Big plans for historic church

Rev. Darrin Harvey of First United Church of Christ speaks during this year’s Palm Sunday service.

First United Church of Christ is located at 248 Harding Way West in Galion.

Rev. Darrin Harvey loves the history of First United Church of Christ in Galion, but also has his eyes on the future.

“Our church is unique, very rooted in the community with deep ties that go back to the 1830s,” Harvey said. “The church was built in 1901, the congregation is very proud of their history. Most of them are in their 50s, we are looking to bridge the past into the future. We are looking to transform ourselves. We respect our history but be very open to what the Spirit is leading us to be in the future.”

The church offers both traditional and contemporary services.

“The traditional is becoming a bit more blended, in July and August we worship outside in the parking lot,” Harvey said. “We are working with an architect to build a pavilion.”

The pastor said his congregation is accepting of others from the community and there is a lot of interaction in the services.

“We are a congregation of big and humble hearts.” Harvey said, “We are welcoming, friendly and we are open to everybody. Regardless if you have never been to a church before. Come as you are jeans, suits, we have all types of people here. In our worship, we are getting a lot more innovative, creative and participatory. (To get people to participate more) I will ask a lot more questions during my sermon.”

Harvey says he’s working to learn more about Galion.

“I am still getting to know people and the community,” he said. “My family and I moved here from California but my wife and I are Ohioans. We moved back to be closer to our parents they are getting older.”

Harvey started at the church in November and said he feels Galion is open to faith.

“Galion is a pretty religious community, it’s religiously saturated.” he said, “They are very generous here, we probably give 30 percent of our income to local mission organizations.We house a lot of organizations in our buildings also. There is no cost for using these rooms, most organizations give a donation or what ever they can to give back to the church.”

Harvey said the church has been adaptable to meet the needs of the community.

“We have a gay couple here at the church,” he said. “We have people who agree with it and some people that don’t agree with it. But we are all able to worship together and love each other. We are a church that has changed with the community over the years. Galion has changed economically and socially. We are always open to change, to meet the needs to of the community. we don’t always agree in dogma or doctrine but there is no lists of beliefs you have to believe in.”

The pastor says he has big plans for the future.

“In the fall, we are looking to hire a second staff person, a youth minister.” Harvey said, “One of my goals is, we have lots of room I would like to use this room to open up a community center. If people need a place to stay or a place to use, give us a call”

In the future, he plans on having a grief seminar, parenting and marriage classes and Bible Study classes.


Evans can be reached at 419-468-1117 ext. 2049.

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