A Brief History …
Downey Avenue Christian Church (DACC) was established in 1875 as The First Christian Church in Irvington. The first recorded religious service was on September 19, 1875 held on the Butler College campus then located in Irvington. The actual organization of the church took place on December 5, 1875 with eighty-seven charter members. Preaching, prayer, evangelism and mission were the four cornerstones upon which this church was founded. Recognizing the need for a permanent house of worship, the official board passed a resolution in 1881 to accomplish this goal. “The red brick church with a spire” was erected on a lot at Downey and Julian Avenues and dedicated on April 9, 1893. Since then it has been called the Downey Avenue Christian Church.
The United Christian Missionary Society moved from St. Louis into the building at 222 South Downey Avenue and became known as “The Missions Building.” Many of the leaders of the UCMS made their homes in Irvington and were members of Downey Avenue. The leadership they provided, and the witness of returning missionaries enriched the congregation. From that time, outreach efforts both locally and throughout the world have been, and will continue to be, priorities for this church.
By the end of World War II the congregation determined a new structure was required to fulfill its mission. They said “goodbye” to the Red Brick Church in 1952 and a new structure of Indianalimestone, erected on the same lot, was dedicated on November 1, 1953. In 1976, the beginning of a second century of service, Downey built a new educational building which houses the church offices, classrooms and a fellowship wing called Century Hall. A significant addition to the Sanctuary was the installation of stained glass windows which survived the fire of December 16, 2005. These windows were designed by Joseph Lupkin under the direction of a committee ofDowney members; glass work was done by City Glass of Fort Wayne. The three windows on the east represent major events in the Old Testament and the four on the west represent major events in the life of Jesus.
Whatever the future brings, the mission of this church continues to be witness to God’s glory and spread the Good News of Jesus through preaching, prayer, evangelism and mission. Acknowledgement: The early history of this church may be found in much more detail in the book “A Century of Witness” by George Earl Owen.