First Congregational Church of Portland Records

Span Dates: 1849-2016
Bulk Dates: 1987-2006
Volume: 70.2 cubic feet


The collection includes 12 folders documenting its determination to be an open and affirming congregation, providing insight into church change at the congregational level. The remainder of the collection consists of records, correspondence, photographs, and ephemera relating to the First Congregational Church of Portland. Included are annual reports, financial records, materials regarding the church’s Sunday School, the records of various committees, commissions, and clubs that formed within the church, issues of the church’s newsletter The Pilgrim, building plans, and materials relating to the church’s activities in social action, music, theater, and visual arts.

Hist/Bio Note

The First Congregational Church of Portland was founded by Reverend Horace Lyman, who began its construction in 1850 and opened it at what is today SW Second Avenue and SW Jefferson Street on June 15, 1851. A larger church was built on the same spot in 1871. It was the third church building, though, located at SW Park and Madison, which would become best known. Completed in 1895 at considerable expense, it was one of few American churches built in the Venetian Gothic style, and for several decades it was the tallest building in Portland. This building continued to house the church into the 21st century, although some of its smaller towers were removed in 1951. Throughout its history, the First Congregational Church has been involved in music and the arts, forming its first choir in 1856, and hosting art exhibitions as early as 1875. The church also has a history in engaging social issues. It hosted a convention for women suffragists in 1905, and in 1992 its congregation voted overwhelmingly in favor of welcoming openly gay and lesbian parishioners. Since 1960, the First Congregational Church has been a United Church of Christ church.

Finding Aid

The online finding aid lists the title of the folders relating to the Open and Affirming status of the church.


Oregon Historical Society, Davies Family Research Library Davies Family Research Library Oregon Historical Society 1200 SW Park Avenue Portland, OR 97205


Open and Affirming in the UCC (ONA & formerly UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns) | Oregon | Portland