The Congregational Church of Huntington is member of the United Church of Christ (UCC). The UCC is a Protestant denomination with churches throughout the United States. The historical forebears of our congregation are the Pilgrims who came to this new land to escape religious persecution in England. They established the Congregational Church, which is particularly prominent in New England. Congregationalists believe in the historical tenets of the Christian church, including the Trinity, the sacraments of baptism and communion, and the Bible as our holy book. Congregationalists are distinctive for our democratic form of governance, the belief in the continuing revelation of God, and the importance of working for peace and justice. They also emphasize education. Congregationalists are responsible for establishing many of our country’s universities, including Harvard and Yale in the Ivy League, to Dillard and Talladega in the south. In order to live out Jesus’ command to love all our neighbors the Congregationalists were the first denomination to ordain a woman, to ordain a gay man, and have worked throughout their history for peace and justice. The denomination was formed from a merger in 1957 of the Congregational Christian Church and the German Evangelical and Reformed church.
On October 31, 1955 a dedicated group of Congregationalists met to organize a church for the town of Huntington. As new residents in Huntington, these charter members wished to found an intentionally progressive Protestant church to worship God and to promote peace and justice in Huntington and the world. By the first Sunday in Advent they were holding worship services at the Huntington YMCA, and in January, 1956, they called their first pastor, the Rev. Robert Balfe. This energetic beginning set the tone for The Congregational Church of Huntington, United Church of Christ, which continues to this day. We are a congregation of committed Christians who work together to know God in our lives, and to share God’s love with others.
The new church grew rapidly and soon they purchased a building site on Washington Drive in Centerport. The first building was completed in 1959 and served the worship, educational and fellowship needs of the congregation. In 1958 the congregation had called the Rev. Malcolm M. Mooers to be their pastor, and he guided the congregation until his retirement in 1988. The distinctive church sanctuary and office wing were completed in 1965. During Rev. Mooers tenure the congregation was known for its advocacy for civil rights, for low income housing in Huntington, and for educational opportunities for all people. In 1969 the church started our high-quality pre-school, Noah’s Ark Nursery School.
The Rev. Mark Bigelow became the third settled pastor of the church on January 1, 1991. During his time the congregation has continued its strong worship services with an emphasis on diverse quality music and preaching that engages the Bible with contemporary issues. In 2004 the congregation voted to become an Open and Affirming congregation. This is a pro-active statement that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered persons are fully welcome to participate in the life of the congregation. During Pastor Mark’s tenure the church was also instrumental in founding the Long Island Multi-Faith Forum and has continued to promote interfaith understanding and cooperation. We currently show our concern for our neighbors through the Huntington Interfaith Homeless Initiative(HIHI), our Peace and Plenty food program, the Community Food Council of Huntington, and our Reading Circle Literacy program.