Pulaski Heights Christian Church
Little Rock, Arkansas
Pulaski Heights Christian Church was founded in 1927, so we have a very long history. Everything about the church is being transformed through the Grace of God at this time. We have a long historical tradition to honor, and a new "history" to build from today forward. Step into our "time machine" as we travel backward through the accomplishments of this Congregation.:
The church was 90 years old on October 7, 2017. We had a 90th Birthday Celebration, and celebrated 25 years as an Open & Affirming congregation, on November 5, 2017, with many guests in attendance. During Worship we heard from former pastor Rev. Arnold Nelson, the Regional Minister, Rev. Dr. Nadine Burton, former pastor Rev. Donna Rountree, and our 17th minister, Rev. Susan Miller. A moment was given to recognition of The Little Rock Nine, with a special honor for Thelma Mothershed-Wair, who worshipped with us on that day. During our luncheon Rev. Judge Wendell Griffin honored us with his words. And we had a new logo designed by Rev. Miller with assistance from graphic artist Mick Wiggins. That week The Arkansas Times cover article was "Hero in the Pulpit," about Rev. Colbert Cartwright, and his time as our minister in the crucial period from 1954 to 1964.
On October 7, 2012 a special Birthday edition of the PHCC newsletter The Good News was issued to celebrate the 85th Birthday of the congregation.
On October 7, 2007 the church celebrated the 80th anniversary of its founding with The Rev. Will Feland returning to his childhood family’s church to preach.
In 2005 our church became one of the eight founding churches of the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Little Rock which houses, feeds, and nurtures homeless families while they work to get back on their feet.
In 1992 Pulaski Heights Christian Church voted to become Open and Affirming. In the fall of 1991 there was a horrific General Assembly of the denomination in Tulsa. The assembly had failed to elect a new general minister because he belonged to Gay Lesbian and Affirming Disciples (GLAD). Pulaski Heights Christian Church voted to become Open and Affirming to express solidarity with those valuable members who were or are gay and lesbian. However, it was clearly understood that the issue of sexuality is only one issue of importance in the notion of an "Open and Affirming" Congregation. There are also the matters of marital history, race and anything else that might make one excluded anywhere else. This church was tenth in the denomination nationwide to declare itself Open and Affirming. It is the first and only church from our denomination in the State of Arkansas to declare such a status.
In 1969 our Congregation hosted a community-wide Service of Reconciliation for Blacks and Whites.
In 1959 the new sanctuary with its stained glass windows (an anonymous gift from Winthrop Rockefeller) was dedicated on May 17. Four of the nine windows are shown on our Worship Time Page, with closeups of the insets featuring our church motto.
In 1957 Pastor Colbert Cartwright walked with the Little Rock Nine. Also in 1957, a plan to build a facility remarkably like Pulaski Heights Presbyterian Church, was scrapped when the church lost so many members over the desegregation crises at Little Rock Central High School. Instead of the new sanctuary, it was decided to remodel the old chapel by wrapping it in brick.
During the 1940s, following the relocation of Japanese Americans from California to internment camps in other states, our Pastors served the two Arkansas Relocation Camps for interned Japanese-Americans at Jasper, and at Rowher, Arkansas.
Also in the 1940s, Pulaski Heights Christian Church helped form the Religion & Labor Fellowship in solidarity with the union movement.
During the Great Depression the minister became concerned that some might feel embarrassed about their inability to make financial contributions to Pulaski Heights Christian. So, in the 1930s our Congregation substituted use of the Treasury Chest instead of passing the plates for the morning offering. Although we have begun to pass the plates once more, the Treasure Chest is still available.
Pulaski Heights Christian Church was formed in 1927 by 33 people who lived in the Heights area of Little Rock. Dr. Joseph Hunter was called as pastor for the congregation. Immediately, the congregation became a trendsetting institution when Pulaski Heights became the first Open Membership church in the South, a really big deal in those days. Mrs. Hunter had been baptized Methodist (sprinkled); while tradition in the Disciples was that baptism required immersion, her membership was accepted, anyway. The Open Membership position continues today.
The tradition of intending Justice and supporting Equality among all humans continues to this day. We believe that the Congregation has great opportunities to make remarkable choices in the future.