Our church was established in 1902 after six men and their families split from Price Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church. These six founding fathers were Mack D. Steele, Daniel Pearson, George Rorrie, Bob Gaines, William Phifer, and James Cannon. The new church was organized as the First Congregational Christian Church and was located in a house on the corner of Broad and Fox Streets. The pastor that first year was the Rev. Lewis H. Wyche and the trustees were Scott King, Mack Steele, Robert Coltrain, Martin Hewey, and Joe Garrett. There were 30 members on the roll and the building and the land were valued at $200.
Our second pastor, from the years 1905 to 1911, was the Rev. John R. Mallard and during that time membership rose to 34. The next three years the congregation was led by the Rev. Henry R. Walden. During that period an actual church building was erected. The church and land then increased in value to $500.
Next the church was led by the Rev. J. H. Hudgin, followed in 1918 by the Rev. William A. Clark. In 1924 the church was put on wheels and rolled up the hill to this present location.
Rev. Clark was followed by Rev. Obadiah W. Hawkins who in turn was followed by the Rev. Thomas J. Moore, the father of our own Robert Moore and Elmira Moore Polk. He was pastor from 1928-1936 and during his ministry membership grew from 27 to 78. The trustees were Jessie Craig, John Russell, Scott Audrey, Pete Young, and Richard Rice. The church treasurer was H.W. Steele, Sr. Many clubs were formed during this period including the Pastor's Aide Club, the Rainbow Club, and the Ladies Relief Club.
In 1936 the church had a supply minister from the A.M.E. Zion church. His name was Rev. S.A. Kaiser. In 1937 Rev. Henry B. Banks became minister. During his four years, a young usher board was formed. Some familiar names of that young board were Mary Steele, Margaret Steele, and Lawrence Steele.
In 1941 Rev. S.A. Kaiser was again the supply minister. He was replaced by Rev. Lloyd Harden in 1942 and Rev. Ronald M. Coley in 1943. Rev. Coley was known for his work with the youth of the church and was instrumental in making plans for the construction of this present church building.
The Rev. Edgar Ward took over in 1948 while Rev. Coley took a leave of absence. In 1950 Rev. Coley returned. In 1952 the construction of the new church building was completed. It had a property value of $20,000.
Rev. F.D. Morgan ministered from 1953 to 1962. During this time, in 1957, the church, as did other Congregational and Christian churches, merged with the Evangelical and Reformed Churches to form the United Church of Christ denomination. From that point on First Congregational was known as First United Church of Christ.
Rev. A. Rudolph Hendricks became pastor in 1964, followed by Rev. H.L. Pinckney in 1965 and Rev. Raymond Worsley in 1969.
In 1970 the Reverend Ervin E. Milton became the minister and the church became involved in the Southern Conference of the national body of the United Church of Christ. Reverend Thomas H. Clawson came aboard as supply pastor in 1975 and was ordained here in 1979. Under his leadership of nearly eighteen years, the church made several improvements such as installing stained glass windows, adding air conditioning, and providing access for the handicapped.
Rev. Clawson resigned in 1993 and Rev. Johnnie Jones, a long-time member of the church served as interim pastor. In November 1994, Rev. Dr. A. Rudolph Hendricks returned to First Church as pastor. During his tenure, the church purchased new hymnals, began a Bible Study group and instituted a children's sermon during Sunday Morning Worship. Also a Building Fund and a Scholarship Fund were started.
Reverend Hendricks resigned in April of 2000, and Reverend Harold O. Robinson served as supply pastor until June 2001. Reverend Edward L. Holloway became our supply pastor in August 2001 and accepted the call to be our minister in March 2002. He was formally installed in July 2002.
We have added the word Congregational back into our Church name, and have installed a replacement cornerstone to the Church, reminding us of both our history and our heritage.
We are proud members of the UCC Southern Conference (Western North Carolina Association) and support the national church through offerings such as One Great Hour of Sharing, Neighbors In Need, and Our Church’s Wider Mission.
We are also proud members of the local community. We assist our neighbors by donating to local charities and fundraisers. Our Health and Wellness Committee holds health screenings/checks, workshops, and classes for the area. Our Pancake Ministry hosts a Free Pancake Breakfast program every third Saturday morning. Our Outreach Ministry goes out into the community, administering prayers and invitations to Christ, and at Halloween they hold October Fest, providing a safe “trick or treating” experience for children.
As the world enter the 2020 COVID pandemic that did not stop our church pressing forward. We were able to establish two new ventures that have helped to keep us connected as a community. We now have a podcast that is able to spread our Sunday services throughout the world with thousands of downloads to date, and for our members who are unable to attend in person we have a livestream service so that they can continue to be connected to our church community.
The world has changed in 121 years, but our future with Christ has not. As we move forth into the 21st Century, we know there will be challenges ahead for the Church as well as for Christians in general. As the saying goes, "United we stand, divided we fall." Let us unite together in prayer, in peace, and in love. If God is with us, we cannot fail.
For one hundred and twenty one years First Congregational United Church of Christ has provided a place of worship for those who wish to commune with the Lord. We thank God for His Good Will toward us.
Name Approximate Date of Service (And Affiliation)
Lewis H. Wyche 1904-1905
John R. Mallard 1905-1911
Henry R. Walden 1911-1915
J.H. Hudgin ? - 1917
William A. Clark 1918-1924
Obadiah W. Hawkins 1926-1927
Thomas J. Moore 1928-1935
S.A. Kaiser 1936-1937; Supply (A.M.E.Z.)
Henry B. Banks 1937-1940
S.A. Kaiser 1941-1942; Supply (A.M.E.Z.)
Lloyd Harden 1942
Ronald M. Coley 1943-1947
Edgar W. Ward 1948-1949 (Presbyterian)
Ronald M. Coley 1950-1953
F.D. Morgan 1953-1962 (Methodist)
A.R. Hendricks 1964 (Presbyterian)
H.L. Pinckney 1965-1968 (Presbyterian)
R. Worsley 1969 (Presbyterian)
Ervin E. Milton 1970-1973
J. Scales 1974-1975; Supply
Thomas H. Clawson 1975-1993
Johnnie Jones 1993-1994; Interim
A.R. Hendricks 1994-2000
H.O. Robinson 2000-2001; Supply (A.M.E.Z.)
Edward L. Holloway 2001-Present