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United Church of Christ in New Ulm to close at the end of the year

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt The United Church of Christ (UCC) will officially close at the end of 2021. The UCC building at 301 S. Minnesota was built in 1973 on the site of the former First Congregational Church.

NEW ULM — The United Church of Christ (UCC) in New Ulm will be closing at the end of 2021.

The church board voted in May to close.

“We’ve known this was hanging over our heads for some time,” Pastor Diane Hatman said.

Church Council President Deanne Romaine said it was a difficult decision for the congregation to make, but it had become too difficult for church members to commit to serving on the council and committees.

The majority of the congregation was over the age of 70 and not enough younger members were available to take on the responsibility.

Other church members who could serve, have other commitments requiring them to work on Sundays or evenings. Others had children or grandchildren who were involved in activities that take place in the evening and on the weekends.

UCC was formed in the 1960s through a merger between the Evangelical and the Congregational churches. In 1971, the First Congregational Church was razed and the UCC built a new church building on the same site.

In the final months before the UCC closes Pastor Hatman and the UCC board will work to help find new places of worship for their congregation. The church is also looking into preserving the history of UCC by collecting documents.

The church board is exploring options for the building. Romaine said there is hope the church could be used by another non-profit. If it needs to be sold, they hope to use the gift of the proceeds of the sale to a worthy charity.

The last church service at UCC will be held at 5 p.m. on December 26, 2021.

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