LAKE TWP.  Grace United Church of Christ (UCC), 13275 Cleveland Ave. NW, in Uniontown kicked off its 175th anniversary in March. There are several celebration events planned throughout the year including, including an ice cream social planned for Aug. 5 and a bell choir concert the first Saturday in December.

In May, the church welcomed guest speaker Rev. Dr. Gary Halstead, association minister for the Eastern Ohio and Western Reserve Associations of the Ohio Conference United Church of Christ.

The centuries-long history of the church started in 1843 when the congregation of the Grace UCC broke off from the Lutheran and German Reformed congregations. Back then, it was called a union church because of the union of the two denominations.

Rev. Jeff Nelson from Grace UCC said the split from the union church occurred over a disagreement about which language to hold services.

"There was a conflict over whether to hold services in German or English, the Grace UCC congregation decided it wanted to hold weekly services in English," Nelson said.

The first church the Grace UCC congregation built was in 1847. That building was replaced it in 1876. The later building still stands next to Greenlawn cemetery. The current facility was built in three phases. The first came in 1961, another in 1978 and the third section was added in 2003.

"The last phase contains the gymnasium that is used by different groups around the community," Nelson said. "We hosted students from Uniontown Elementary not too long ago."

Nelson said that he believes the church has sustained because of the community connection. He said it was one of the original churches to form in the area because of "a particular grounding."

"We’ve always had a strong connection with the community, we hold numerous outreach events, dinners and we host a monthly lunch when anyone can eat for free," Nelson said.

Nelson suggested that those interested in attending one of the events this year to watch the website at graceutown.com for upcoming announcements.

Grace UCC offers Sunday school for all ages at 9 a.m. with light refreshments in the HeBrews Café at 9:45 and worship in the sanctuary at 10:15 a.m. Nelson said the community is invited to services as well as any of the events scheduled throughout the year.