First Christian Church Celebrates 125 Years as Pastor Fights For Children

By Greg Ritchie

Messenger Reporter

CROCKETT – First Christian Church parishioners, church elders and well-wishers gathered Sunday, Nov. 19 to celebrate the 125th anniversary of their church at their building on Gordon Drive in Crockett. The Christian Church is known as the oldest domination in the United States. The Crockett church was founded in 1898 by a group who wanted to bring the church to Houston County, meeting at the old courthouse, at that time. Their current building was built 75 years ago. 

Pastor Timothy Allen said the group began meeting informally in 1896, before the church became official. Allen said the Christian Church denomination is similar to other Protestant churches. 

“Each church is autonomous, so there are no bishops and other hierarchy, it’s all controlled locally,” Allen explained. “The Christian denomination became, at one point, the Disciples of Christ, with the Church of Christ branching off from that.”

Although Allen was born in Virginia, his father was a Grapeland native, and he returned to the area in 1975, where his father was the longtime pastor of Wayside Bible Church in Crockett. Allen graduated from Grapeland High School before continuing his education as long as he could, “until my parents figured me out!” Allen joked. “I was ordained Baptist – now I’m just a Christian.”

The ceremony was not only to celebrate the church’s 125th anniversary and 75 years in their church home, they also celebrated three new deacons being inducted, with pictures from the church’s history and plenty of old stories from the church’s past from some of the founding families, still in the church, today. 

The Messenger caught up with Allen on his drive home from Austin where he meets regularly with lawmakers as part of his role as the President of the Texas Council of Child Welfare Boards. The Messenger reported recently on Allen’s efforts to improve the welfare of children across the state, some neglected, some abandoned, some taken under care after their parents’ arrest – some trafficked across the southern border. 

Pastor Timothy Allen of First Christian Church

“We had our annual presentation of awards for Child Protective Service workers and commissioners and were talking about what we are going to do with these unaccompanied minors coming across the border,” Allen said. “300,000 children have crossed the border since 2019. The U.S. Congress set up a vetting service to find them homes.”

Allen has questioned lawmakers on the whereabouts and wellbeing of all of those children. In Congressional hearings in Washington, government officials recently recognized the fact they were unable to locate 85,000 of those children, many of which are feared to have fallen into the hands of child traffickers and forced to work in sweatshops – or worse. 

Allen noted many of those children came through Texas and told lawmakers Texas should be accountable for what happens in Texas. 

“That’s when they started to find out many of the homes where these children were sent didn’t exist, phone numbers didn’t exist and that’s when they gave us the number of 85,000. So I said, ‘Texas, what are you accountable for?’”

Allen estimates there are around 6,000 of these migrant children unaccounted for, somewhere in the Lone Star State. Fearing the worst and with his ear to the ground on such matters, Allen is afraid of human and sex trafficking and even organ harvesting.

Saying no one wants to talk about it, Allen bemoaned the fact that Texas officials pass the buck back to Washington, blaming them for causing the problem and controlling the process that has misplaced so many young children. 

“We need to know where they are,” Allen demanded. 

Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]

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