First Congregational Church Columbus Ohio

$7.39

First Congregational Church Columbus Ohio

  • The First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ
    Columbus, Ohio
    1852 – Present
  • With a $1,000 loan provided by their brethren from Second Presbyterian, the newly formed church purchased a lot on the northeast corner of Third Street and Lynn Alley. There a frame chapel was erected. A formal call was extended to The Rev. William H. Marble. Under The Rev. William Marble’s earnest and integral leadership, the chapel was dedicated on July 11 and the church first worshiped in their new chapel on Sunday, September 26, 1852 and officially signed the charter of organization on Wednesday, September 29, 1852. May we always remember they worshiped before they conducted the business of the church
  • By 1856, the church was fittingly renamed The First Congregational Church, Columbus. With church membership steadily increasing, First Church was entertaining plans for a more spacious building.   The church followed these words of admonition from Henry C. Bowen, a leading Congregationalist who said, “Buy a lot facing your State House and build a good building. The bravest policy is the best.”   With the purchase of land directly across from the State House in 1856, members began to build under the leadership of their new pastor, The Rev. J.M. Steele. Only five months into his pastorate, the energetic Rev. Steele set out for New York City to raise $7000 for the Norman-style building. Tragically, he contracted smallpox during the pursuit and died shortly thereafter. Grieving their loss, the brave little church pressed ahead and on December 23, 1857 they dedicated their new building at 73 East Broad Street.
  • The Rev. Dr. Goodwin arrived in Columbus within a month of the election of Abraham Lincoln. An active abolitionist, Dr. Goodwin preached with fire and purpose. It was said that whatever timidity there may have been in other pulpits, the pulpit of First Church gave forth no uncertain sound. Throughout the Civil War, you could find him in the camp and field hospitals caring for the soldiers.   Under his guiding hand the church grew continuously, even in the face of war. When President Lincoln’s body was moved from Washington, D.C., to Springfield, Ill., following his assassination, Dr. Goodwin was one of only two Ohio pastors to lead the service for almost 100,000 people on Capital Square in Columbus on April 29, 1865.
  • In 1943, a popular lecturer and preacher, The Rev. Dr. Boynton Merrill followed as our minister. Dr. Merrill was the editor of the worship material in the back of the 1934 Pilgrim Hymnal. He also wrote the booklet of prayers for soldiers fighting in WWII. Most who remember Boynton Merrill remember his passion for aesthetics, especially poetry.   He brought music to life in this church’s history. Under Dr. Merrill’s leadership the debt on our building was retired and our commitment to the fullness of worship in music and preaching was deepened. During his first week here (March 1943), he wrote a letter to the congregation: “I tell you, you have a beautiful church. We must conspire together to set that beauty free. For when beauty’s wings are spread and beauty’s face is seen, men may not call it God, but in their hearts they know that it is.” In his closing words in The First Church News. penned September 27, 1959, Dr. Merrill wrote: “Only as we know the Church will we love her and only as we love her will we serve her. And, as we serve her we will serve Him to whom this Church really belongs and for the sake of whose Kingdom of Love and Righteousness she exists.”  

 

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