Our church was founded in July of 1883 in a settlement of lumber workers and fishers. From then until now, the congregation has merged with other churches, grown, downsized, moved locations, changed names, and grown anew. We have weathered an attack by rodents on our pipe organ, cold winters, economic downturns, and the loss of beloved ministers. We have enjoyed mortgages paid off and gifted leadership. We have developed programs, participated in the community, and nurtured generations.
A common theme throughout our history is a commitment to service in our community and around the world. In 1999, we approved a statement marking us as an Open and Affirming congregation resolving to “welcome and affirm every person, without regard to sexual orientation, into the full life, rites, and ministry of our church.” In 2013, we became a Just Peace (Link to page) church in a declaration encouraging “us as individuals and as a faith community to educate, grow, empower, and spiritually renew ourselves for peace making, doing justice, and practicing sustainability in our families, community and world.” For over 30 years we have partnered with the Interfaith Coalition an organization providing services to the homeless. Until 2015, Interfaith Coalition offices were located at First Congregational Church at no cost. This was a happy collaboration that would have continued had a thriving Interfaith Coalition outgrown the space we had available.
History, of course, is a living process and we continue to write our story. We remain involved in our community: giving regularly to service organizations, collecting food for the Bellingham Food Bank, and serving at the Community Meal (link to page). In June 2016, we voted to partner with Northwest Youth Services to provide for homeless youth. As we search for a new staff member, a Minister of Youth, Young Adults, and Mission, we are excited about the future. We hope you will be a part of it!
For a more comprehensive history written by one of our beloved ministers, Donel McClellan, follow this link.