Malachi 3:6 "I the Lord do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.
The History of our Church
Not all the names who were involved in the (forming, giving of materials, labors of love, ministering, etc.) throughout the history of the church were mentioned below due to the "lack of permission" to document their names publicly. So, a general write up of the history is recorded below. First and foremost, thank you to God for His continous Grace; many blessings, thanks and prayers of love to all who labored, inspired others and will continue to work in Christ to further His Kingdom. All Glory to God in the Highest!
- Date of Organization 1 Sept 1835
- Number of Charter Members 14
- First Minister 1836
- Dedication of the 1st Bldg. 17 Oct 1849
- Dedication of the 2nd Bldg. 17 Dec 1905
- Parsonage Built 1914
- Dedication of Current Bldg. 9 June 1957
- United with N.A.C.C.C 6 Dec 1973
On September 1, 1835, a group of citizens met at local home in a grove on the corner, one mile north of Sullivan to form a church.
The group decided to constitute themselves into a visible Church of Christ to be called the Church of Sullivan. The church agreed to adopt the
Congregational mode of discipline and to be under the care and watch of the Cleveland Presbytery. The first officers were chosen and by the
end of the first year there were 31 members. They immediately began looking for a site for a meeting house near Sullivan Center.
Up until this time they had been meeting in the homes of members. In 1838 they began to solicit funds for the new meeting house.
Around this time they were sharing the Town House with the Methodists and the Baptists.
The first minister was paid $45 for half time service during the year of 1836. In 1837 the church requested a dismissal from the Cleveland Presbytery and voted to have a new minister come and "labor with us as long as the Lord sees fit". In 1840 they were meeting in the Baptist meeting house and in this same year was granted an act of incorporation by the State of Ohio legislature as The First Congregational Church and Society of Sullivan, Township, Lorain County, Ohio.
In 1841 the trustees bought land, began work and a new church was dedicated on October 27, 1849. The work progressed very slowly, as materials were hard to get. Various methods were resorted to. To get shingles enough to cover the roof, saw-logs were exchanged for lath. This first church, a frame building, has been remodeled many times but is still in use in 1985 as a dwelling and stands at the curve of Church St.
After years of discussion and debates about whether the church should continue under the Congregational or Presbyterian ecclesiastical connections, the church voted on April 5, 1851 to withdraw from both and to stand independent. They united with the Cleveland Congregational Conference on April 5, 1851.
The church went through some rough times and in 1849 they asked for aid from the Ohio Home Missionary Society to help pay the salary of their minister. This help continued until 1900.
In 1864, we find the first mention of a chorister holding office. Today music is an important part of our worship service.
It was a happy day when on January 1, 1877, the minutes recorded "the church is free from all debts" We have a picture of the interior of this church showing how it was decorated for their semi-centennial celebration in 1885. The church grew and prospered and in 1897 the project of a new church was started. In 1904 the church decided to secure plans and go to work securing materials, funds and push the work to completion. The building site was given to the church. The church, which served so well for almost a half century, attested the wisdom and foresight of the building committee. The hard work and the great effort put forth were all worth it when this building was dedicated "for the work of God" on December 17, 1905.
In 1913 a site was given to the church by the same individuals who gave the main building site and this new property east of the church property adjoined the two properties together and in 1914 the present parsonage was built there.
In the records of the church, the first reference to the women was in February 1850 when the clerk entered his protest against females voting matters of discipline and resigned from office. In March of the same year, we find a resolution voted upon: "Resolved that the sisters in the church have the 'privilege' of voting in church matters. The clerk said that was not the point; instead of 'privilege' insert the word 'right'. This was agreed to and after discussion, the Ayes and Nayes were taken. Seven Ayes and seven Nayes -- the moderator cast the deciding nay.
In the minutes of the following meeting we read, "Two protests signed by a majority of the male members were read and voted to be entered on the records. We, the undersigned members of the First Congregational Church of Sullivan, do enter our solemn protest against the vote of the church, depriving females the right to vote, for the following reasons: First, it deprives them of their privilege and compels them to submit to discipline in which they can have no voice, contrary, as we believe, to the gospel liberty and our covenant vows. Second, because at the first church meeting after the complaint was entered against a Deacon, before a vote was taken, the Deacon called up the subject of females voting and said he considered it their privilege and duty, for if he was retained in the church, they had him to fellowship with as well as the rest of the males." On May 28, 1850, we read, "On motion the vote passed at a former meeting depriving females of the right to vote in the church matters was repeated by a unanimous vote." Then in April 1851, the church moved to rescind the vote passed on May 28, 1850, but no decision was reached. On May 31, 1851 the men asserted their rights thus: "Resolved that while we recognize the rights of females to express their views with regard to the propriety of hiring a minister, and their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with regard to receiving or dismissing members, it is the duty of male members alone, to vote and direct in all matters or record."
.....More to come.