By Mike Steely
At the entrance to the church is a simple white post with words written on both sides representing four different religions: Christian, Jewish, Buddhist and Islamic. All of the simple quotes reflect the same ideal: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
That’s the creed of the Northside Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) at 4008 Tazewell Pike in Fountain City. On Sunday, September 9, the church and its members and friends will celebrate 60 years. A luncheon starts at 10:50 a.m. that day. Worship services follow the luncheon in the Fellowship Hall. Rev. Fritz Haverkamp is the minister and has pastored the church for 10 years.
The congregation selected a very historic site to build, according to J. C. Tumblin, Fountain City historian and member of the church. Northside Christian sits on the site of Sol H. George’s mansion and horse farm. George founded the first department store in downtown Knoxville and eventually that store merged with Rich’s Department Stores of Atlanta.
George was a pioneer in the development of Fountain City and a principal in the Fountain Head Hotel and Resort and the Dummy Line railroad that brought citizens and visitors from downtown to that neighborhood.
The congregation began in George’s old mansion in 1958, founded by members of the Fifth Avenue First Christian, as the church next door was being built. The new Northside Christian Church building began services in 1961.
The church building was designed by Barber and McMurry architects of Knoxville and C. V. Decker Construction Company built it. Over the years the church membership and Sunday School grew as did their outreach to the community. Northside Christian knows its Christian calling challenges it to take bold, fresh steps of faith into the future.
“Regardless of the past or present circumstances, regardless of married or non-married status, regardless of economic status, regardless of past or present addictions, afflictions or troubles, regardless of sexual identity or gender, regardless of anything, you are an equal brother or sister in Christ with all through our Baptism. Come Worship with us at 10:50 Sunday Mornings.” That’s the message the Northside Christian Church has for anyone visiting their website at www.northsidedisciples.com.
“We invite people to participate with us in faith without insisting that all share the same beliefs. We do our best to treat others with the same humility and compassion that we wish to be treated,” is a commitment adopted by the members.