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UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST
UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST. The United Church of Christ is a merger of the Congregational Christian churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Church. During the Reconstruction period a few Congregational churches were established in Texas by visiting ministers and by the American Missionary Association. Missionary stations of the denomination were active in African-American educational efforts following the Civil War, and several of the early congregations were made up largely of freedmen. In 1866 a Congregational church was established in Corpus Christi by Aaron Rowe, who in 1867 established the Corpus Christi Freedman's Church. Rowe left Corpus Christi in 1868 and did not return until 1871, when he reestablished his congregation. Jeremiah Porter established a church in Brownsville in 1868 and another for freedmen in 1880. In 1871 the three Congregational churches in Texas had a total membership of fifty. A congregation was organized in Goliad in 1872. In 1873 churches functioned at Corpus Christi, Goliad, and Paris and were affiliated with the Southwestern Conference of Congregational Churches; total membership was 234, and the Missionary Association was operating sixteen stations in the state. In 1874 new churches were organized at Helena and Sherman, a freedman's church was opened in Paris, and the Congregational Association of Texas was organized. By 1886 the denomination had eleven churches and 288 members in the state. In 1906 it had grown to a total of 1,856 members and for a few years operated the Congregational Home Missionary Society of Texas in Houston and the Lone Star Association of Congregational Churches in Dallas. By 1936 a schismatic section of Congregationalists had joined the Presbyterian denomination and some Congregationalists had joined the Disciples of Christ; in that year there were twenty Congregationalist churches in Texas with 1,989 members. In Texas the South Central Conference United Church of Christ was formed in May 1963. In 1995 the South Central Conference had 19,000 members in ninety-one churches in Texas and Louisiana. The churches included thirteen African-American, two Samoan, and one Hispanic congregation. Within the conference the United Church of Christ had Huston-Tillotson College in Austin, Texas, and Dillard University in New Orleans. Two health and human service institutions, Eden Homes in New Braunfels, Texas, and Back Bay Mission in Biloxi, Mississippi, were also in the conference. The office for the United Church of Christ was in Austin.
BIBLIOGRAPHY:Dictionary of American History (New York: Scribner, 1940). John William Theodore Youngs, The Congregationalists (New York: Greenwood Press, 1990). Barbara Brown Zikmund, ed., Hidden Histories in the United Church of Christ (New York: United Church Press, 1984).
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