In 1958, according to the wishes of our denomination, both congregations changed their names again. So, the two churches became Payne Avenue Christian Church (Christiana Street) and Central Christian Church (Wheatfield Street).
By the 1950's the economy was booming in North Tonawanda. A massive new housing development was under construction. It was the Wurlitzer Park area. To meet the needs of the new neighborhood, the developer of Wurlitzer Park, Pearce & Pearce, set aside two tracts of land for churches: one Catholic and one Protestant.
A site of two and three quarter acres at the corner of Rule Road and Vanderbilt Avenue was deeded to the Disciples of Christ for a third North Tonawanda church. A nucleus of members came from both Payne Avenue and Central Churches. On May 25, 1958, the first worship service of this new church was held at the Wurlitzer Organ Plant. Meeting at the Wurlitzer Plant for 20 months, the new congregation set about building it's new church facility. The first service held in the Community Christian Church at 1400 Rule Road was on January 24, 1960.
After years of separation, the congregations of Payne Avenue and Central Christian Church voted to merge on February 19, 1961. March 26, 1961 (Palm Sunday) was the first worship service of the merged church. The merged congregation voted to use the Central Church building (Payne Avenue and Wheatfield Street) and take on the name Payne Avenue Christian Church.
The old Payne Avenue Church building was sold to the Church of the Nazarene. That church disbanded several years ago. After years of standing vacant, the building was purchased and is now a private residence.
Community Christian Church disbanded on June 30, 1970. The building was sold to the Sutherland Lodge.
In 1996 the congregation of Payne Avenue Christian Church voted to move to a location where a modern, new building could be built with a large parking lot and room to grow. The first proposed location was the then vacant and unfinished strip mall on Niagara Falls Boulevard in front of Crestview Nursing Home. That location was eventually by-passed.
About five years ago, we purchased 20 acres of farmland on Shawnee Road. We purchased an additional five acres.
The church building at Payne Avenue and Wheatfield Street was for sale for four years. During that time we did not have one credible offer. We took the building off the market. Shortly after taking the building off the market, the congregation of St. Mary/St. Moses Coptic Christian Church made an offer to purchase the building. This unexpected opportunity necessitated our hurried leaving.
Until construction on our new church is completed, we are meeting at the Sutherland Lodge - formerly Community Christian Church - at the corner of Rule Road and Vanderbilt Avenue.
We have a hundred and fifteen year presence in North Tonawanda. We have met in many different locations: a school, a bar, a private home, and four different church properties. We have had many names: North Christian, Payne Avenue Church of Christ, Central Church of Christ, the Tabernacle, the Church of Christ, Community Christian, and Payne Avenue Christian Church.
But through it all, we have been a family. We have sung together and prayed together, worshipped together and played together. We have mourned and laughed. We have grown and studied and learned together. Sometimes we even argued and fought, hurt and angered each other. But through it all, we found an avenue to love each other.