Christian Church Education

By: Noel L. Keith and Kenneth L. Teegarden

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: August 10, 2020

During the first half of the twentieth century, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) had several schools directly or indirectly operating under its influence. They included Carlton College, Carr-Burdette College, Randolph College at Lancaster, Bay View College, Patroon College at Cisco, Mount Enterprise Male and Female College, Add-Ran Jarvis College, Add-Ran College, Add-Ran Christian University, and Jarvis Christian College for Negroes. By 1949 most of these colleges had been closed or consolidated. There were four educational institutions affiliated with the Christian Church in 1967. They were Texas Christian University, Jarvis Christian College, the Texas Bible Chair, and the Inman Christian Center.

The Texas Bible Chair, adjacent to the campus of the University of Texas at Austin, was founded to give students at the university the opportunity to study the Judeo-Christian tradition and the theology of the Disciples of Christ. The institution, founded in 1905 through the efforts of the Christian Women's Board of Missionaries and Mrs. M. M. Blanks of Lockhart, who contributed $30,000 to the building fund, offered students religion classes and Christian fellowship. The Christian Women's Board of Missionaries, renamed the United Christian Missionary Society, continued to sponsor the school except for a brief interruption during the Great Depression. The Christian Churches in Texas also offered support. The first director of the Bible Chair, Frank Jewett, oversaw the school until his retirement in 1946, when Paul Wassenich took over as director. In honor of Jewett's service to the school, the current library bears his name. In 1946 the Texas Bible Chair began its current close relationship with the University Christian Church. In response to several requests, Wassenich began to hold weekly church services in the TBC chapel. Eventually, the congregation outgrew the small chapel, and church members negotiated with the missionary society to expand the facilities. The society granted the church a ninety-nine-year lease in 1949 to build a new sanctuary next to the Bible Chair building. The growth of the church quickly outpaced the demands of the TBC, and in the early 1950s the missionary society transferred control of the TBC and its assets to the Texas Association of Christian Churches. In exchange for the land, the University Christian Church promised to contribute $25,000 to a permanent trust for the continued support of the Texas Bible Chair. Other financial support comes from the Texas Association of Christian Churches, Austin area churches, and individual donations. In the 1950s the original building of the TBC was demolished to make room for University Christian Church facilities. Housed in the church, the Texas Bible Chair continues to offer religious instruction to university students.

The Inman Christian Center, formerly the Mexican Christian Institute, was originally a settlement house founded in 1913 for Mexican Americans in the San Antonio area (see SETTLEMENT HOUSES). The founders were on the Christian Women's Board of Missions. Within the settlement house, Samuel G. Inman, director of Mexican missionary work for the Disciples of Christ, and Hugh McLellan, minister at Central Christian Church in San Antonio, established a school for the children of the neighborhood. In 1961 the institute changed its name to Inman Christian Center. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s the center offered kindergarten classes, health clinics, a library, boys' and girls' clubs, naturalization instruction, parents' forums, and cultural events to the mainly Hispanic community. In 1994 the center served low-income families, the elderly, and children through ministries of education, health, substance-abuse prevention and treatment, social services, and housing.

In 1994 the Christian Church continued to sponsor Texas Christian University in Fort Worth and Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins. Brite Divinity School, the theological seminary at TCU, prepares persons for Christian ministry. Although related and supported by the Christian Church, Brite maintains an ecumenical spirit as reflected in the denominational diversity of its student body and faculty. See also THORP SPRING CHRISTIAN COLLEGE.

  • Education
  • Religion
  • Christian Church

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Noel L. Keith and Kenneth L. Teegarden, “Christian Church Education,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 06, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 10, 2020