The 150th anniversary celebration of a Norfolk church will bring music to the ears of the community.
The First Congregational United Church of Christ will be hosting a performance of âA Touch of Brassâ at 4 p.m. on Sunday, August 22 on the church lawn at 1102 W. Norfolk Ave. The concert takes place in honor of the 150th anniversary of the church.
The history of the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Norfolk dates back to the summer of 1869, when Colonel Charles Matthewson brought his family from Pomfort, Connecticut, to the Northeastern Nebraska colony that would later become Norfolk. Matthewson built a flour mill and sawmill on what is now First Street and Norfolk Avenue. He became the leader of a small group of congregationalists and frequently held religious meetings in his home.
On May 15, 1870, at Matthewson House – under the leadership of another settler, the Reverend JW Kidder – the first congregational church was organized with 10 founding members.
A one-room church was erected at 225 Norfolk Ave. in 1871. This structure served the congregation until 1885.
In 1877, a community Christmas party was held in the small church. There were only about 200 people living in Norfolk at that time. A large tree that reached the ceiling of the church was transported to Norfolk possibly by rail. Each child in the community received a gift: a knife for the boys and a doll for the girls.
The second church was built at the corner of Ninth Street and Norfolk Avenue at a cost of $ 6,000. Over the next 59 years, the church was enlarged six times. In 1930, the church had over 700 members.
During the annual meeting in January 1944, the church debt was repaid, but later that evening a fire destroyed the church. It was debt free for just a few hours.
The ground was inaugurated for the current church at 1102 W. Norfolk Ave. in April 1949. It was consecrated in the fall of 1950. The bell of the burnt down church is now on the front lawn.
A groundbreaking ceremony took place in October 1960 for an educational wing. It was inaugurated on September 10, 1961.
A new constitution meeting was held to approve the constitution of the United Church of Christ in 1960. In 1967, new bylaws were accepted and the name changed to First Congregational United Church of Christ. A new entrance was added to the church and a ground floor communion room was added in the 1990s.
Reverend Jackie Perry is currently minister of the congregation.
Those attending the concert are invited to bring a garden chair. The concert is sponsored by the Steven Uzzell Memorial Fund. In case of rain, the event will take place in the sanctuary of the church.