History

A History of First Congregational Church in Atlanta

The First Congregational Church of Atlanta came into existence as a “gathered church” on May 26, 1867.  As one of the oldest African American Congregational churches in the United States, the early history of First Church is embedded in the history of the American Missionary Association (A.M.A.).

The DNA of First Congregational Church was there in the beginning, among that small community that followed Jesus more than 2000 years ago.  It was there in the Reformation – a protest movement against the abuse of authority by church leaders and in the discovery by Luther and Calvin of the Bible’s teaching that salvation is not earned, but is a gift.

It was there in the rich histories of the Congregational, Christian, Evangelical and Reformed churches that ultimately formed the United Church of Christ in 1957.

And in more direct ways, it was there in the American Missionary Association (A.M.A.), an ecumenical group of abolitionists, missionaries and former students of Oberlin College, some of whom had earlier engineered the very first Christian anti-slavery movement in History (the Amistad Episode), as they, following the end of the Civil War, took on a new challenge by sending missionary teachers and clergy into the south to educate the recently freed slaves.

Among the more than 500 schools established throughout the south, including the six A.M.A colleges and other Universities, was the Storrs School located on Houston Street near Piedmont Avenue.  It is out of this school that First Congregational Church was born.  With this history steeped in struggles for freedom and a propensity to stay the course, while simultaneously embracing new methodologies, the church throughout ten pastorates has endeavored to serve God by serving others.