Grace United Church of Christ
                                            of Loyal Oak

HOW WE DEFINE OURSELVES

We dedicate ourselves and our gifts toward the new world You are creating among us – a world where peace emerges from mutual respect and honest encounters.  May Your love be reflected in our attitudes and actions when we are together and when we are scattered.

     Just Peace - Open and Affirming Congregation

We are a Just Peace (a justice-doing, peace-seeking church, opposed to the institution of war) and an Open and Affirming Congregation (full inclusion lesbian, gay, bisexual orientation, ethnicity, economic class, marital status, or physical/mental abilities) that encourages all to share the life and leadership of this congregation.

     God Is Still Speaking!

The family of faith of Grace UCC of Loyal Oak is inclusive, welcoming, affirming and dedicated to welcoming all who walk through our doors as wonderful creations of God and made in the image of God.  We celebrate diversity, pray and work for peace and non-violence in the world, and deeply care about the poor, the hungry, the dispossessed and marginalized by our society.  We're not about judgment and tearing down, we're about supporting and building up!  If you've been hurt and mistreated by other religious communities, know that you are safe with us...and can learn more about the God of love and grace who we love so passionately.  Come spend some time with us...just as you are!  We are a community committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We believe that the Social Gospel Jesus taught and lived calls us to be nothing less than a church of people. 


OUR HISTORY

Grace United Church of Christ of Loyal Oak (GLO) was originally founded by a congregation of German-speaking farmers in 1845 who were members of the German Reformed Church, which worshipped with German Lutherans for nearly twenty years in a stone block union church at Bates Corners. Bates Corners, after the founding Bates Brothers from New England circa 1817, was the original name of the village founded at the corner of what is now Cleveland-Massillon Road and Wadsworth-Akron Road (Rte. 261.) The union “Stone” Church at Bates Corners served the German community well from around 1834, but both wanted their own places of worship and, by 1885, separated, the old building torn down, and the stones from this went to the foundations of both the Lutheran and German Reformed Churches built nearby. Bates Corners eventually became the hamlet of Loyal Oak, and it remains so today, though a part of Norton, Ohio, and sharing the zip code with Barberton, Ohio. The land for the church was donated by a parishioner, and the land for the parking lot and “new” parsonage was purchased from the Frase Family Farm to our east. 

The original church was formed with timbers milled from local forests by the parishioners. The style would be loosely considered “stick-built carpenter Gothic,” a common style of churches found in the Connecticut Western Reserve built in the 1880’s. The cornerstone was laid September 12, 1885, and the sanctuary was first used in a day-long dedication ceremony January 17, 1886. The growing congregation added Sunday School rooms to the south in 1922, and more rooms and a kitchen were added to the east in 1925. The “new” addition, which added additional classrooms, kitchen, and Fellowship Hall, were added in 1958.

Eventually our German Reformed Church merged with the German Evangelical Church, and these became a part of the United Church of Christ in 1957, along with the Congregational Church, and several independent Christian churches. The United Church of Christ (UCC) is a progressive, mainline Christian denomination headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, with more than 5,100 churches and 1.1 million members across the U.S. The church has embraced the values related to peace, ecumenism, and human rights since the 1960s. (www.ucc.org )

The pastoral leadership of the church over the last 60 years of our 170 years has helped shape who we are today and reflects the UCC values:  Rev. Robert Baldauf served 1954-1991 and lead us to be a peace and justice church. Rev. Donard Engle, 1992-2001, lead us into an era of inclusivity and our Open and Affirming status (one of the first in UCC nationally,) and Rev. Daniel Young, 2001-2012, extended our inclusivity to those in 12-Step programs and others in need of healing and wholeness. Our current pastor H. Kurt Wieser is challenging us to be more self-reliant and use technology to let our community know what we believe and how we minister to others. 

A complete discussion of the Centennial History of the Church was written by Rev. A. C. Peeler in 1945, and an updated history and detailed discussion of the church architecture was written for the 2010 Founders Day Celebration. Both of these are available for historical research, scholarly pursuits, and general interest reading by special arrangement with the librarian of the Grace UCC- Loyal Oak Religion Library. The church’s website can be found at www.uccglo.org.


UCC RESOURCES



UCC National  and, if you are new to the UCC


SUPPORTED MINISTRIES


*Equal Exchange (Fair Trade products;  a food system that empowers farmers and consumers, supports small farmer co-ops, and uses sustainable farming methods.
*Fair Trade products are available for purchase at GLO in the Consistory Room
Coffee; various kinds
Chocolate bars
Hot chocolate 



GLO ITEMS


GLO Library  (under construction)



LEADERSHIP AND TRANSITION

GLO is entering a creative and exciting period in its history.  The following links speak to process and activities that will aid those involved as we move forward over the coming months.  Our denomination headquarters (UCC Cleveland) has built a reference library for this purpose.

Select your document-of-choice from the options presented below.


Click above link to get to pdf and interactive files for Interim and Settled Pastor processes




MEMBER TOOLS 



Member connection