The UNITING SYNOD, the first general synod of the United Church of Christ, was held in Cleveland on 25 June 1957. It was at this synod that 2 separate churches, the Evangelical and Reformed Church and Congregational Christian Church, representing some 2.1 million members in 8,311 churches nationwide, formally agreed to union as the United Church of Christ. A total of 714 delegates attended the Uniting Synod, which was held at the Music Hall of Cleveland PUBLIC AUDITORIUM. The delegates' responsibilities were essentially formal. The synod began with the delegates and their friends marching in solemn procession from PUBLIC SQUARE to the Music Hall. There the delegates formally voted to ratify the articles of union which had previously been agreed to by their separate church synods. Dr. James E. Wagner of the Evangelical and Reformed Church and Dr. Fred Hoskins of the Congregational Christian Church jointly presided over the synod.
The Uniting Synod represented the culminating act in a process which had begun in 1947 with a proposal by the leadership of the Evangelical and Reformed Church. After thorough discussion and debate, representatives of the 2 churches met in Cleveland in 1954. On 13 Oct. 1954, at a meeting at Hotel Cleveland, the representatives authorized the merger process to get underway. The recommendations from that Cleveland meeting were then taken back to the separate churches. In June 1956 a General Council of the CONGREGATIONAL Church voted to proceed with the union. In Sept. 1956 a general synod of the Evangelical and Reformed Church did the same. Those final synods of the separate churches paved the way for the Uniting Synod to be held in Cleveland.