Two centuries on, Westlake's first church continues to grow
In the spring of 1811 a small group of members of a church in Lee, Massachusetts, received permission from their church to travel to Dover Township (which is now Westlake, Bay Village and part of North Olmsted) to establish the first church in the area.
There was no church building so they met in homes and barns until a small log cabin school house was built and they were given permission to hold their Sunday Services there. The first church was built in 1822 and was the first church in the township. After six new buildings and an addition we arrive at our current building on Dover Center Road.
Dover Congregational United Church of Christ is an open and affirming church under the direction and ministries of Rev. R. Keith Stuart. We continue to grow, adding 10 to 12 new members every quarter.
Our mission statement to “Seek Justice, Love Kindness and Walk Humbly With Our God” applies not only to our church but also to our community of Westlake and the surrounding communities.
To the members of Dover UCC, the word “united” is not just a word in their title, it aptly describes how the members graciously work together in their many missions.
We welcome people of all ages, genders, races, views, abilities, sexual orientations, expressions and identities, ethnic, educational and economic backgrounds into the full life and ministry of our church.
Our Minister of Justice, Rev. John Rinehart, keeps us informed of social and environmental injustice issues in and around our local communities. Our "Sacred Conversations" meetings give us an opportunity to visit and learn of our need to be more understanding and less judgmental.
The ways we support our members and community are many. We have a Wednesday morning Prayer Group who remember those having health or other personal stressful problems. We have hosted the Peace Village and Vacation Bible School programs which were open to all children in the community. The Calling and Caring Committee provides services for members of the church in various times of stress such as health problems, death of a family member or accidents. This includes providing transportation to doctor visits and church, providing food for someone just home from the hospital, visiting the home-bound and sending a CD of the Sunday Service or making a phone call to those who cannot get to church.
At Christmas we have a "Giving Tree" that includes ornaments with names of children in our community who may not receive a gift and what they might like. Members take an ornament from the tree and provide that gift.
The labyrinth has been completed in the yard south of the church. Everyone is welcome to use it.
In an effort to "go green" we have replaced all of the lights with LEDs and replaced the old single-pane windows with new double-pane windows. We are now moving into our "Heat It, Cool It, Park It” campaign to replace the old boiler and air-conditioning unit, and resurface the parking lot.
Some of the many organizations that meet in our church are Westlake Christian Church, Mothers Of Twins, Boy Scouts, Al-Anon, Alcoholics Anonymous, I AM support group for the LGBTQ community, Meals On Wheels and Play and Learn Preschool.
If you’d like to learn more, attend a Sunday Service at 8:15 a.m. or 11 a.m., or visit our website at doverucc.org, where you can see our Sunday Sermon and what we are doing. Everyone is welcome; God’s blessings are freely given. Dover UCC is located at 2239 Dover Center Road, Westlake; 440-871-1050. The church is handicapped accessible.