A new pastor at First Christian Church in Kaufman has arrived, but up until now, he has been a minister of a different denomination than the Disciples of Christ Church.
David Hunt began serving the church in April, replacing the Rev. Phillip Chacko, who had served First Christian for 12 years.
For 43 years, Hunt has worked in different Assembly of God congregations, but he said the shift between the two different denominations isn’t a vast difference.
“The nature of the Disciples of Christ is its inclusive ministry,” Hunt said, noting that the liturgies, or type of worship used at each service, are fairly similar.
The Disciples of Christ believe in “No book but the Bible, not creed but Christ,” he noted.
Hunt said he was approached about working in Kaufman by Chacko, since they had been friends for years. He and his wife, Carolyn, visited Kaufman to meet the congregation, and they thought it might be a good fit.
“I’m enjoying the transition to the church, the people, and the town,” Hunt said. He previously had worked in Texas before relocating to serve different congregations in Alabama for 20 years. He said his wife counted this as the 24th move they have made, although he has stayed at different congregations for six years or as long as 12 years.
“It’s a very friendly place,” he said of Kaufman. “I’m ready to become a part of the community.”
While Kaufman doesn’t have a shortage of churches, Hunt noted that instead of competing for the same members, local pastors and congregations try to reach out to those who do not have a church home and serve community members in their time of need.
Sandy Stahlman, a member of First Christian, noted that Hunt’s personable nature is part of what makes him a good fit with his new congregation.
“I think he will bring that light to a lot of people,” she said.
First Christian, located at 504 S. Houston St., has roots dating back to 1861, when congregants met in their homes, studied the Bible, and occasionally heard from an itinerant preacher. In July 1877, they moved into a building where they met for almost 80 years. In December 1956, a two-story colonial residence at 504 South Houston Street was purchased to serve as their new church. However, that building burned down one week before Easter in 1961.
The congregation quickly moved to acquire new facilities. They were able to relocate, move and remodel two barracks from Love Field in Dallas. The work started in July of 1961 and was completed early part of October. The two barracks still serve as church offices, along with the addition of a new fellowship hall.
In 1980 a Texas Historical Marker was unveiled and dedicated honoring the history of the church. Inside the church are beautiful windows made of slab glass, which are blocks of glass bigger than a stained glass window, but creating a similar effect.
In 2006, the congregation changed the name of the church to Grace Christian, but recently, it switched back to the original name, First Christian Church of Kaufman.
Hunt said part of his work includes helping bring new technology and ideas to a historic congregation. He has revamped the website and started a cell phone app for members of the congregation to receive news and updates, an online calendar, a Bible program and podcasts with sermons.
“It’s a neat little tool,” he said.
First Christian Church meets at 10:30 a.m. every Sunday for coffee and doughnuts, with worship starting at 10:45. Hunt can be reached at (972) 923-2045. The church’s website is www.firstchristiankaufman.org.