Cary First Christian Church was first named Cary Christian Church over one hundred and fifty years ago in 1868. The story begins when Brothers Allan Hammon, Shade Rufin, Tom Brown, Henry Stroud, and Umstead Hicks held the first service under a brush harbor near the present site of the church cemetery off Kildaire Farm Road in Cary. Almost fifteen (15) years later – in 1883, services were moved to a location behind the present Cary Elementary School which was then the Cary Colored School. At that time, the church membership was the largest in Cary.
Cary First Christian Church is among the oldest churches in the town of Cary. Since our beginnings after the Civil War, our church has experienced five name changes: from Cary Christian Church, to Cary Congregational Christian Church, to Cary United Church of Christ, to Cary First United Church of Christ, and to its present name, Cary First Christian Church in 2004.
It was under the leadership of the tenth pastor, Rev. Joseph Burwell, where the congregation saw a need for a new church with modern facilities. Under Rev. Burwell’s leadership we moved to our present location.
Brother Clyde Evans, Sr. offered to give an acre of land for the site of a new church with an option for the church to purchase two additional acres. His offer was accepted, and in 1966 we began an official fundraising program to build the new church on Evans Road. Miss Dora Stroud presented the first building fund program and over $500.00 was raised. On the first Sunday in August of 1966 at our annual Homecoming observance, more that $5,000 was collected for the building of the new church.
The ground-breaking ceremony was held shortly thereafter with the chairman of the Building Committee, Brother Joseph H. Bailey, along with his committee, serving as the catalyst for members and friends of our church who gave free labor on Saturdays and holidays until the building was completed.
Rev. Burwell was the church’s principal architect, designer, and planner. The cornerstone was laid during a ceremony on July 4, 1968 and the building was formally dedicated on the first Sunday in September 1968. We have been blessed to worship in that facility to this day.
The first pastor of this church was the Reverend Dr. Mabry. Other ministers following Rev. Dr. Mabry, who all served prior to the year 1919, were the Reverends: Boyd, Dugger, Alexander, Ruffin, Hill and Allen.
After these seven pastors, beginning in 1919 until the present year, Cary First has had eight (8) additional pastors:
Reverend J. A. Henderson served for 18 years until 1937.
Reverend J. P. Mangum served for 7 years until 1944.
Reverend Joseph M. Burwell served as pastor for 37 years until his retirement in 1981.
Reverend Leowen Evans was pastor for 7 years until 1989.
Reverend Wilmer Brown served for 4 years from 1990 until April 1994.
Reverend Dr. Lillie Dewberry Jones began serving as our Interim Pastor from September 18, 1994 to January 14, 1995 and was elected as our part-time (and later full-time), first female pastor on January 14, 1995 until resigning in September 1998.
Reverend Prince Rainey Rivers, from Decatur, GA, officially became our pastor on Monday, November 1, 1999 until resigning in November 2002.
Reverend Charles D. Rainey, a native of Hillsborough, NC, began on January 1, 2005. He served until October 2014.
Reverend Mycal Xavier Brickhouse, our 16th and current pastor began serving on January 18, 2016. Rev. Brickhouse is leading towards a vision of, “Walking in Unity and Love to Engage, Empower, and Equip the Community to be Disciples.” Through this vision we have been serving beyond the four walls of the church, and making the community our congregation.
Not only has the rich heritage of this church been blessed with a number of pastors, but also with associate ministers. The first associate minister of this church was Randolph Burwell (1978). Other associate ministers included Angelo Carvana and Emmett Meadows in 1980, Evoria Peele in 1981, Yvonne Riddick in 1991, Ronald Lewis in 1995, James Washington, Phillip Smith and Tim Edelen in 1996, Lionel Carney in 1997, James Radcliff, Paul Engram, and Mae Hawkins in 1998, Ron Regular in 1999, Cynthia McCants in 2005, Melvin Bailey and Marie Faulkner in 2007.