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The Congregational Church began in the home of Lucius Read, the second home built in Byron.  The Read house was not only a place of hospitality for travelers, but it also served as a stop along the Underground Railroad.  Through the Congregational Church, Byron was a hotbed of abolitionists, and the Lucius Read home was one of three underground stations within this community providing runaway slaves God’s refuge and sanctuary.
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Our church’s history is grounded in bringing our community together.  The Congregational and Methodist churches were both founded in Byron in 1837.  Out of the history of these two different churches, we became the United Church of Byron in 1931.  In 1957, two historical denominations joined together to become the United Church of Christ.  We are now a part of the Prairie Association of the Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ.  In 2012, our church held a year-long celebration in honor of our 175th Anniversary!  We celebrated the strength and resiliency of our past, and the hope and promise of our future.
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Our church building is grounded in historical meaning and faithfulness.  It does not stand square with the city block so that we “be not conformed to the world, but transformed” (Romans 12:2). Our outside roof line rises from four corners symbolic of the four gospels.  The roof structure appears almost in the form of a tent, reminding us that we should be pilgrim people in our rapidly changing times. The Latin cross within the sanctuary suggesting the Trinity by its three points.  
 
Our church sanctuary contains eight, beautiful stained glass windows representing Jesus’s eight Beatitudes found in his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3-10).  Starting from the left as you enter the sanctuary, the Beatitudes are “Blessed are the Poor in Spirit, the Meek, They that Mourn, They that Hunger and Thirst for Justice, the Merciful, the Pure in Heart, the Peacemakers, and Those Persecuted for Righteousness.”  May these windows help to remind us of Jesus’s message of humility, charity, and brotherly love.
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