The Rev. Samuel Montgomery who served from 1852-1855 started monthly concerts of prayer and collections for missions. The church was granted membership in the Cleveland Conference on November 3, 1855. Two years later the church sent delegates to the Conference of Presbyterian and Congregational Churches of Lorain and Medina Counties which was held in Elyria. The decision to build a new church came in 1872 when Mr. McCarthy took over the pastorate. In 1873 the frame church building was moved across the street and to the west of Stoney Ridge Road where it was remodeled into a house. On the building committee were Turland T. Winckles, Wyllis Terrell, J. Shandon Terrell, and Edward Ames. The congregation voted to build the new church where the frame building had been. The building cost was divided into shares of $10.00 each and work began on June 27, 1873, when ground was broken by Deacon Tomlinson and Ed Ames who plowed the first furrow. The pastor’s crippled son, Earnest McCarthy, spent all day throwing dirt out of the furrow with a fire shovel.
The building was not completed until 1876. The long time it took was due, in part, to the congregation’s unwillingness to go into debt and also because most of the labor was donated. Joshua Lickorish worked on the church hauling most of the stone for the foundation. Another member, James Sayers, who was a carpenter, building mover, and blacksmith, helped in the building of the church. When completed there remained $600.00 in debt. This amount along with a previous debt of $1,516.00 were quickly liquidated by two members and the church was completed debt free. The total cost to build the church came to $10,800.00.
The new church was completed in 1876 but the first service was held on Christmas Day in 1875. The new church was dedicated on January 22, 1876 and renamed The First Congregational Church of North Ridgeville. Rev. J.M. Merrill who served from 1875-1878 was pastor at the time. The new church was lit by kerosene lamps which had to be raised and lowered making an attic necessary, and heating was by a pot-bellied stove. A coal furnace was eventually installed in the basement with a single grate in the middle of the center aisle.
As of January 1879, there were 47 members in the church and 150 scholars in the Sabbath School. Joshua Lickorish was Sabbath School Superintendent. There was no settled pastor at this time and the pulpit was filled every Sabbath with ministers from Oberlin.
No matter who you are, or where you are on life's journey, you're welcome here!
At the heart of what it means to be O&A is to ground everything we say and do in love. That means you are loved, accepted, and valued no matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey! We know there are far too many places in our lives where we hear that we are not good enough, or not worth being loved. Whether it's from the advertisements we see to the people around us, we question our value and worth. We might even hear it from ourselves, from that voice of self-doubt within us.
No matter who tries to tell you that you aren’t worth being loved and appreciated, we will show you how loved you really are. To put it simply, when you walk through the doors of First Congregational UCC, you will enter into a faith family who loves and supports you, just for being you. No matter your race, age, ethnicity, ability, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, family structure, or economic circumstances, you are loved just as you are.
We have learned that love can truly change the world, and we hope you join us as we work to change it for the better.