Doing Justice Since 1885

The history of First United Church of Tampa reaches back to the early days of the city, when a small group came together and founded the First Congregational Church in 1885.  After several moves the group bought a property on Florida Ave. in downtown Tampa, where it stayed for another five or six decades.  However, as the population moved out from the core city, the congregation decided to move to a new property near the newly-started University of South Florida. They built a small mid-century modern glass chapel with the intention of building a larger sanctuary later, however that dream never happened. In the 1990’s First Congregational merged with another Tampa UCC church and became First United Church of Tampa.

From its very beginning the congregation became known as a church which saw doing justice as part of its call.  The initial church set up classes for the children of Tampa cigar factory workers.  In the 1920’s and 30’s, its leaders stood up against government and police corruption. During the Iraq war of the 1990’s, its leaders spoke out and held vigils against the war.  During the trials of a Palestinian American USF professor, the pastor and members spoke out on his behalf and attended the trial proceedings so that members of the Muslim community would not be alone. In another milestone, in the mid 1990’s the congregation was one of the first in the FL conference of the UCC to vote to be Open and Affirming, meaning everyone was welcome, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The church remained near USF until 2018, when the congregation began to dream a bigger vision of the Peace Village, an extravagantly welcoming worshipping community imbedded within a community but serving others as well. That beautiful dream is still unfolding.