Ogden Christian Church

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Exterior of Ogden Christian Church as it appeared in January 2022. Photo by Deniane Kartchner

Address:  580 23rd St, Ogden, UT

Built:  1912

Architect

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Arthur Stone (1841-1876)

I'm not sure who the architect is yet. 

 

Historic Overview

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Sketch of hall-parlor plan.

The building which became the meeting place of Ogden Christian Church (2022) was constructed as a mission church of the German Evangelical Synod of North America in 1912 and served this community until the 1920's. In 1927, the building was purchased by the local Japanese Christian fellowship, becoming home to the newly formed Japanese Union Church. The congregation later incorporated as Ogden Japanese Christian Church (1965-2015) and then Ogden Christian Church (2015-2022). The Iglesia Cristiana Evangelica Bethel Church (incorporated in 2011) also meets in the building in 2022.

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Congregation at Ogden Union Church in ____. 
 

Features

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St. Pauls

The treatment of Germans during WWI and the arrest of Rev. Leesman (later acquitted) while carrying a letter from a parishioner to a German prisoner at Fort Douglas contributed to the pastor leaving Ogden and the disintegration of the St. Paul congregation. The building had been vacant for several years before it was purchased by the Japanese fellowship in 1927.

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Art Stone / Alex Brown / Henry James & Family Home (2010)
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Alexander Brown   (1826-1910)
 

Ogden Japanese Union Church

1927-1965

Japanese American immigration to Ogden led to the formation of the Japanese Union Church and purchase of the building in 1927. The congregation itself was formed in the early 1900's with members of the Japanese Christian Fellowship group. They first met in several places including 1) Basement of the First Presbyterian Church 2) Kariya store (24th and Grant) 3) Second-story room across from the Post Office 4) Old First Baptist Church Building on Grant Avenue near 24th Street.

The war hysteria of WWII hit the Japanese as it had the Germans 24 years earlier. Every February, the Japanese American community commemorates Executive Order 9066 (removal of Japanese Americans to concentration camps during WWII) as a reminder "of the impact the incarceration experience has had on our families, our community, and our country. It is an opportunity to educate others on the fragility of civil liberties in times of crisis, and the importance of remaining vigilant in protecting the rights and freedoms of all." 

                                         The Japanese American Citizens League, jacl.org/dayofremembrance

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Art Stone / Alex Brown / Henry James & Family Home (2010)
 

Ogden Japanese Christian Church

1965-2015

In 1965, the name of the congregation was changed to the Ogden Japanese Christian Church in order to better reflect the evangelical identity of the organization, according to the church's history.

 

The congregation fought considerable pressure during the civil rights movement to dissolve the church and integrate members into neighborhood congregations yet continued to exist as a Japanese congregation for almost 20 more years. 

Art Stone / Alex Brown / Henry James & Family Home (2010)
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Ogden Japanese Christian Churh

75th Anniversary

1927-2002

Ogden Christian Church

2015-2022

In the years following the 1980s, both the church and neighborhood underwent many changes. "As we had fewer members who spoke Japanese, services were changed entirely to English, and our church population changed along with it. In 2015, our congregation voted to change our name to The Ogden Christian Church, to better reflect our congregation’s increasing diversity."

                                                                                                                                              ogdenchristianchurch.com

In 1965, the name of the congregation was changed to the Ogden Japanese Christian Church in order to better reflect the evangelical identity of the organization, according to the church's history. The congregation fought considerable pressure during the civil rights movement to dissolve the church and integrate members into neighborhood congregations yet continued to exist as a Japanese congregation for almost 20 more years.

 

A focus of refurbishing and remodels has been to serve an increasingly older congregation. Several members of the congregation are in their 90's. Covid-19 concerns have also affected the church the past two years. 

Sources

[1] Thomas Carter and Peter Goss, Utah’s Historic Architecture, 1847-1940, Utah State Historical Society, 1988, p.14.
[2]Dorothy Sherner and Laura ShernerWelker, Mary Elizabeth- Her Stories, manuscript, 1933, p.38.
[3] Fred N. Stone, A Reminiscent History of the Lynne Ward, 1934, manuscript, p. 2.
[4] Editor Milton R.Hunter, Beneath Ben Lomond’s Peak, Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1944, p. 139.
[5] Sherner and Welker, Mary Elizabeth-Her Stories, p. 2.
[6] Richard C. Roberts and Richard W. Sadler, A History of Weber County, 1997, Utah State Historical  Society and Weber County Commission, p. 133, 134; Jay G. Burrup, Church History Specialist, LDS Church History Library, letter, 9-15-10.
[7] Interview Edna Kent Stone by Macel Stone Montgomery, manuscript, c. 1965; Dixie Summers Botsford, A Short History of Arthur W. Stone and Sarah Ann Yeaman, manuscript, p.2.
[8] The Lemon Survey shows that this farm was composed of two free land claims of 20 acres each that were first claimed by Erastus Bingham  in 1851.
[9] Standard Examiner, Bingham’s Fort, Built To Guard Against Indians, Is Remembered By Subscriber, George Pierce, 1934.
[10] Interview with Marjorie James, March 21, 2007.