The history of the Christians At Richardson East echoes that of the Restoration Movement, while at the same time diverging in significant ways. It is a story of pioneering faith, of courageous endurance, and - more than anything else - of how God moves in sometimes surprising ways.
This congregation way established in 1874 as an outgrowth of the broader national movement to restore first-century Christianity. The original meeting site was at the corner of Abrams Road and Phillips Street in Richardson, Texas. The congregation was first known as the Abrams Road Church of Christ.
In 1905, the congregation divided over instrumental music in worship. A local Disciples of Christ congregation began meeting separately. That fellowship still exists, located at the corner of Beltline and Grove Road in Richardson.
In 1962, Abrams Road "birthed" a new congregation on the west side of town - the Waterview Church of Christ. In an effort to reach more of the town, part of the families and leadership voluntarily began worshiping at the new location on Waterview Drive. The rest continued to meet as the Abrams Road congregation.
In 1967, Richardson East relocated to a new building. Population-growth estimates forecasted that Richardson would grow toward the east. To capitalize on this opportunity, the congregation moved to 330 South Plano Road. This location is now occupied by a Furr's Cafeteria and Mervyn's department store.
In 1982, Furr's Cafeteria purchased the church's property. At the time of the offer, the congregation faced facility renovation needs totaling more than one million dollars. The offer by Furr's to purchase the property was truly a blessing from God.
From February 1983 until November 1984, there was no building. During this time Richardson East met in the building of the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Richardson - the same group with whom our fellowship had split 78 years earlier. They graciously hosted the congregation for 22 months while the new building was constructed on Campbell Road. The congregation learned a great deal about love, unity and what it means to be the Body of Christ during that time, considered a Spirit-led "wandering in the wilderness."
In November 1984, the congregation moved into the present facility. While able to pay a large amount of the construction cost from proceeds of the Plano Road property, a debt of over $1 million remained. In order to retire this debt in a manner that didn't hamper the church's ability to carry on ministry, a three-year capital gifts program called Freedom To Serve was initiated. By the Lord's strength, all but $200,000 was paid off. The Elders once again asked members, new and old, to give. By the spring of 1988 the entire debt was eliminated.
By 1999, classroom space reached capacity, with some classes meeting in area restaurants each Sunday morning. The congregation decided to build a two-story addition on the west side of the building, more than doubling the classroom space. Again, the congregation subscribed to a three-year program to reduce a large portion of that debt. This program, called Commited to Care, is currently in progress. In March 2000, classes began meeting in the new education wing. Soon after, renovation was completed on the auditorium balcony, expanding seating capacity by 200 seats to slightly over 1000.