Gilsum Congregational Church was first formed on October 28, 1772.
It is part of the United Church of Christ (UCC). But did you know that congregational churches have their origins in the Reformation? Here’s a short history:
Reformation Day first started 500 years ago on October 31, 1517 when Martin Luther, a German monk, nailed his Ninety-five Theses on the door of All Saints Church in Germany. The Theses criticized the Roman Catholic Church for drifting away from salvation as a means of going to heaven and were doing things like selling indulgence or certificates to reduce punishment for sin. This created a rift that lead to the Reformation. The Reformation was the formation of churches that followed the Luther and John Calvin theology of Salvation by the cross.
The Reformation produced the German Reform Church and the German Evangelist Church, two streams that would eventually be part of the forming of the United Church of Christ (UCC). The Congregational Church was formed by Englishmen who separated from the Roman Catholic Church, some of whom came over on the Mayflower, including the Elder. Another group that formed the UCC were the Christians, who felt the denominations were out of control and we should all band together and just be Christians.
In 1957 all of these groups merged into the UCC. The UCC took on the Autonomy of the Congregationalist: That is, it is a self-governing church in that each congregation handles its own affairs. Jesus Christ is the sole head of the Church. Its organization includes a Synod (national level), Conference (state level), Association (local level) and local churches, but all are on the same level. One can not force another to do anything; they can only make suggestions.
We thank God for the Reformation and the early reformers who risked their lives to bring the church back to the basic truth of the Bible, that we are “Saved by Faith, apart from the works of the Law”. ~ Romans 3:28
Come visit us! Services start at 10:00 AM, with coffee hour following. Bible study starts just after 9 AM every week.
–Dan Hackler, Gilsum Congregational Church