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Hope UCC drawing

Our History

Our Beginnings

In 1881, Mary Ann Schuyler, a local resident, wanted to start a church.  At her request, the Chicago-based Baptist Home Mission Society, sent the Rev. George Prescott to Sturgeon Bay.  By 1883, Prescott had encouraged the small congregation to become a Congregational Church.  After a few years using the town hall for worship and as a parsonage, Hope’s first church building was erected at the corner of 4th and Louisiana and would be its spiritual home from 1888-1965.  In 1961 Hope Congregational Church became Hope United Church of Christ.  Seven years later, the Hope congregation planned and built a new church at the corner of 12th and Michigan, where they reside today. During Christmas of 1987, a Dobson Pipe organ, customized to fit the modern architecture of Hope’s sanctuary, was installed and dedicated. To this day, music continues to be a highly valued and cherished aspect of Church life and worship.

Growth and Change

In 1996, the congregation undertook a major remodeling project, adding the fellowship hall, a new kitchen, and accessible restrooms. In 2013, the ENHANCE Hope (Engaging New Hope and New Challenges Every-day) Capital Campaign was launched with a focus on enhancing the following four areas of church life: Community Building (funding for current and future building maintenance), Ability to Connect (upgrading audio visual capabilities for sharing Hope’s message in church as well as the digital world), Existing Resources (transforming the underutilized outdoor space to allow for Hope’s mission to expand into new areas), and Spiritual Growth (increasing opportunities to broaden individual growth and insight). A handicapped accessible front door and chancel area were installed in 2023-2024. 


Progressive Christianity has long been a defining aspect of Hope’s identity and culture. As such, Hope has sought to create an inclusive community that respects diversity and acknowledges “the way we behave toward one another and Earth is the fullest expression of what we believe.” Examples of how Hope has lived out this core belief include the election of Hope's first woman moderator in 1975, the congregation’s vote to become an Open and Affirming congregation in 2001, the establishment of a Relational Covenant in 2021, the welcoming of its first settled female pastor in 2022, and a long-standing commitment to environmental stewardship.

Today a spirit of service, mission, and intention is alive and well at Hope. Over the years, members and ministers have come and gone, but mission and justice have remained integral to the Hope community. Through its Board of Mission and Action, Hope supports causes, local and beyond. Hope has also shared its facility with organizations such as Breakfast Rotary, Midsummer's Music, Literacy Door County, art groups, HELP of Door County, NAMI, JAK's Place, PFLAG, and various parenting groups. 

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