First Congregational Church in Hartington sees 100 years

HARTINGTON — The First Congregational Church in Hartington was organized in September, 1917, when members from four Hartington area churches of different denominations agreed to worship as one group.
The Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist and Episcopal Churches were struggling and started to talk about working together.
None of the four churches would agree to merge under any of the other church names. The decision was eventually reached to organize as the First Congregational Church, as there were no Congregationalists in the group.
The Baptist Church and the Episcopal Church did not have a resident pastor at the time the discussion first began.
The Presbyterian Church, which had been founded by Father John Martin, was located at the northwest corner of Franklin and Summit Streets.
The original Methodist Church was known as the Methodist Episcopal. The first church building had sat on the southeast corner of the old Hartington High School campus. A new church was later built across the street to the northeast of the Courthouse. After the four churches made the decision to merge, the church building was remodeled and became the First Congregational Church.
Later on the Hartington Fire Hall was at this location previous to putting up a new structure.
It had been stated in the Hartington Centennial Book that the records of the four churches seem to have dissolved with the churches, which made it difficult to compile an accurate history of the original churches.
The first church service for the newly organized First Congregational Church was held on Sept. 24, 1917. Charter members on the Board of Trustees included W.H. Burney, U.P. Nedrow, G.E. Anderson and J.C. Robinson. The first resident pastor was Rev. J. Guy Munsell who started serving at First Congregational in November of 1917.