NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY MANUSCRIPT FINDING AID
RG4003.AM: United Church of Christ Congregational (Avoca, Neb.)
Avoca, Cass County, Neb.: Congregational church
Size: 28 volumes and loose papers on 3 rolls of microfilm, and 1 unfilmed minute book
In 1855, Rev. Reuben Gaylord located in Omaha and traveled by horseback to various parts of newly organized Nebraska Territory. In his role as a traveling missionary, Gaylord visited the Avoca area often. Although it was an active “preaching station” much earlier, the Avoca Congregational Church wasn’t organized until October 15, 1865. On this date, Articles of Faith and a Covenant were adopted.
At first, church meetings were held in local schoolhouses. After being reorganized as an auxiliary of the Weeping Water church in the mid-1870s, an independent church of Avoca was formed in 1877. The church was accepted into the Lincoln Association in 1880. During the early 1880s, the railroad came to Avoca and the town grew. Church services were held in rooms above local stores until 1883, when the American Congregational Union granted the Church $500 for erection of a church building. In 1898, a parsonage was added. By 1900, the First Congregational Church assumed self-support, paid its debts, added twenty-four pews, and installed a new furnace and gas lights.
In December of 1931, the church building was destroyed by fire. Services were then conducted at Christian Church. Space was rented by First Congregational Church for two years and then in 1937, the building and equipment were purchased. On November 13, 1960, the Avoca Congregation voted unanimously to approve the constitution of the United Church of Christ. Two years later, on September 21, 1962, the congregation voted to officially change its name to “The United Church of Christ Congregational.”
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
This collection consists of three reels of microfilm containing twenty-eight volumes and a small amount of loose material arranged in six series: 1) Historical Material; 2) Minutes, 1865, 1883-1979; 3) Church Reports, 1938-1952; 4) Treasurers Books, 1896-1907 and 1934-1957; 5) Ladies Aid Society Materials; and 6) Miscellany. One unfilmed minute book is also part of the collection. This material relates to the history, programs, and services conducted by the United Church of Christ Congregation of Avoca, Nebraska.
The Historical Material of Series 1 consists primarily of historical sketches of the church. Two copies, one hand-written and one typed, of histories written in 1945 and 1964 are provided, as well as one copy of an essay ca. 1951. An outline of important dates in the church’s history is included, as well as an undated copy of the institutions, Articles of Government. Additional essays and notes were filmed at a later date and appear on reel 3.
Series 2 is comprised of Minute Books, 1865, 1883-1979. Minute entries provide information on annual meetings, business sessions, elections, finances, church admissions, policies, officer and pastor reports, auxiliary church organizations, and miscellaneous news and notes. Volumes 1, 2, 4 and 5 provide lists of pastors, deacons, and members; volumes 2, 4 and 5 record baptisms; volumes 4 and 5 include marriages; and volume 5 shows deaths. The 1967-1979 minute book was filmed at a later date and is located on reel 3. Additional attendance and baptismal records can be found in Series 6 on reel 3.
The Church Reports, 1938-1952, of Series 3 describe services conducted at the United Church of Christ Congregation of Avoca. Entries detail primarily the weekly Sunday services, although special services and celebrations are also recorded. Also included are announcements, pastor’s reports, clerk’s reports, program notes, clippings, and miscellaneous material.
Series 4 consists of various volumes of Treasurer’s Books, 1896-1907 and 1934-1957. Although its headings characterize it as an expense recording book, volume 2 appears to be a record of collections made by the Church, 1939-1945. Most of the later volumes appear on reel 3.
The Ladies Aid Society Materials of Series 5 consist of four minute books, 1897-1929 and a few other misc. items. These record election information, committee reports, and project plans, as well as information on dues, membership, and attendance. An undated historical sketch of the Ladies Aid Society is also included. The 1904-1905 minute book appears on reel 3.
The Miscellany of Series 6 includes an essay about the Avoca Sunday School, church anniversary materials, a directory, contracts, correspondence, programs, and other loose papers. Additional materials appearing on reel 3 include correspondence, attendance and baptismal records, and some marriage and death records, etc.
The majority of the collection was loaned for microfilming in June of 1980. Additional materials were loaned and filmed the following month.
Series 1 – Historical Materials
- Church Histories including:
The Avoca Congregational Church, 1865-1945 (handwritten)
The Avoca Congregational Church, 1865-1945 (typed)
The Congregational Church of Avoca, 1865-1965 (handwritten)
The Congregational Church of Avoca, 1865-1965 (handwritten draft)
- “First Congregational Church of Avoca, Nebraska, 1865-1965” (published for church centennial)
- Outline of important dates in church’s history, ca.1945
- Articles of Government, undated
- Essay and Notes
Series 2 – Minutes, 1865, 1883-1979
1865 (This volume was not filmed and is not available through Interlibrary Loan.)
- 1883, Apr. 21 – 1922, Jan. 5 (v. 1)
- 1923, Jan. 4 – 1939 (v. 2)
- 1934, Jan. 8 – Aug. 31 (v. 3)
- 1940, Jan. 7 – 1950, Jan. 15 (v. 4)
- 1950, Jan. 15 – 1955 (v. 5)
Series 3 – Church Reports, 1938-1952
Series 4 – Treasurer’s Books, 1896-1907, 1934-1957
- Receipts and Expenditures, 1896-1907
- Collection book, 1939-1943
- Loose Treasurer’s Reports, 1934-1935
Series 5 – Ladies Aid Society Materials, 1897-1929
- Historical sketch of the Ladies Aid Society (handwritten), n.d.
- Photograph – Congregational Aid Society (Rev. Anderson, Pastor), n.d.
- Minutes, 1897, Sept. 29 – 1903, Sept. 3
- Minutes, 1918 – 1927, Feb. 24
- Minutes, 1927, Sept. 30 – 1929, Jan. 10
- Minutes, 1904-1905
Series 6 – Miscellany
- Sketch on Avoca Sunday School
- Church anniversary materials
- Various loose papers
- Church Register, 1956-1979 (Register of pastor, officers, members, attendance, baptisms, marriages, deaths, and meetings)
- Baptism Records, 1945-1961 and 1969
- Attendance Lists, 1933-1935 and undated
- Local Church Reports, 1934-1935
- Correspondence, 1933-1937, 1969 and 1971
- Miscellaneous loose papers
Avoca (Neb.) — Churches
Cass County (Neb.) — Churches
Congregational Churches in Nebraska
First Congregational Church (Avoca, Neb.)
United Church of Christ Congregational (Avoca, Neb.)
United Church of Christ in Nebraska
Revised 08-13-2008 TMM