First Christian Church

Historical Marker #2090 in Paris marks the current location of that town's First Christian Church.

First Christian Church's location on a ridge near the center of town makes the red-tiled octagonal towers visible from a considerable distance. The main auditorium consists of a large and high octagon. The ceiling incorporates a large circle and several convex and concave vaults.

The church building is one of the most outstanding Richardsonian Romanesque buildings in Paris. A stone-faced addition was added across the rear of the church, but otherwise the 1902 building is virtually intact.

Richardsonian Romanesque is a style of Romanesque Revival architecture named after architect Henry Hobson Richardson, whose masterpiece is Trinity Church in Boston. The architectural style emphasizes clear, strong picturesque massing, round-headed "Romanesque" arches, often springing from clusters of short squat columns. Other features include recessed entrances, richly varied rustication, blank stretches of walling contrasting with bands of windows, and cylindrical towers with conical caps embedded in the walling. The First Christian Church of Paris exhibits all of these details.

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) began in the early 1800s and developed out of the Cane Ridge Revival. Founders Barton W. Stone and Alexander Campbell were partly rebelling against dogmatic positions that kept different denominations from taking communion together, and objected to the use of creeds as tests of "fellowship" within the church.

"Christians" was Stone's name for the movement, and Campbell chose "Disciples of Christ." The two groups and their names united in 1832. Disciples have a long heritage of openness to other Christian traditions and are frequently involved in cooperative and ecumenical work. The Disciples of Christ helped organize the National and World Councils of Churches.