100 Years

The life of a church 1920 - 2020

Stories, sermons, music, and memories from the century 1920-2020. The life and times of Community United Church of Christ, Raleigh NC.

Items on this page

Purpose of this Website

The purpose of this site is to preserve the history and the story of Community UCC in Raleigh roughly for the period 1920-2020. This includes the written history, the photographic history, the oral history, and the arts and culture of the church.

All this project can hope to accomplish is to document and record some of the steps in this 100 year process based on available materials. It is by no means a complete history Community UCC in Raleigh or of any of its predecessor churches.

The archive is split into various groupings according to the tabs at the top of this page.

United Church Scrapbook (circa 1959)

The United Church scrapbook (192 images) includes program announcements, church bulletins, correspondence, and extensive newspaper clippings from the period roughly from 1923 to 1960. This archived version attempts as much as possible to preserve the scrapbook digitally in the same form as the physical scrapbook.

I found the scrapbook in September 2012 buried deep in a pile of disorganized boxes of photos and miscellaneous clippings and documents in the closet off the back room in Pilgrim House. Apparently at one time the scrapbook had been transferred from Mary Pruneau to Cy King, presumably during the period in the 1970s or 1980s when Cy was serving as church historian. Cy eventually returned the document to the church, and it apparently landed among other disorganized artifacts that no one is really in charge of.

As much as we talk about the historically vibrant periods of our past, including the Institute of Religion, what we generally hear is the same stories over and over. This digital archive attempts to give a more complete picture of our past by including stories rarely heard, and artifacts seldom seen.

The divisions in the sidebar to the left are taken from the divisions in the scrapbook itself. So the order and structure of this archive matches that of the physical book. You can browse the scrapbook by clicking the various nested links to the left, and once you’re in an album you’ll see that the captions for the photos are often descriptive of what the item is all about.

So enjoy getting to know our past a little better!

United Church Scrapbook

Lavon Page
September 2012

William Davidson Parry
Pastor of United Church of Raleigh during early 1920s

A Narrative of the Church

This is a film narrative about Community UCC and the various ancestral branches that have led to the present day church. It is not a history, in that it doesn't seek to explain or interpret nor is it anywhere close to being the full story of the church. It's a narrative based on church artifacts and recollections that have been collected and preserved over the years. Many of the anecdotes in the film are taken from the Remembrances available elsewhere in this archive.

Let me emphatically say that this is not an "official" church production. The choice of subject matter is almost entirely mine. Unquestionably, there are folks who would have selected other content. I will avoid the usual disclaimer "all the opinions expressed herein are my own", because in fact none of the opinions expressed in the film are my own. The characters selected are speaking for themselves in their own words. So the personal touch that I have provided is only in the selection of material, not in the interpretation of it.

This is not a promotional video for the church. It shows the bumps in the road along with the things we like to brag about.

You will find the newspaper clippings to be more readable if you watch the video fullscreen and at the highest resolution your Internet connection will support. Presently Vimeo sets the initial resolution automatically based on assessment of your bandwidth. But there is a manual override. And Vimeo supports fullscreen viewing. The picture to the right shows how to access the resolution settings and how to activate fullscreen viewing.

The entire film is 67 minutes long. It's broken up into four parts of varying length. All four parts are available below.

-- Lavon Page
-- January 2016

Part 1 (Length: 12 min.)

Part 2 (Length: 16 min.)

Part 3 (Length: 19 min.)

Part 4 (Length: 20 min.)

Printed Narrative
by Merrilee Jacobson

A brief printed narrative of the history of the physical facilities used by this congregation was prepared by Merrilee Jacobson in October 2019.

Remembrances (1981)

In the spring of 1981, our CUCC historian Ann Elleman recorded a series of interviews with long time CUCC members. This process lasted for several months, and Susie Sapp put in long ours to transcribe the interviews to text. The result was a 90-page single-spaced typed document that is packed full of first-person accounts of the early years of CUCC and the decades of life at the United Church of Raleigh that preceded formation of CUCC. In September of 2012, Lavon page scanned the report and indexed it so that it can be searched for individual participants. This has become a valuable resource to bring to life some of the names you hear so often when old timers talk about our past.

Remembrances (1981) (91 pages)

There is also a PDF version of this complete document available. The PDF version is not indexed, i.e. you can't jump to the interview of a specific person as the above list allows. But the complete PDF version is handy if you want to read or print the entire document. It's a 25 megabyte download.

PDF version (25 mb)

Ann and Tom Elleman

100th Anniversary
Scrapbook from 1981

The 100th Anniversary Scrapbook is an aging loose-leaf binder with almost 300 pages of photocopied material assembled in 1981 (probably by church historian Ann Elleman). It surfaced some years ago during an investigation into the contents of the back room of Pilgrim House. For years I delayed work on the scrapbook because of the perplexing task that organizing its content would present. It is now being made publicly available for the first time.

This scrapbook is one of the three primary historical documents in existence that record the narrative of Community UCC and the predecessor churches that led to the present church located at the corner of Dixie Trail and Wade Avenue. (The present church building served as home to an E&R Church prior to the existence of Community UCC.)

The 100th Anniversary Scrapbook includes pages that are highly varying in format. The majority of the pages are made up of newspaper clippings. Since the size of the clippings varies greatly, these images cannot be presented in a fashion where all clippings are reduced to the same size (as in most photo albums). To do so would render the large clippings unreadable, and would render small photos as being large and blurry. For that reason you'll need to read carefully the section below on how to browse the scrapbook efficiently and effectively. You can spend many hours browsing through this volume. And any time spent doing so will lead to a better understanding of the origins of CUCC and its remarkably complex history. Enjoy!

We provide a couple of different ways of viewing the CUCC 100th Anniversary Scrapbook compiled in 1981:

  • Image Folder (Google Drive): You can go directly to a Google Drive folder that includes all the scrapbook contents and provides thumbnail images for all clippings. When viewing the folder, you'll see the list view and grid view buttons at the top right of your browser window. You can toggle back and forth between "grid" view and "list" view. In "list" view you can see the title for each image. So "list" view allows you to browse by title.

  • Photo Album (Google): You can also go to a Google+ photo album of the clippings. This view displays larger thumbnails but no titles.

-- Lavon Page, March 2015

MLK and United Church Pastor Gaylord Noyce
Integrated Vacation Bible Scool at Umstead Park in mid 1950s. United Church of Raleigh led the process of integrating the State Parks System. Here we see black and white children participating in an activity that would now most likely be considered demeaning to Native Americans.

Photos from 1986-2002

These are photos that turned up in an old shoe box in the back closet of Pilgrim House, buried beneath a stack of other unsorted miscellany. They date from around 1986 to roughly 2002. Many were used on church bulletin boards before being tossed into the box.

Photos from 1986-2002

Congregational Photos
1945 and 1947 (below)

These photos are most likely photos of United Church gatherings. The only person I can identify in either photo is Rev. Eutsler (in the 1947 photo, dark 3-piece suit standing beside woman holding baby). It is highly likely that Polly DeCosta and others who are well known to some present CUCC members are pictured in these photos. If you recognize anyone in either photo, please contact me. -- Lavon Page

Girl Scouts - 1955

This photo is labeled "Happy New Year 1945"

This photo is labeled "Open Forum - 1947" (predecessor of Sunday Morning Forum)