In 1949 Rev. George Breaden, while a student at Asbury Seminary, began a series of tent meetings on the corner of High Street and Ransom Avenue. When the weather got colder, the tent meeting changed to home Bible studies. Early attendees included H.T. and Minnie Otis with three of their children (Jackie, Jerry and David), Gordon and Peggy Larson, the Masters family, the Culp family, and Leroy Saunier.
The first permanent structure was the old Epworth Methodist Church on the corner of Walnut and Rand (the two congregations shared the facilities). Leroy Saunier and Jackie Otis were married in that facility.
In 1951 the Rev. W.P. Darling became pastor but died of lung cancer less than a year later.
The Rev. Kenneth Johnson came in 1952 with his wife and three kids, one of them being Joanna, who later married Jerry Otis.
In 1956, Rev. Maurice Irvin became pastor, and the congregation officially organized as the Walnut Street Alliance Church. He was followed by the Rev. Walter Thomas, who served from 1961-1965. The facility on Walnut Street was deteriorating, so in May, 1964, the congregation moved to Cardinal Valley Elementary School where they stayed until May 1965 when the church moved into—and became—Cardinal Valley Alliance Church.
Rev. S.F. Porter pastored the church from 1965-1972, and Rev. Ralph Marks led it from 1972-1974. By this time the Cardinal Valley facility was at capacity level, so it was time to move again. The property on Old Higbee Mill Road was available, but financing was not. Several members of the congregation took out personal loans to help pay for the property, others co-signed the mortgage note, and some did both.
Rev. Keith McKnight led the congregation from 1974-1978, but ground was not broken for the new building until 1978. Rev. David Klinsing led the congregation through that building project and into the present facility from 1978-1986. The first service to take place on the Old Higbee Mill Road site was on Easter Sunday, 1979.
In 1987, Rev. Ronald Gifford became senior pastor, and in 1990 a new Church Family Fellowship Center was added to the facility. This building is used for classrooms, recreational activities, church offices, andfellowship gatherings. To accommodate their continued growth, the church went to two services in August, 1992. During this same time period, Quest Community Church was launched. Quest stayed within our facility at first, and then moved to its own location, with its focus being on the unchurched in Lexington. Also during that time, Greg Leffel began attending First Alliance while at Asbury Seminary. In 1998, as a part of the district church planting program, Greg began a work called Communality in downtown Lexington. Communality is located approximately three blocks from the site of the original tent meetings back in 1949.
In 2001, Dr. Steve Elliott came from Calgary, Alberta (Canada) to serve as pastor. In his time here at First Alliance, we have completed an ambitious building project to enhance our Children’s Ministry facilities, as well as expand and update our Atrium. The project was completed in 2008, and we are all enjoying our new facilities. In April, 2010 the church offices were moved and updated as well.
During Dr. Elliott’s time at First Alliance, attendance and membership have jumped dramatically, and the church has been experiencing a season of unprecedented vitality and growth. We would love it if you came and were a part of this joyful season of church life!