In communicating our message that the Bellevue Church of Christ is a place where "family" matters, it is critical that we meaningfully value the members of our family who came before us, as well as the generations that we are raising for tomorrow.
As with most of the Pacific Northwest, the history of our local congregation is relatively young. However, as a family of faith, the Bellevue Church of Christ is built on a foundation laid by many parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. The stories of these ancestors, and their beliefs and traditions, form the heritage of our congregation.
Churches of Christ generally trace their roots to the American Restoration Movement of the early nineteenth century. Led by reformers such as Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone, our earliest leaders preached a call for unity among all believers, the rejection of denominational division, and an abandonment of religious practices and teachings not found in the Bible. During this time, Thomas Campbell coined the phrase that came to symbolize this movement: "Where the Scriptures speak, we speak; and where the Scriptures are silent, we are silent." Over the course of the nineteenth century, the movement spread widely throughout the South and Midwest and gave birth to nondenominational churches. Churches of Christ were first recognized as a separate religious body by the U.S. Census Bureau in 1906.
Many of the traits of our unique identity can be traced directly to our nineteenth-century heritage. Churches of Christ have no organizational authority or structure beyond the elders of each local congregation. Trusting in Jesus' death on the cross for salvation, we practice baptism by immersion for the forgiveness of sins. Our worship services include the weekly celebration of the Lord's Supper and feature exclusively vocal music.
Our local family began meeting in Bellevue in 1956 with 30 believers gathering together. Moving to our present location on 104th Ave SE in Bellevue in 1959, these original families designed and built a beautiful A-frame building to meet the needs of a growing group of believers in the greater Seattle Eastside area. The group eventually outgrew its original building.
In 1980, an additional building was build to house a new auditorium, classrooms, a kitchen, and offices. The original A-frame building was used for overflow classes, youth activities, and large fellowship gatherings. By the 2010s, the original A-frame was showing signs of its age and became unstable for continued use.
The difficult decision was made to replace the original A-frame building with a new facility to meet the changing needs of the Bellevue congregation. In April 2015, John Parente cut the ribbon to open the completed new addition. The new building centers around a large fellowship hall/multi-purpose room, with a commercial kitchen and enlarged, updated entry and lounge area. The Worship and Education Center was brought up to current city codes and incorporated with the new facility into a single structure. New lighting and other cosmetic improvements were also done at that time.
Bellevue Church of Christ has been blessed with a wonderful location in central Bellevue, and we pray that this location continues to be used to serve God for many years to come!
From the original 30 people who met in 1957, the congregation has continued to grow and change throughout the years. In addition to growing locally, our church family developed a strong tradition and commitment to supporting mission work in Africa, Eastern Europe, China, Mexico, Japan, and Ecuador as well as teaching conversational English via the Let's Start Talking (LST) and FriendSpeak programs. Many of our members have also been active as teachers/supporters of World Bible School.
The Bellevue Church of Christ family continues to look for opportunities to spread the gospel, both locally and internationally. We have a strong heritage as a foundation and are excited to see where God leads this group of believers in future Kingdom work!