For more than 125 years, our church—lay people and pastors alike—has been a strong community of faith serving one another and the Ogden area though worship, education, ecumenical activities, and social action.
Congregationalism first came to Ogden in 1876, when Utah was still a territory. Ten people met with the Rev. A.W. Safford for six months over Driver’s Drugstore at 2349 Washington Blvd. until Safford became ill and returned east.
In 1883, the New West Education Commission (founded under the auspices of the Congregational Church) built the Ogden Academy, a small two-room school at 25th and Adams. In September, the Rev. H.E. Thayer began holding Sunday school and church services there. On January 4, 1884, he and eleven others officially founded the First Congregational Church of Ogden.
The church and school soon outgrew their quarters, and on October 22, 1888, a new red brick church building was completed. During the early years, the congregation served the community with mission and education work, and the church was a gathering place for cultural events and temperance organizations.
In 1955, planning for new church facilities began. The church was outgrowing its building in downtown Ogden.
Land was purchased on Harrison Boulevard between 33rd and 34th streets. Plans for three buildings at the new site were drawn up. The old building was sold to the county Board of Education, and later demolished.
Construction of the first new building began in August 1960. The first service in the new building was held January 1, 1961, even though the stonework and other finishing work remained to be done.
That same month, the congregation officially joined the United Church of Christ, although the name change to United Church of Christ, Congregational, didn’t occur until Feb. 4, 1968.
In January 2010, members voted to change the name to Congregational United Church of Christ for several reasons. More members were were familiar with the Congregational church and its history. The United Church of Christ is sometimes confused with the Church of Christ, a much more conservative denomination, and some thought this would help with the distinction. Others felt the new name reads more smoothly.
We are thankful to all those who have kept this church alive and vital so that today we can participate in Christian worship and practice each according to our own beliefs.
A more detailed history
Dr. Gordon Harrington, professor emeritus of history at Weber State University, has been writing a detailed history of Ogden Congregational United Church of Christ. His continuing series begins here.