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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

EAST CLEVELAND CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH

EAST CLEVELAND CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH

The EAST CLEVELAND CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH (United Church of Christ) existed from 1931-77 at 1813 Page Ave., at Euclid Ave. in EAST CLEVELAND. It was established on 18 November 1931 from the merger of EAST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH and the MAYFLOWER CHURCH CONGREGATIONAL. Rev. Howard Lee Torbet (1931-37), Mayflower's pastor, became East Cleveland Congregational's first pastor; Mayflower's building on Lockwood Ave. was sold. During Rev. Earle C. Hochwald's pastorate (1948-58), the growing church initiated a dial-a-prayer service and dedicated a new educational wing (1955). Rev. Dewey F. Fagerburg, who became minister in 1962, sought to involve the church in political action and civil rights. His ministry, during a time of transition for both the church and the neighborhood, was characterized by controversy.

In 1970 Rev. Fagerburg and some of his parishioners dissolved the existing church organization, changed the form of worship, and established "the People's Church" to meet the needs of "blacks and oppressed peoples." An opposition group, the Mayflower Group, sought to preserve the traditional forms of work and worship. Subsequently the Western Reserve Assn. of the United Church of Christ and the Ohio Conference withdrew financial support. Rev. Fagerburg resigned (1977), and the building was sold to the Messiah Congregational Church. In 1986 they sold the building to the Second New Hope Institutional Church of God in Christ, which has used the building since 1980.


See also RELIGION, CONGREGATIONALISTS.