of the early days but our very existence today is a testimony of the faith and commitment of our spiritual forefathers. Previous generations have built a legacy of service to our Lord that we continue to be committed to not only today but also into future generations.

In 1925 the membership of Fontana Christian Church was canvassed for means to pay for the expense of restoring the building and though it was very discouraging at times, they went forward.

In 1945 the church was able to celebrate its Fiftieth Anniversary with the burning of the mortgage, signifying that the church was free of debt. The church entered into a contract for building an annex in the fall of 1954. This expansion provided much needed education space for a small but growing church.

Due to the age of the original building and the ever present need for a larger facility it was determined to begin the process of replacing the old building. After many years of saving and planning the building committee presented a set of plans for a new church building in February 1974. A great amount of sacrifice on the part of this small congregation lead to the razing of the original building and the building of a new structure in its place. Construction was completed in September 1976.

A dedication ceremony for the new building was held on December 12, 1976. Jerry Tinsley and L.M. Espy, previous ministers of the church participated in the ceremony. A reception in the church basement followed the service for 150 guests and members.

The mortgage of this new building was paid off in September 1979. The burning of this mortgage was held in conjunction with the celebration of Fontana Christian Church's 100-year anniversary.

In October of 1976 Brad Fogo was called to be the minister of the church. He began this ministry by serving only on weekends and did so for many years before expanding his service to part-time status. As the congregation grew so did the demands upon his time. In 1997 the church was financially able to expand the ministry to full-time status. He continues to serve the congregation today as we undertake this effort to expand the Kingdom of God in Fontana and the region surrounding our community.

Over the past 25 to 30 years Fontana Christian Church has experienced steady growth in attendance. We have gone from an average attendance of 30 in the 1970's to a present average attendance of 115.

In May of 1978 Fontana Christian Church purchased the first partial of land beyond the original plot of ground. Lot #6 and the north half of Lot 7 in block 11 in the city of Fontana were purchased for use in expanding our parking facilities.

In September of 1996 the church purchased the south half of Lot 7 & Lots 8, 9, & 10 of block 11 in city of Fontana. This property included a house that was used for offices, Sunday School class rooms, and storage.

As attendance continued to increase it became apparent that a strategic decision had to be made in order to increase seating capacity in our auditorium. Since we were not yet ready to build we created a second worship service in September 1997. This allowed us to continue to grow in worship attendance but our education space was still filled to capacity. This restriction hampered us from reaching our full potential as a congregation.

As we have grown we have not only expanded the status of the minister from part-time to full-time we have also added other staff to meet the growing needs of our congregation. A part-time secretary and a part-time youth director have also been added to our staff and payroll. The financial needs of this growing church have always been meet by the Lord as He provides through the faithful and generous support of the members.

There was every indication that we would continue to grow beyond the building and parking capacity of our previous property. Due to that the leadership of the church made the decision to begin a search for a larger partial of property on which to relocate. After an extensive search the decision was made to purchase a 20-acre tract of land at 383rd Street & Hedge Lane. That purchase was made in June 2000.

Following the purchase of the property on Hedge Lane, next came the arduous task of settling on a basic plan for the new structure that would be built on this new piece of property. In September of 2001 the congregation of Fontana Christian Church approved a plan to build a new church building at 383rd Street & Hedge Lane.

Before construction began on this new building, in excess of $200,000 was raised by the generous and sacrificial giving of our congregation. Construction for this new facility began in August of 2003. In the process of one year we saw the landscape change from a pasture into the new home of Fontana Christian Church. On August 1, 2004 we held our first Worship Service in the new building and began to use this facility that God has given us to worship Him and nurture those He has called to His family.

God has richly blessed us in the past and promises to do so in the future as we faithfully serve Him. As in the past it continues to be our desire to be wise and faithful stewards of God's blessings.

As we celebrate 125 years of service to our Savior and look forward to what God will do through our faithful service in the future we give praise to "Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."(Ephesian 3:20)

A Heritage to Treasure...
              A Mission to Fulfill