Belvue Christian Church is part of a loose fellowship of over 5000 churches in the U.S. generally known as independent Christian Churches and Churches of Christ. This is part of a larger family of churches sometimes called the Restoration Movement (because of its desire to restore New Testament Christianity), or the Stone-Campbell Movement (named for early leaders, Barton W. Stone and Alexander Campbell). This reform movement began in various places in the early 1800s when certain Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians sought religious unity on the basis of the Bible alone. An early slogan was "We are not the only Christians, but Christians only!" In East Tennessee the first Christian
Churches were formed by people who left various Baptist churches. History seems to indicate that the first Christian Church leaders in our
area were influenced by Barton W. Stone and the famous Cane Ridge Revival in Kentucky.
Belvue Christian Church was founded in 1947 as a mission of Kingsport's First Christian Church, which itself was established in 1917. As Kingsport began to grow, First Christian decided to establish churches in other parts of the city. Belvue was the first of these congregations and was originally known as Second Christian Church.. The first meeting of what was to become Belvue Christian Church was held at the Dickson School on Virginia Avenue on February 2, 1947 with 40 present. The offering was $15 and the school rented for $2.50 per week.
Before long, property was purchased at our present location and a basement facility was built. The first phase of the present building was occupied on October 12, 1947. This phase of the building included what is today the downstairs Sunday school rooms. The next part of the building was dedicated on April 1, 1951 and was used as a church auditorium. This is the present day Fellowship Hall.
On March 14, 1948 the congregation was officially organized and became independent of First Christian Church. For a brief time, the congregation was still known as Second Christian Church. Because it was located in the Belvue addition of Kingsport, the name was officially changed to Belvue Christian Church on June 15, 1948. When organized in March of that year, 64 people became charter members of the congregation. Nearly a decade would pass before the congregation was able to complete the top portion of the building, which includes a sanctuary, classrooms, and offices. This part of the building was dedicated on November 6, 1960. Over the years many improvements have been made to the building and the surrounding property. A parsonage was purchased adjacent to the parking lot and additional land was purchased on the east side of the building.
There have been many individuals and families that have been touched in some way by Belvue Christian Church over the years. While some stayed for only a brief time, others have been an active part of the membership for many years. When the church was started it was decided to give 10% to missions. This was eventually increased and for about the past twenty-five years the church has given approximately 25% of the offerings to missions. In this way, the Belvue church touches people all around the world.
There have been seven regular preaching ministers for Belvue Christian Church:
Stuart K. Widner (1947-1955); Robert Fogleman (1955-1959); Roger Rankin (1959-1963); Jack Hyder (1964-1966); Noel Kirk (1966-1971); Bob Kastens (1972-1984); and John Owston (1984-present). Brothers Widner, Fogleman,
and Hyder have gone to be with the Lord, along with many others who have faithfully served Christ as members of Belvue Christian Church.
A number of youth ministers have served the congregation and have gone on to serve the Lord in various places.