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About Us

Our church dates back to the formation and establishment of Elyria, Ohio. Our name, often referred to as "First Church," really is that - Elyria's first organized church.

The church first organized in 1817 with the help of missionaries of the Missionary Society of Connecticut. In 1824, the church was organized as The Presbyterian Church, and met at the Park Courthouse until 1834, when a small frame building was constructed.

The congregation left the Presbytery in 1879 and the new "Congregational Church" met in the existing buildings until 1898, when both the building and ivy-covered stone chapel were torn down and replaced by the current structure.

In 1940 a major remodeling of the Sanctuary took place, along with changes and updates into the 1990s. Most recently, the interior courtyard was remodeled to include a small water feature, a Columbarium, and a Labyrinth.

From early on, First Church has been a community space, hosting lectures, performances, and concerts, and even housed a gym and a bowling alley. In 1964, the adjacent school building was added, and many generations of Elyria residents can recall attending Sunday School, Youth Group, or other community events like the Advent Workshop, the Madrigal Feast, or even high school exams!


In 1981, the congregation held many meetings to decide whether to stay in downtown Elyria or to purchase land and relocate outside of town.
The congregation voted overwhelmingly to stay in downtown, and that commitment remains steadfast to this day.

In 2020, First Church pivoted to online worship during the COVID-19 pandemic. This opened us up to new possibilities to connect virtually and on social media, which we are still exploring and creating together.

Our Pastor

Reverend Patrick Nicolino


Patrick was born in Akron and resides in Ohio City with his husband, J. Gary.  He is completely blind but that has not stopped him from just about anything! Patrick earned a B.A. in History and a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Akron and possesses a M.Div. from St. Mary’s Seminary and a M.A. in Psychology from John Carroll University.  He is A.B.D. status for his Ph.D. from Union Institute.  Patrick is an Adjunct Faculty member of the Sociology Department of John Carroll University.  He thoroughly enjoys skiing, reading and vacationing in Provincetown, Cape Cod.

The motto that Patrick attempts to live by is:

"Love one another as God unconditionally loves us."

Contact Pastor Patrick: 216-647-6930

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