The heritage of the Elcho United Church of Christ and the Kempster United Church of Christ are rich in their religious foundation, their ethnic diversity, and their cultural roots. The yellowed pages of the ledger which houses the church's history tells tales of generosity, farsightedness, and determination. in the late teens when Elcho and the surrounding area was beginning to buzz with activity and following World War I, the ethnic make-up of the region was pluralistic. The whole region was a melting pot of ethnic backgrounds.
The generosity of Mr. Dorr, who contributed the property upon which the Elcho United Church of Christ church stands, made possible two things: he provided a home for the church and because of his stipulation in donating the property that it be used for other religious groups, laid the basis for a truly community-based congregation. After the Elcho Union Church was built, it was also used by the Methodists, the Lutherans, the Baptists and for a short time by the Catholics.
In November 1917 Miss Helen Jones, representing the WIsconsin Congregational Association arrived in the Kempster area to begin a process of prospecting for a new church. In 1920 an ecclesiastical council was convened and fourteen individuals organized as the Kempster Congregational Church.
The first pastor of the Elcho church was Mr. Bay who worked closely with Miss Helen Jones. Before the Elcho Congregational Church was founded in November 1920, its precursor was a small congregation of mixed backgrounds who were known as the Union Free Church, which was probably formed shortly after the turn of the century.
The charter of the Elcho church was finalized during an all-day meeting in January 1921 and the Elcho Congregational Church was formed. Some 32 individuals comprised the congregation which to this day is still considered a community-based church.
Community history and the church histories combine to paint a picture of rugged individualism, gritty pioneers who were determined to cut out a place in the north woods for their community, and individuals colorful and at the same time farsighted.
The Elcho Union Church yoked itself with the Kempster Church in 1944 and continues to this day to enjoy the benefits of being a sister church to one whose background is quite similiar.
With the changing times, in 1958 the churches showed their flexibilities and when the Congregational Christian Church merged with the Evangelical and Reformed Church to become the United Church of Christ both churches voted to become a part of the new denomination.
The two church continue in the tradition the spirit of dedication and genuine Christian Commitment to serving on another in the name of the Master and in the spirit of Christian love and fellowship. Both churches look into the future with confidence and hope and reinforces their determination to continuing the Christ-centered service to the community.