Nick Presley

Our Clergy

Reverend Doctor
Dwight D. Andrews

Pastor

Reverend Ambassador
Andrew Young

Pastor of Global Mission

Reverend Doctor
Angela Dempsey Williams

Reverend LaVerne Dixon


Minister of Youth and Young Families


Minister of Pastoral Care and Outreach

Nick Presley

Our Staff

Don Sykes
Church Administrator

Ms. Michele Mateno Silatchom
Administrative Assistant

Mrs. Denise Curtis
Finance Administrator

Trey Clegg

Organist and Chancel Choir Director

156 YEARS OF HISTORY

A Brief History of First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ

First Congregational Church, UCC is one of the oldest African American Congregational Churches in the United States.  It came into existence on May 26, 1867, as an outgrowth of the American Missionary Association’s (AMA) efforts to educate formerly enslaved African Americans after the Civil War.  Following the war’s end, the AMA established several schools and colleges for African Americans throughout the South, including Atlanta University and the Storrs School in Atlanta.  The Storrs School, a freedman’s school, was located on Piedmont around the corner from our present location. located at the present site, became an important center for the community of ex-slaves, providing social services, educational classes, and religious training.  After being baptized and embracing the creed, the formerly enslaved to create a church of their own. They joined with the white missionaries to constitute a Congregational Church of Christ.  The AMA then donated the land on the corner of Houston and Courtland streets to the congregation and a “little red church” was erected in 1877.

In 1894, Rev. Henry H. Proctor was called as the first African American pastor of First Congregational Church.  Proctor’s ministry brought national attention to the church. He visited the black troops in Europe during the World War I, was outspoken in his outrage about the many lynchings the ravaged the South and was a principal architect of the bi-racial coalition of religious and civic leaders that sought healing and reconciliation after the Atlanta Race riot of 1906. Proctor’s great legacy includes  the construction of the present church building in 1908, which is now on the National Registry of landmark buildings. His vision for a wholistic ministry that addressed both spiritual and social concern is found in his own recollection. He writes:

“At the time it [First Church] was opened, it met in each of its facilities a special need. There was no YMCA for colored young men in the city, and ours was the only gymnasium in the city for that group. There was no YWCA in the city, and our home for young colored women was the only one of its kind in Atlanta. There was an employment bureau, and in this we served the people of both races in the city.

 

 A water fountain outside the church [breaking the color line] was the first water fountain opened in the city. Our trouble bureau was a clinic for all sorts of ills. Our prison mission served the man at the very bottom. Our Music Festival brought the best musical talent of the race to the city and attracted great audiences of both races. . . .

In the period after the church opened, it offered its members a day nursery, classes in domestic science, and industrial classes for the blind. Furthermore, the Atlanta Interracial Commission, formed in 1919; the National Medical Association, organized in 1894; and the city's first black Boy Scout troop were all organized in First Church. The church provided many facilities to accommodate these activities. Besides having an auditorium to seat 1000 people and a basement that contained Sunday School facilities, there were a library and a reading room, a gymnasium, a kitchen, a shower bath, an engine room, and lavatories.”

Dr. Proctor left First Church in 1919 and was succeeded by several gifted African American ministers who served as pastors, each of whom made significant spiritual and leadership contributions to the church.

From its founding to the present, First Congregational Church continues to be an important presence in Atlanta and the nation. Over the last century it has maintained a national pulpit where spiritual witness meets progressive advocacy and activism. At the turn of the last century, Presidents Taft and Roosevelt spoke here. Booker T. Washington gave the message add the groundbreaking of our historic edifice. Distinguished preachers, teachers, activists, and advocates have graced its pulpit, including Congressman John Lewis, Vice President Kamala Harris, Mayors Andrew Young, Shirley Franklin, and Kasim Reed College presidents Johnetta Cole, Beverly Daniel Tatum, Robert Franklin, David Thomas, and Reverends Bernice King, Joseph Lowery, James Forbes, Otis Moss, Jr., and Calvin Butts to name a few. Under the leadership of our current pastor, the Reverend Dr. Dwight Andrews, First Church is laying a foundation for its next century of service, holding fast to the tenants of loving our neighbor, serving the least of these, and the priesthood of all believers.

OUR OFFICE

105 Courtland Street. N.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
PH: 404-659-6255
Email:

THE COMMONS

OFFICE SPACE RENTAL
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PH: 404-659-6255
Atlanta, Georgia 30303

YOUTH PROGRAMS

Please contact our church office
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
PH: 404-659-6255

TO VOLUNTEER

105 Courtland Street. N.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
PH: 404-659-6255
Email: