We are a member congregation of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., a reformed denomination born of the Church of Scotland (the home of Presbyterianism). We are also part of the Presbytery of Western New York (our regional body of 66 churches that stretches from the Niagara Frontier to Chautauqua County, and includes Cattaraugus and part of Allegany counties).
First United Presbyterian Church was founded in 1831 as First Presbyterian Church of Silver Creek. In 1969 the members of First United Methodist Church in the brick church across the street merged with First Presbyterian Church which changed its name to First United Presbyterian Church to commemorate the merger. For nearly 175 years First United Presbyterian Church has been the backdrop of life in Silver Creek, striving to be a beacon of hope, love and service to the community.
We are an open community of disciples of Jesus Christ, striving to live out his example of love and compassion.
We strive to accept all persons as children of God, deserving of love and compassion as God has shown such to all.
We hope you will be our guest and join our fellowship so we may work toward peace together and fulfill God's purpose.
On December 8, 1831 a group of people from the Village of Silver Creek gathered in an old brick school house to form a religious society under the New York State Religious Corporations Law of 1813. In those days only men could vote in such matters, so a vote was taken and the First Congregational Society of Silver Creek, then known as First Presbyterian Church, was formed - a member congregation of the Presbyterian Church of the United States.
They elected six men to serve as the first trustees of the newly formed religious society: James Brace, Ephraim Hall, John Reid, David Anderson, Daniel Rumsey, and William Hall. They had no meeting house as of yet, but they worshiped regularly in the old high school on main street.
In 1840 Daniel Rumsey deeded to the First Congregational Society a plot of land sitting adjacent to his home and place of business which rested on the village square. That land is the same space where now stands our church edifice which was built in 1840 and has been added to and altered many times since then to meet the ministry needs of each generation.
Next to the main sanctuary building in those days was the Anderson Lee Library. Though the library building has since been torn down, the foundation remains buried under the lawn of the church adjacent to Main Street/Route 20.
In 1968 conversations began between the Reverend Donald Spear, then pastor of First Presbyterian Church, and the Reverend Thomas Guerdat, then pastor of First United Methodist Church of Silver Creek, to join forces and unite the two congregations into one. The Methodist church had only a few families and was finding it increasingly difficult to maintain their property and ministry. On May 25, 1969 each congregation held congregational meetings and voted approved the merger under the corporate name of the First Presbyterian Church, which was First Congregational Society of Silver Creek. The ecclesiastical name was also agreed upon by both congregations to be First United Church of Silver Creek.
In 1981, on the 150th anniversary of the religious corporation being formed, a wooden box was found in the original cornerstone by Rev. Ed Halldorson, then pastor of First United Church, containing some coins and a piece of paper from 1840 when the cornerstone of our current sanctuary was laid. The paper had long since deteriorated, but is presumed to have contained a list of members at the time. In an incredible 150th anniversary celebration Rev. Halldorson and the congregation laid a new time capsule, containing the original coins, a tile with a sketch of the church, and several other artifacts from 1981. It remains there today to be opened in 2031 when more artifacts in the history of our church may be added.
In January 2010, at the Annual General Meeting, the members unanimously agreed to alter the ecclesiastical name of the Congregation to First United Presbyterian Church, to reflect in our name our affiliation with the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.
Today we are under the leadership of Session and Reverend Thomas Burian, our current pastor. We cherish our history and are proud of how this small village church has been central to the history of the Village of Silver Creek. We look forward to many more decades of worshiping God and fulfilling our ministry.