History of First-Plymouth Congregational Church
First-Plymouth Congregational Church is a merger of two congregations. On the morning of Sunday, August 19, 1866, First Congregational Church was organized in what was then known as Lancaster, Nebraska. It was and is the first church congregation to be organized in the town. One year later, the name of the town was changed to Lincoln.
In 1869, the congregation completed its first building, a 25 by 40 foot structure at 13th and L Streets, where the Cornhusker Hotel is now located. The congregation grew and prospered along with the city.
In 1887, First Congregational Church was instrumental in organizing Plymouth Congregational Church. Its location was 17th and A Streets. It grew quickly. The two congregations merged in 1923 and chose the name First-Plymouth Congregational Church. It used the Plymouth building. In the meantime, First Congregational Church in 1890 sent out another colony of 45 members to form Vine Congregational Church.
Soon after the merger in 1923, First-Plymouth Congregational Church, having a membership of 1,073, divided almost equally between the two previous congregations, decided to build a new building at the site of 20th and D Streets. The plans were completed in 1929, and construction began in 1930. The new building was dedicated on April 5, 1931.
In 1962, the congregation began planning for a major addition to the building and in 1965 the congregation voted to proceed. The chapel and east wing of the building were added, along with the renovation of the main worship area and a new pipe organ.
In 1988 the two kitchens in the church were renovated, the east courtyard wall was replaced with a memorial garden and columbarium, the carillon was restored and expanded and a fully equipped television studio was built. The congregation then began its extensive television ministry.
In 1991, the congregation began planning for another major building expansion. A three level wing of 16,000 square feet was built and connected to the northwest end of the parish hall. With a new, wide, beautiful entrance on 20th street, an elevator, and specially designed restrooms, the church building became more accessible. The new addition provided additional classrooms, more offices, and much needed space for our extensive music ministry. Additional parking, lighting all around the building, and landscaping were included in the project. The new addition was dedicated on January 16, 1994.
In 1996, the congregation proceeded with its long range plan for a new Schoenstein Pipe Organ. It is really two organs, one in the balcony and one in the chancel. The chancel was also redesigned to provide more space for the choir and musical ensembles.
An additional parking lot was added in 1997 at the corner of 21st and E Streets. First-Plymouth Congregational Church UCC continues to grow and expand its multiple ministries.