History of Forest Grove United Church of Christ

A little bit of our history

The settlement of the church in Forest Grove was consistent with previous United Church of Christ history that brought early settlers to the Americas from several European locations. Separatists from England, to be known as Congregationalists, settled in New England and joined with other East Coast Christians in 1931. German Evangelicals settled in the Midwest while German Reformed people settled in Pennsylvania and the two denominations became one in 1934. In a unique move to bring multiple strains of the Reformation together into one denomination the previously mentioned groups became known as the United Church of Christ in 1957. As a denomination we continue to grow in stature and in truth as people enter our fellowship from many cultures and traditions. We continue to live with the hope that all God’s children may someday be one, so we will always affiliate with people of other churches and other faiths to discern God’s will for our time.

Forest Grove UCC springs from the Congregational part of the tradition. It formed when, in 1845, seven settlers of the Oregon Country gathered in a log building that also served as a, school, on what is now the campus of Pacific University. It is the oldest mainland United Church of Christ congregation west of Missouri, and has met in four church structures since that log cabin. The present building was constructed in 1978.

We are one of 47 congregations that comprise the Central Pacific Conference of the UCC, which includes Oregon, southern Idaho, and two congregations in Washington. Our people continue the longstanding tradition offering a place for worship, education and fellowship out of which we are actively involved in service and social action, seeking the well being of all people. As stated in the UCC statement of faith, we are willing “to accept the cost and joy of discipleship . . . to be God’s servants in the service of others,” and we have accepted God’s call to be “Open and Affirming” to all God’s children.

For more on the history of Forest Grove and the UCC church please see “Images of America: Forest Grove.” by Lisa Amato, Mary Jo Morelli, and the friends of Historic Forest Grove.  Available through Arcadia Publishing.