History of Berwick Congregational Church

Berwick Congregational Church began as “Union Chapel” which was not denominationally constituted and was served by ministers with various backgrounds (United Brethren, Methodist, Presbyterian, Congregational and Baptist).  The trustees decided that the first denomination to organize would own the building.  The building was constructed on the farm of F. E. Elliott. Mr. Elliott donated 2 acres of land just east of the Berwick Cemetery.  The building was built with donations from F.E. Elliott, Henry Taylor and his father Mr. Taylor.  Additional contributions came from the community and the building was erected for $2,500.

The church became a Congregational Church in 1875 under the leadership of Rev. C.W. Blodgett.  The people believed that the town was growing in the area of the current church site.  In November of 1899, the building was dragged to its current location and reopened just after the new year.  By 1924, the Congregational Church was ready for a remodeling.  Verbal family recollections during that time passed down the belief that a Lutheran Church in northern Iowa was willing to give their windows; so the church had them transported by farm wagon and installed in the Berwick Church building.

It remained Berwick Congregational Church until October of 1939 when it seemed appropriate to join forces with the Methodist Church to become Berwick Federated Church with a divided budget that supported the Methodist Church and the Congregational Church.  This cooperative ministry went on for more than 20 years until the body decided that it was time to either be Methodist or Congregational.  The decision was to become a Congregational Church.  This took place just as a portion of the Congregational denomination entered a merger creating the United Church of Christ.  Berwick voted to be a member of the United Church of Christ and remained in membership until 1996 when it joined with the Congregational body that did not join the merger.

In 1997, the church called the Rev. Richard Miller-Todd (Congregational) to be their minister.  In 1998, the church formally joined the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches.  Rev. Miller-Todd remained the pastor until 2011 when he resigned.  The Rev. Theron (Tom) Conrey  (Presbyterian) served the church as interim for more than a year and he then asked Rev. Miller-Todd to return to Berwick to begin serving  alternately on a quarterly basis.  The three months that one minister is preaching the other is “off” and able to be away for periods of time.  This arrangement has given added energy to the congregation and the pastors.

The church is also a member of the Iowa-Nebraska Association of Congregational Christian Churches.  In 2014, the church played a major role in hosting the national Congregational meeting in Omaha, Nebraska.