Our History


First Congregational Church of Fresno

First Congregational Church of Fresno was historically formed in October of 1883. The original church site was located in what is presently downtown Fresno. By 1912, the growth of the congregation led them to build a new facility also in the downtown district (Divisidero & M at San Pablo).

First Congregational has always had an active pastoral and lay leadership in Fresno and throughout the Valley, faithfully wrestling from generation to generation with God’s call to serve its members and the community as “new occasions teach new duties.” In 1949, the church relocated to its present site, building what has become a familiar and comforting landmark, affectionately known as “The Big Red Church.”

In 1957, First Congregational Church of Fresno took part in the historic merging of Congregational-Christian churches, with the Evangelical and Reformed churches, resulting in the present United Church of Christ. Today, we are covenant partners of the Sequoia Association, one of seven Associations that comprise the Northern California-Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ. As a denomination, we share a Common Board for Global Ministries with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); and we also are ecumenical partners through Articles of Agreement with the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Reformed Church of America, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. (To see more about the United Church of Christ, visit these links: www.ucc.org and www.i.ucc.org. )

Among its many physical assets, First Congregational United Church of Christ of Fresno is today extremely proud of its Casavant Pipe Organ, esteemed to be one of the finest pipe organs between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The acoustic resonance of the church sanctuary makes it a prize performance venue to outside groups such as Fresno Pacific University Chorus, the Fresno Grand Opera Chorus, the Fresno Gay Men’s Chorus, and the American Guild of Organists.

Our church campus facility currently houses the Sequoia Head Start, which operates a week day program for children of the region. In addition, we provide space throughout the year for Fresno High School in its student testing program.