History of our Church

When the Reformed Church of Sunbury first acquired a corporate charter in 1852, during the pastorate of Rev. Richard Adams Fisher, the seal was inscribed “Organized 1784.” We accept that date as our beginning. There was no resident pastor at first. Services were held in a log schoolhouse on present Walnut Street near Front, in Sunbury. The building was also used by the Lutherans and Presbyterians.

In 1793, Reformed and Presbyterian congregations joined together to erect a union church on the present site at Second and Chestnut Streets. It was a wooden building with entrances from the east and south, the pulpit at the north end and galleries extending around the remaining three sides.

In 1840, the half interest in the church held by the Presbyterian congregation was acquired for $400, and in 1847, the log church was torn down and a brick church, 36×52 feet in size, was erected. On August 4, 1852, the congregation secured a charter under the name “German Reformed Church of Sunbury, Penna.”

In 1873, “German” was dropped from the title. The next significant change happened in 1879 when the first pipe organ in Sunbury was installed. It was used until 1956.

On May 4, 1924 a cornerstone was laid for the church school building and parsonage. This addition was dedicated on May 5, 1925, marking the beginning of a new era for the congregation. In 1936, a flood greatly damaged the basement portion of the school building, and it was not repaired until 1954. In 1943, the congregation celebrated the Sesqui-Centennial of the building of the first church on the present site, and in 1953, the corporate seal was again changed to “First Evangelical and Reformed Church of Sunbury.”

In 1956, the church was torn down and replaced by a new colonial-style church. The cornerstone was laid on June 16, 1957, and the new building was dedicated on May 25, 1958. In 1986, an three-manual Allen organ was installed.

The next opportunity to grow presented itself when the Sunbury Beauty and Barber Supply next to the church was put up for sale. A decision was made to purchase that property and turn it into a parking lot for the congregation. Working with church member and architect Gary Wolfe, plans were made to add a lobby, church office, bridal dressing area, and conference room. The new entrance from the parking lot was designed to be handicapped-accessible, and an elevator in the lobby would make the building accessible as well. The new section of the church building was dedicated in 2004.

With its steeple dominating the Sunbury skyline, First Reformed UCC is considered one of the finest church buildings in the area.