Our Church

First Congregational Church of Rochester, Wisconsin History


There is no single birth date for the First Congregational Church of Rochester, Wisconsin.  It's founding society is Rochester's early days extended into this community an inheritance of religious convictions and experience that came to the new world in the hearts and minds of Puritans and pilgrims.  Freedom of faith, of worship and of government had become rights for pioneers who claimed this area or their homes and community.

Acting on this freedom, and stimulated by a surge of revival in Honey Creek and Rochester, the church was formed in May 1840.  Local Congregationalists built their first Meeting House between 1844 and 1848, at a period when Rochester was one of the most active centers of traffic and industry in the area.  From 1869 to 1890 the Congregationalists shared their church with the Free Baptists.  In 1890 the Congregationalists re-organized with fourteen members.

The single-steeple structure which houses our church was built in 1868 and name "Grace Church" by the Universalists who built it.  The church, repaired and enlarged, was re-dedicated in March, 1903.  A new east wing sheltered the Sunday School.  Unmeasured gifts of time, energy, skill and creativity went into the remodeling of the sanctuary, which was rededicated in November 1947.  Rochester's church has never been specifically named "Community Church", but it has functioned as such since it's earliest days.  Through the years, and on into what we call "our time", people of many varied religious backgrounds, affiliations, and inclinations have joined together to build a Christian community, rather than cherish differences which might separate them. -

Written by Mary Ela