Church delavan ucc

Church History

History of Our Church

Delavan United Church of Christ-Congregational, founded on July 31,1841, when James and Huldah Parsons, Chauncey Parsons, and Jacob and Deborah Cook met with Reverend Stephen Peet to organize a church.  On the 11th of August the first worship service was held in the home of one of the members.  Rev. A. Gaston, who served for two years, was the first pastor.  The members met in homes until April 1844 when the church voted to build a frame meeting house, a 32′ x 40′ structure just west of the present building.  It was not long before the membership had outgrown the facilities, and in February 1856 a new and larger church was dedicated, the same building that is in use today.  In 1891 the interior was remodeled and reseated with circular oak pews and the pulpit was moved to the west side in front of the three new founder’s memorial windows.

A parsonage was built in 1912 on the land adjacent to the church that had been the site of the first church building.  In 1926 the education building was dedicated, and in 1951 an extensive remodeling of the church was undertaken.  This restored the building to its 1856 general plan, with the sanctuary arranged as it is today.  Changes were made, however, to surrounding areas.  In 1994 an addition to the east side of the education wing was constructed, including a church balcony, a large lobby, conference room and increased office space.  It was completed and dedicated in 1995.  Other physical changes to the property included the selling and moving of the parsonage to Vine Street in 1980 and the creation of a memorial garden in its space.

The church has been fortunate to have a century and a half of dedicated pastors, many with long tenures which added stability and growth in both faith and numbers.  Of particular note are the ministries of Rev. Joseph Collie from 1854-1895 and that of Rev. Max Rigert from 1969 to 2001.  During Max Rigert’s pastorate the congregation sought additional leadership and learning through seminary students who served an intern year.  This was followed by the Rev. Laura McLeod being called as Associate Pastor in 1998.  After Rev. Rigert’s retirement, and following the two year pastorate of Dr. Les Wicker, Laura McLeod was called as the Senior Pastor.  

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