On March 7, 1837, sixteen persons gathered to form what is now the First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, in Union City. This was soon after the recording of the original village plat on August 27, 1835.
The first meetings were held in a room over the General store and later moved to a carpenter shop. In 1840, the first regular House of Worship was built on East Hgih Street and was called "Saints' Rest." A bell was hung to call the people to worship and the barrel pulpit was replaced by one more decorative.
In 1855, on land donated by Col. Thomas Moseley, construction of this building was begun and in November 1858 the cornerstone was laid. The building was completed at a cost of $14,000 and was dedicated on February 5, 1862.
A bell, which was the gift of Col. Moseley, arrived in 1865. Before it could be hung, word came that Col. Moseley had passed away while on a trip. The bell tolled for the first time for his funeral. After five years, that bell was found to be of poor tone and was replaced in 1870 by the bell in place today.
In 1873 a Lecture Room, now named the Fellowship Hall, was added for the sum of $850 which included a stove and 100 chairs.
On May 10, 1884, a special meeting of the First Congregational Society of Union City was held "to consider an application of the Corbin Post G.A.R. to erect a monument on the Society's grounds in memory of those who died in their country's service in the late Civil War." On July 28, 1897, permission was given to erect the cannons under the same agreement.
In 1909, the board walks were replaced with cement and an addition, a gymnasium, reading room, dressing room and cabinet shop, was started on the east end of the building. This became the home of the Young Men's Club, organized in 1907, "for the cultivation of good citizenship in its members." Privileges were open to all young men of Union City and vicinity. Boys under 15 years were "allowed the use of the building on Saturday mornings at fifty cents each for the season." Girls were allowed to have exclusive use of the building for athletic purposes two afternoons a week and one evening a month at that time.
Major improvements were begun in the sanctuary in 1917, which included the removal of the gallery at the west end of the sanctuary, new pews, windows, and the organ replaced.
In 1918, the combination hand-painted and stained-glass windows were installed in the sanctuary, entryways, towers, and the two doors leading to the Fellowship Hall. The largest of these is The Angelus. The windows were made and installed by the Flanagan & Biedenweg Company at a cost of $1,011.20. The windows have remained a beautiful part of our sanctuary.
The windows were cleaned, repaired, and plate-glass covereings were installed in the years 1999-2001.
According to historical records, music has always been an important part of our worship services as it is today.
The year 1880 brought another renovation and an archway was cut through the east wall to the "lecture room" to provide a 12' x 16' organ loft. The finished arrangement placed the organ and choir directly behind the pulpit.
Among other changes in 1918, during the Diamond Jubilee Celebration of the laying of the cornerstone, a new electric console was installed centered under the pipes. In 1957 this console was removed and a larger console installed in its present location. The pipes were retained.
Various renovations have been done over the years and a major restoration was completed in 1990. This included revoicing and rescaling, additional ranks, and updating of the blower system. In 2013 the kitchen, copy and music storage rooms, and both restrooms were all renovated, as well as a handicap accessible ramp built on the side of the church.
The Pilcher organ now has 14 ranks with over 600 pipes. It is a two-manual instrument with a 2 1/2-octave pedal board. The organ was dedicated on june 10, 1990.
A Steinway Style II grand piano, built in 1878, is used often in our services as well.
The year after our church was founded, the ladies of the church met to discuss the plight of local Indians. One of the Chiefs had asked for help for his people after suffering a very hard winter. The women of the church then organized The Ladies Benevolent Society, collected food from their larders and made clothing and blankets for the Indians.
Thus was the beginning of the Women's Fellowship, composed of all women of the church joining together. The women are faithful in caring and contributing to the work of the church, and both local and world missions.
We pray that, by God's grace our church will continue to grow and carry His word to people in our community and the world.