First Congregational UCC

Use the church featured on this page to orient yourself in the drawing above.  The First Congregational Church is the second steeple from the left on the opposite side of the lake.  You are looking across Round Lake, right up Park Avenue’s hill, which is to the right of the church.

The First Congregational United Church of Christ is an active church, with one of the largest congregations in Charlevoix.  The Congregational Church was founded at a meeting held in the Methodist Church parlor on September 19, 1882.   At this meeting, a constitution was adopted.

The Charlevoix Sentinel published the following story about the meeing on September 22, 1882:

The Charlevoix Congregational Church was organized Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 19, with a membership of nine. Rev. Leroy Warren of Lansing, Rev. P. F. McClelland, of Northport, Rev. James Davies, of Atwood, Rev. D. Laseron, of Leland and Wm. Gill, of Northport, were present and participated in the exercises. Rev. Leroy Warren preached in the evening. Rev. Mr. VanAuken, of Augusta, Mich., will preach here next Sunday with a view of permanently locating as pastor.

Immediately following this meeting, the Sunday School, Ladies Aid, and Missionary Society were formed.  The church lot was purchased in 1883 for $800, and construction began soon after.

The sand, gravel, and cement were provided by members of the congregation, as was most of the labor, and the stone for the foundation.  Tools, lumber, and other goods were donated.  The women of the congregation held a number of fundraisers during the construction.  As a result, at the time of the dedication in January of 1885 the congregation owed only $800, and collections taken that day retired the entire debt.  The total cost of construction was $5541.71.

From the time of the first meeting to the dedication of the building and retirement of all debt, a little more than two years had elapsed.   The settlers of Charlevoix let no grass grow under their feet!

The first minister was Rev. C. F. Van Auken. The Charlevoix Sentinel contained the following item in the July 17, 1906 issue:

Death of Rev. C. F. Van Auken
Word was received here Monday by Rev. H. A. Putnam of the death in Florida, of Rev. C. F. VanAuken. While Rev. George W. Wood was the first missionary preacher here, and the pioneer in the movement, Rev. Mr. Van Auken was the first pastor of the Charlevoix Congregational Church as an organized religious body, and may be placed in history as the founder of that church.

He came to Charlevoix in 1882 as pastor and filled the pulpit for five years. It was during that period that the present church edifice was built. Mr. Van Auken was not only a forceful and able preacher, but was endowed with extraordinary business and executive ability. He was very much attached to the Charlevoix church, and severed his pastoral connections here because of an urgent call to assume a larger field in evangelistic and church extension work. Mr. Van Auken was one of four brothers who were congregational ministers. The three survive him.

The deceased clergyman was much beloved by his people, and was generally respected by those of other denominations.
Rev. Aiken is shown in the photo below — he is the tall man on the right.


The church is located at 101 State Street, on the corner of Park Avenue and State.   The original part of the building has a cross-gabled form and fieldstone foundation.  The stained glass windows, with rectangular sections and rose windows above, were installed in 1884, prior to the dedication.  A square tower is topped by a belfry, and that is topped by a weathervane.  These features were all included in the original structure.

The church’s community room was built on the site of a home at 204 Park Avenue.  That home is shown below:

The church was listed on the state registry of Historic Sites in 1995.

Phone:  231-547-9122     Fax:  231-547-1103


For more information about the church, see its website:




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