First Congregational United Church of Christ of Berea
The Mission Planning Group plans for service by the community of faith at First Church in the name of Jesus to those in need, especially those outside of the church, and carries this charge through its ministry teams. It is responsible for evaluating human need, informing the congregation of the needs of other and organizing both financial and membership response and is open to receive suggested ministry opportunities from the Ministerium and the congregation at large.
Responsibilities of the Mission Planning Group are:
-Visiting Confirmation class work camp
-Doing community service
-Second Mile Shops
-Area-Wide Ecumenical Programs
-Outreach ministries of the United Church of Christ at all levels of organization.
-Annual recommendations to the Ministerium of the special offerings to be received by the church.
-Mission and Just Peace education and interpretation.
The Pilgrims who came over from England on the Mayflower in 1620 founded the Congregational Churches in America. As these churches spread across the continent, their meetinghouse democracy contributed to the establishment of the democratic foundations of our country.
On June 9, 1855, a group of seven Christians, all of whom favored abolishing slavery, met in the Union School of Berea, a small brick building west of the present property. The meeting of this group (smaller than that of the original disciples!) provided the impetus for a church that has multiplied many times in numbers and has historically been a vital spiritual and humanitarian force in Berea.
By 1872 the membership numbered 94, and a new building was erected on the present church site at Seminary and Church Streets. The building has undergone several additions and renovations to provide adequate Sunday school classroom, meeting rooms, and office space. The 100-foot steeple was added in 1955, the church’s centennial year. Today, members volunteer funds to keep it lighted as an expression of faith, in memory of loved ones, or to mark special observances.
The First Congregational Church of Berea, which from its inception has been a totally self-governing body in the Puritan tradition, voted in 1957 to become an affiliate of the newly formed United Church of Christ that brought together the Congregational Christian and Evangelical and Reformed Churches. This action caused members to examine their faith and their ministry. With commitment to the UCC, renewed dedication to the fellowship of the local congregation and to the ministry of Jesus Christ resulted.