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A celebration of life that's open to the public will be held at 2 p.m. Jan. 6, 2019

COURTESY PHOTO - Hubbard United Church of ChristHubbard United Church of Christ, after more than 125 years, will be closings its doors — and opening new ones.

Originally chartered as The First Congregational Church of Hubbard, the church started with 10 people in the home of Joshua K. Abbott on Aug. 23, 1892. The meeting was attended by the Rev. F.W. Parker of nearby Woodburn. The church was officially recognized by the Oregon Congregational Church Council less than a month later on Sept. 18, during the cornerstone ceremony of the Elliott Prairie Church. Services were originally held in a community meeting hall above a store in Hubbard, though the Abbott family continued to host prayer meetings and other gatherings.

Plans for a church building were quickly drawn, and the first service in the newly-built church was held on the last Sunday of August 1893, with the building officially dedicated on Oct. 7, 1894.

In 1957, when the Congregational Christian Churches merged with the Evangelical and Reformed Churches to form the United Church of Christ, the newly renamed Hubbard Community Church became the first church in Oregon and the second one in the nation, to join the union.

Attendance continued to climb during the 1960s into the new millennium, with involvement in ministries including Tuesday Club Seniors, Gleaners, House of Zion Shelter, government surplus food distribution, quick response to local emergencies, hosting Hubbard's After School Progress and Safety Program for the North Marion School District, and Love INC.

In 1974, Hubbard Community Church partnered with Aurora Presbyterian to share spiritual community, choir and a pastor. For 38 years, both churches thrived, until a mutual decision to separate occurred in 2013. Experiencing a gradual decline in attendance and activity in the past five years, discussions regarding closing the church started in earnest earlier this year.

A special service of remembrance will be held for the public at 2 p.m. Jan. 6, 2019, and will include memorabilia for viewing and refreshments. During Hubbard's Celebration of Life Service, the Heart2Soul Spiritual Project will be commissioned. Heart2Soul will be birthed thanks to a generous gift from Hubbard United Church of Christ.

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