First United Church has a long and proud heritage in the city of Warren. The founding body established a church in the community as early as 1851. Known originally as the Reformed Church, it became a union church with the German Evangelical Lutheran Church. Following the destruction of the buildings by fire, the Lutherans withdrew and built a church of their own, and the Reformed group met for a time in the basement of the Baptist church.
Our present congregation grew from the congregation that began under the ministry of Rev. C.W. Brugh on July 1, 1894, with a charter membership of 24. The cornerstone of the new building on Pine Street was laid July 3, 1895. On May 31, 1896, membership showed 51 communicant members. The present structure on East Market Street was built and dedicated on June 1, 1913 under the pastorate of Rev. G.P. Fisher. The cost of church and site was $20,000. When the church moved from Pine Street to its present location, East Market Street was a beautiful residential area. As the town grew, East Market Street became the main thoroughfare of the city.
In 1953, there was need of additional Sunday School classrooms and the kitchen was in need of modernization. By now, the membership had risen to 513 members. At this time, the church basement was completely renovated, at a cost of $43,000, creating more classrooms and equipping a new kitchen.
In 1957, Synod (the governing body of the area United Church of Christ) purchased two lots, one on the east side of Warren and one on the west side. A mission church was organized and built on the west side lot, of which 57 people from First Church were charter members.
In 1957, another important event took place when the Evangelical and Reformed denomination and the Congregational Christian Church of America merged to become one body know as the United Church of Christ. It was a short time later that we changed our name once again. We are now known as the First United Church of Christ.
In 1976, the church building benefited from a cleaning to its exterior brickwork. The cleaning, its first in 63 years, was accomplished by a chemical process instead of sandblasting. In 1983, this was accented with extensive vinyl siding on the exterior of the church, when the wooden framing was vinylized.
The first woman pastor, the Rev. Martha Helene (Butkofsky) Boyer, was called to serve this congregation in 1982. She is currently serving the St. Paul UCC in Shrewsbury, PA and will celebrate the her 40th anniversary of her ordination in 2018.
One of the highlights of the ‘60’s was to have a son of the congregation, Ron Getsay, enter the ministry. After graduation from United Seminary, St. Paul, MN, he served pastorates in Ohio and is now deceased.
In 1998 the church was made accessible by upgrading the east door and adding a lift to the Sanctuary and Fellowship Hall and installing a handicap accessible restroom, the cost $36,500 was paid for by pledges and gifts.
In 1999, we completely modernized the church office by removing two doors, and installing one; removing walls and ceiling and replacing with new, including new lighting. We replaced office equipment and furnishings and purchased a modern computer with a laser printer, for about $12,000 in total.
In 2000, the sanctuary was renovated for a cost of $60,000. It was painted, the pews were refinished and padded, wall-to-wall carpet was installed, and arrangements were made to place the piano on the same level as the organ. The nave was extended 24 inches and new lighting fixtures were added.
Just recently, the landscaping was torn out and replaced and the cost was paid for by gifts and donations. In 2012 members, former members and pastors and community leaders gathered to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the building, which is still serving the Warren Community.