Over 125 Years of Service!
Worship and education have been central to this church since the arrival of Benjamin Dodge, his wife Phoebe and his daughter Emma from Maine in 1885. The American Missionary Association had been asked for someone to begin both a church and an academy. Education has been a primary concern throughout the history of Congregationalism. Growing up in Boston, Helen Wightman was aware of that connection. An academy and a church were needed in her new home on the mountain on the Cumberland Plateau.
- 1885: First Congregational Church of Pleasant Hill began with 16 members. Their faith was exploding! The building was too small because the congregation wanted to include academy students and staff in worship. Beginning in 1887, worship and church activities were held in the Academy Chapel. Students, faculty and staff joined community members in prayer and outreach.
- 1906: Faith of church members was exploding again! Church buildings were planned. In response to the word of the explosion of faith in Pleasant Hill, a grant and a loan for property were received from the American Missionary Association. With those funds and the enthusiasm of the faithful congregation, Dr. May Wharton led the gathered community in breaking ground for a two-story community house in 1929. This was to be temporarily used for worship. Future plans included a chapel and a gymnasium. It was 1948 before the porch and west wall were completed.
- 1957: Through the merger of the Congregational Christian Churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Church, our heritage was enriched. Our name was changed to Pleasant Hill Community Church, United Church of Christ. Another explosion of faith occurred in 1959: The new sanctuary, anticipated so long ago, was built.
- 1991: Boyce Hall, offices and classrooms were added. Before they were dedicated, more space was needed.
- 2012: In January an enlarged sanctuary, fellowship space and additional classrooms are dedicated, built using green technology yet honoring the heritage of our historic church.
Our Community House is alive with Cub Scout and Boy Scout meetings, and birthday parties and fundraisers to help those in need in our community. Contra dancers keep up the Academy tradition of folk dance. In February and March, the Church and AARP offer free income tax preparation there. Ever concerned with our responsibilities for this world, political forums – many sponsored by church committees – are often scheduled in the Community House.
Nearly every month, the Christian Education Committee plans a “Conversations With” seminar with visitors from many lands bringing a multitude of concerns to the community. Church school classes are regularly scheduled in that building. Education continues to be a central emphasis of Pleasant Hill Community Church, United Church of Christ.