In 1868, after the end of the Civil War, a number of German families, in a section of Buffalo called “The Hydraulics,” started to gather in a home for prayer and devotions. In time, this Christian fellowship grew into a church. Land was purchased on the corner of Swan and Hagerman streets and a church building was erected. On February 3, 1869, St. Matthew’s German United Evangelical Protestant Church was dedicated.
This ministry thrived for many decades, but by 1960, the area had become increasingly industrial and commercial. Membership declined as families moved out of the city and to the suburbs. In a leap of faith, the church voted to relocate to McKinley Parkway in Hamburg.
Members met at the Armor Fire Hall while the new church was being built. On August 6, 1961, the first service was held at St. Matthew’s United Church of Christ in Hamburg.
A few items were brought from the old church to the new one. Our pipe organ was purchased from an old Jewish synagogue in 1901. Over time, it’s been reworked, electrified, and chimes have been added. Our baptismal font is also from the old church. Look closely and you’ll see a German inscription on its base.
Our denomination has merged three times since 1869, from Evangelical, to Evangelical and Reformed, to the United Church of Christ. Though times and circumstances have changed through the years, we share the same Christian bond in Jesus Christ, whose Gospel remains the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.