Ohio Conference, United Church of Christ

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These congregations are affiliated with one of the five associations comprising the Ohio Conference of the United Church of Christ. They are listed in order of association.

(CC)--prior to 1957, congregation was member of the Congregational Christian Churches.
(E&R)--prior to 1957, congregation was member of the Evangelical and Reformed Church.
(UCC)--congregation founded after 1957.
(union)--congregation resulting from merger of former CC, E&R, and UCC congregations.
*--indicates congregation endorses the "Open and Affirming" program of the UCC Coalition for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns, a recognized affinity group.

Central Southeast Ohio Association[edit]

This association is the smallest of the five numerically; headquartered in Columbus, it occupies not only central and southeastern Ohio, but some churches in adjoining parts of West Virginia as well. Despite its small size, it is home to the Conference's oldest congregation, First Congregational in Marietta, established during the first settlements of the Northwest Territory in 1796.

Eastern Ohio Association[edit]

Headquartered in Canton, the association centers around that city and the cities of Akron, Warren and Youngstown, extending up to the southernmost suburbs of Cleveland; however, most of the churches are located in small towns or in the open countryside. Most of its congregations were members of the Southeast Ohio Synod of the E&R Church prior to the UCC merger, having been established in the 19th century by German-Americans from adjoining Pennsylvania. Some of the churches have a reputation of being quite conservative theologically and socially, to the point of some conflict with association, conference, and national leadership. The EOA is the Ohio Conference's largest association, in terms of both membership and number of congregations.

Northwest Ohio Association[edit]

Like the Eastern Ohio Association at the opposite end of the state, this association is characteristically rural, with most of its congregations stemming from German Reformed roots. Toledo is the only major metropolitan area within its bounds.Two UCC-related colleges are located in the territory: Defiance College in Defiance and Heidelberg University in Tiffin; the schools derive from, respectively, Christian and Reformed origins. The city of Tiffin serves as headquarters for the association also.

Southwest Ohio Northern Kentucky Association[edit]

Possibly the most urbanized (and suburbanized) of the five associations, this group includes congregations in the Cincinnati and Dayton metropolitan areas, as well as the cities of Hamilton and Springfield. The Kentucky congregations are located across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, within a 20-mile radius. The northern part of the association contains the greatest concentration of Christian-heritage congregations in the Ohio Conference, many having been founded by settlers from North Carolina and Kentucky in the 1810s and 1820s. Some of the Cincinnati-area congregations were started originally as Evangelical Protestant churches, a German-language free-church movement that first appeared in the Pittsburgh, Pa. area in the early 19th century. In 1925, this small group joined the Congregational Christian Churches; some of its churches were also located in Indiana and St. Louis in addition to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Congregations deriving from this heritage will be marked (CC-EP).

Western Reserve Association[edit]

Around the turn of the 19th century, settlers from Connecticut came into the region along the southern shore of Lake Erie, bringing Puritan Congregationalism with them. Not only did churches prosper in the settlement, but other institutions bearing the Congregationalist stamp such as Oberlin College, one of the U.S.' first coeducational places of higher learning, as well. In the years preceding the Civil War, pastors and laity often became staunch proponents for the abolition of slavery; some devoted missionaries went to the South after the war to teach newly emancipated African-Americans, under the auspices of the American Missionary Association

Many, if not most, churches in this five-county association (Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, and Lorain) carry on much of that politically and socially progressive mission and advocacy to this day. Moreover, the E&R-heritage congregations in the region were generally less inclined toward traditionalism than those elsewhere in Ohio, adding their ethnic flavor to a quintessential "Yankee" church. The association's territory encompasses virtually all of the Cleveland metropolitan area.

Because Cleveland houses the national headquarters of the UCC, many of the ordained staff members there hold their ministerial standing in this association.

Church Website

External links[edit]