First Congregational History
On June 1, 1872, our congregation organized as First Congregational Church of Huntington, just narrowly out voting the choice for a Presbyterian affiliation. Our first members (not unlike today), brought “Letters of Membership Transfer” from many denominations such as: Baptist, Church of Christ, Christian Church, Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Protestant, Presbyterian, among others. Not long after the organization of the church, the Depression of 1873 hit the region and state.
The first classes of the Huntington High School were held in the facility of First Congregational. The first “publicly accessible” library was situated within the facility of First Congregational. And, under the leadership of Dr. Alexander Burns, a member of First Congregational and President of the Board of Education, a grant from Andrew Carnegie was secured in the amount of $25,000 for the building of the Huntington Public Library.
Through out the years, First Congregational has been a shelter for the City of Huntington for victims of the Flood of 1913, the Swine Influenza Epidemic of 1918, the Flood of 1937, and other major area catastrophes. First Congregational also has a long history of being on the forefront of the “peace and social justice” issues that our country has found itself in through out our, nearly, 140 year history. First Congregational was the first church in the city of Huntington to rise up in the 1920’s during Women’s Suffrage in support of all woman and equal rights. First Congregational was the first church in the Huntington to “officially oppose discrimination and segregation” of the 1950’s and 60’s. First Congregational became the first church in the city to integrate.
First Congregational Church became First Congregational United Church of Christ in 1957, following a congregational vote to join the merger of the Congregational Christian Churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Congregations. This new denomination (in 1957) now known as the United Church of Christ can, and does, trace it’s heritage back to the early 1600’s and The Pilgrims who were seeking liberation from the Church of the State and a more congregational church polity and rule.
Since 1957, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Huntington, has honored it’s strong “peace and social justice” heritage by remaining on the forefront of social issues that have impacted our area and region. FCUCC has proudly lifted it’s role as a “theologically progressive” congregation, giving each person the right and privilege to come into their own understanding of God, Scripture, and Doctrine. FCUCC takes a strong stand against inequality of any marginalized group or people whose rights may be discriminated against. This, we feel, was the message of Christ who continuously made his was through the religious rulers of his time to lift up the outcast, rejected, and disenfranchised.
In 2012, First Congregational UCC, Huntington, continues to express an “Extravagant Welcome” to all people. The theme of FCUCC is, “Regardless of who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.” FCUCC spends a great deal of energy and attention holding to this practice and belief of belonging and acceptance. We honor our fore-bearers and predecessors by maintaining the progressive work which they began so very long ago. From the Nineteenth Century to the Twenty-First Century, First Church stands strong with Christ Jesus as the Head of the Church.