On July 2, 1840, the first Congregationalists met at the Methodist church and were then incorporated by the state Legislature on February 20, 1841. By 1842, plans were made to erect a building. Josiah Harris was approached about becoming a founding member, even though he had been excommunicated by the Brownhelm Congregational Church for riding his horse on a Sunday. His sons, Calvin and Milo, soon became members, and since Harris gave land for Central School and the Town Hall, it is believed he also gave the land for the church.
The cornerstone brick was laid in 1843. The original building had no basement and parishioners purchased boxed pews annually. Many brought their own soapstone or other heating devices because their was no central heat. The pastor preached from a high platform in the center of the congregation raised by several steps and a railing. According to legend, the church remained unfinished for several years because of a controversy over whether to be Presbyterian or Congregational. The minutes from 1842-1879 make no mention of that disagreement or another controversy over abolition, which is reported to have split the congregation. The abolitionists remained in Amherst and became the Second Congregational Church.
In 1864, the church was raised to create a much needed basement when central heat was added. The basement also housed areas for Sunday School and a kitchen. The steeple and bell were removed during WWII. The bell was the oldest in the township and had been the only means to call people to town meetings, fires, deaths and important events. It was sold for scrap metal.
In 1914, Rev. Robert Armstrong proposed building a gymnasium behind the church where the horse barns were located. This provided the first opportunity for sports in Amherst. It was open to anyone -- boys, girls, and adults of all denominations. In 1923, the space was converted to provide a lounge and offices on the second floor and a dining room and new kitchen on the first floor.
Over 100 years later, on July 1, 2017, Amherst Congregational UCC merged together with First Congregational Church of Lorain. Together, our congregation continues the long history of community service. Today, the congregation works to provide meals to those in need while continuing to love like Jesus, grow in faith and serve those in need.