How Seventh Street Christian Church Got Its Name
Seventh Street is one of the oldest congregations in the Christian Church Disciples of Christ. It was established the same year that the movement was founded. In 1832, Thomas Campbell, who is one of the founders of the movement, came to Richmond to preach. Some of those listeners were so moved by his preaching and teaching that they formed the first Richmond congregation of the Christian Church Disciples of Christ. Sycamore Christian Church got its name – not for the street it was on but for the sycamore trees on the lawn.
In our history room you can find the gavel and box that was made from this sycamore tree.
In 1870 the congregation sold the Sycamore Church building to the Commonwealth of Virginia and acquired a lot at the corner of Grace and 7th Streets. In April 1871, a new granite building with a towering spire was constructed. Membership at the close of 1871 was 524. The congregation worshiped in the Universalist Church on Mayo Street until its first meeting in the new building on July 14, 1872. Then the name changed to Seventh Street Christian Church.
The Legacy of Seventh Street Christian Church
A number of Disciples of Christ churches in Richmond are an outgrowth of the mission work of Seventh Street Christian Church. Hanover Avenue Christian Church, organized in 1913, traced its life to 1875 through its parents, Allen Avenue and Marshall Street Christian Churches each an outgrowth of Seventh Street Christian Church. The church Hill Mission of Seventh Street Christian Church became Third Christian Church organized in 1873. The Manchester Mission on Hull Street grew into Cowardin Avenue Church, now Bethany Christian Church, in 1878. Fairmount Avenue Christian Church (1902) Colonial Place Christian Church (1911) Highland Park Christian Church (1917) and Battery Park Christian Church (1921) grew from forces generated by Seventh Street Christian Church.
As Richmond's population moved westward, the Seventh Street Christian Church congregation chose to relocate in the west end. The Seventh Street building was sold in 1946. Our current location at Grove and Malvern Avenues was dedicated on September 17, 1950. In 2002, when Hanover Avenue Christian Church was decommissioned many of its members moved their membership to Seventh Street Christian Church, it was a homecoming.