East Chestnut Church of Christ
The Church of Christ has been in existence sing 33 A.D. Our congregations are now spread throughout the world from Asia, Africa, Europe, South and North America, and elsewhere. We are proud to be members of the church for which Christ died.
The East Chestnut St. Church of Christ began in 1947; in a store front located on South Hanna Street. After worshipping there for a few years, Bro. W.M. Smith, minister and a few members of the congregation saw the need to combine their efforts in the search for a new place to worship. With the help of a sister congregation, two lots at 3601 East Chestnut St. were given to the members and a house was built, which was utilized as the church and seated about 75 people and had two classrooms.
In 1951, the church moved from Hanna Street to the 3601 East Chestnut Street location and became the East Chestnut St. congregation. The church began to grow under the spiritual leadership of Bro. W.M. Smith.
In 1955, Bro. Wm Smith resigned as minister. A young man and his family from Humbolt, TN, by the name of U.L. Stewart moved to Fort Wayne, IN and he became minister of the East Chestnut St. Church of Christ. For many years, Bro. Stewart labored as the spiritual leader enhancing the biblical knowledge of its members.
In 1965, the church had outgrown its building. The next year, plans were made to build a larger facility which was urgently needed. In 1967, there were four classrooms added and the seating capacity was also increased to 225.
During the changing of the guards, Bro. Davis, Bro. Lee and Bro. Cox along with Bro. Stewart helped the church to maintain spiritual growth under their leadership from 1977-1989.
In 1978, a large fellowship room was added; seating capacity was still 225, but there were now six classrooms, two offices, and a kitchen. Great programs/ministries were created under this tenure; the birth of our television broadcasting and Care Groups.
In 1989, God continued to bless East Chestnut with Bro. Gregory S. Conely Sr. and his family when he became our new minister. Coming from Columbus, Ohio; the Conely’s brought new ideas for church growth & organization. Under his spiritual leadership, an addition was extended to the rear portion of the church which includes a larger fellowship hall that is utilized with two classrooms as well as three individual classrooms, added to this extension. Also, under his tenure was the birth of our radio ministry; the church membership continued to grow under Bro. Conely’s leadership.
In 2004, Bro. Wongchin L. Viltz and his family journeyed to Fort Wayne, IN from Villeplatte, LA. With Bro. Viltz bringing to us an in-depth knowledge of God’s word and great zeal, as our minister. We believe that God transitioned us to another place in our growth process. We are thankful to Bro. Viltz and his family as they worked with us for three years at East Chestnut Street before they returned to the warm south.
In August of 2007, Bro. Randy Cole Sims, Sr. and his family began to labor with the Saints in Fort Wayne. Bro. Sims brought experience, enthusiasm and an undeniable Love for the People of God. Bro. Sims Labored with us until February 22, 2015, which was his last Sunday. He and Sis. Sims relocated to Florida to continue in the work of ministry.
On March 11, 2018, Bro. Delante Jackson began to labor with East Chestnut congregation as the Senior Minister. He, his wife Shelly and three daughters are eager to work with the congregation to continue to Glorify God in all things.