Freeborn church to close
Published 10:11 am Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Members vote to cease at end of year
FREEBORN — After 141 years, Freeborn Congregational United Church of Christ will be closing its doors.
The church members voted for the church to cease operation by Dec. 31.
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The Rev. Cherie Daniel leads Freeborn Congregational United Church of Christ, Alden United Methodist Church and Grace United Methodist Church in Kiester.
Despite the three churches sharing a pastor, Daniel said the decision ultimately came down to money.
Daniel said membership, attendance, giving and energy are all down in the church despite a few members still being active.
The Freeborn Congregational United Church of Christ is the only church in town and many of the members have been members there for their entire life, Daniel said.
The current church building was built in 1950. Since then there have been two additions. An education wing was added in 1963 and a narthex, or entryway, was added in 1978.
It’s not just the church, Daniel said. In the past 12 years she has seen the grocery store close down and shortly before she took her position at the church, the school closed and consolidated with United South Central Public School in Wells.
The Girl Scouts troop, Boy Scouts troop and 4-H club also have folded, Daniel said.
“There’s just not enough people to run the congregation anymore,” Daniel said.
Daniel said there is a strong desire in the congregation to keep the church going as there is a lot of history, connection and memories associated with the church, but the money isn’t there.
The congregation is sad and grieving the impending loss, Daniel said, but they decided to hold one final Thanksgiving Eve service by the fireplace and one final Christmas Eve candlelight service before closing.
After the church closes by the end of the year, Daniel said the congregation voted to sell all of the property. The church owns the city block including the church building, parsonage and 95 trees.
The church’s final worship service will be 10:30 a.m., a new time, on Dec. 28 at Freeborn Congregational United Church of Christ, 408 Main St., Freeborn. The service will be a service of celebration and farewell and a potluck to follow.