Our History

Founded in 1891

The Congregational Church in Tryon

1891 - The Beginning

The origin of The Congregational Church, UCC in Tryon is steeped in history and can be traced to a Sunday School class open to people of all denominations conducted by Dr. Oscar S. Missildine in 1891. The location of the class was in a building on Melrose Avenue where the current church stands. The original white frame building was owned by the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Tryon. A meeting was held on August 20, 1891 that determined the establishment of a Congregational Church. There were twelve charter members who adopted the name “The United Church of Christ in Tryon” which was prophetic, because in 1957 the Congregational, Christian, Evangelical, and Reformed churches united to form a new denomination called “The United Church of Christ (UCC).” Over the years, several significant building programs were undertaken.

1908 - The First Project

The first project in 1908, through the generosity of Charles Edwin Erskine, remodeled the white frame structure into the present stone church. Mr. Erskine also provided the organ which, after many renovations and improvements, still enriches worship services today. Later in 1948, a wing including the Fellowship Hall, was added to provide for classrooms, an assembly hall, pastor’s study, and a nursery. Much of the labor and material for this addition was donated by church members. In 1956 the sanctuary was enlarged to its current proportions. And in 1988, the private residence adjacent to the church was acquired and beautifully blended by architect, Holland Brady, into the campus currently enjoyed by members and friends of church. It has always been central to the members of the church that Christians of all denominations be welcomed. The aims of loving the Lord, our God, and our neighbor as ourselves have been in the foreground of what we have done over the years since 1891.

A History of Service

Our church has been actively involved in local outreach having supplied founding as well as sustaining members in Habitat for Humanity and Outreach or Polk County, for example. Outreach to those from other parts of the world has included sponsoring a Cuban refugee family in 1964 and in 1980, sponsoring a family from Laos. Current support for Outreach is a significant part of the church’s benevolence budget. In 2012 the church started “Feed A Kid” a summer feeding program for children and families in Polk County, which has grown to include 8 participating churches.

Our understanding of service also includes inclusion and justice. In 2015 the congregation voted to become an Open & Affirming congregation in the United Church of Christ. As part of this ongoing commitment The Congregational Church, UCC in Tryon welcomes persons of all ages, races, social and economic circumstances, sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions, abilities and church backgrounds to participate in the life and ministry of our church.

In 2021, the church took on another major project by installing 104 solar panels on the church and parsonage roofs. This action was a visible move to put the church’s vision of protecting the environment into action.

We are committed to continuing to demonstrate Christian love and compassion not only through service to others throughout the world but also to our members and friends.

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