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Plain Congregational Church (Bowling Green, Ohio) - MS 71 mf

Introduction | Agency History | Scope and Content | Series Description | Order of Microfilming


The Plain Congregational Church collection (1835-1973) contains minute books; membership records, including baptismal, marriage, and funeral registers; and financial records. The records were loaned to the Center for Archival Collections, Bowling Green State University, by Associate Pastor Ralph Dibiasio-Snyder for microfilming during the Wood County Historical Church Records Survey. The microfilming was completed in March 1978 and the original records returned to the church.

The collection is contained on three rolls of microfilm. The manuscript register was compiled by Mark Barnes in March 1980.

 Agency History

Plain Congregational Church was established November 27, 1835, with twelve members listed on its charter roll. The first building was a frame structure, located just west of the present building on Poe Road in Bowling Green, Ohio. Being established in 1835, Plain becomes the oldest church in Wood County, followed by Scotch Ridge United Presbyterian Church (1855) and Tontogany Presbyterian Church (1861).

In 1875 a brick building was erected on the present site and remained until a storm devastated the building on May 2, 1933. On August 12, 1934, the present structure was dedicated under the leadership of Rev. Fenton O. Fish, and in 1953 a new brick parsonage was added. Current pastors are Gary Stratman and Ralph Dibiasio-Snyder.

 Scope and Content

The records of the Plain Congregational Church contain weekly, monthly, and annual accounts of church activities from 1835-1973 (1846-1850 missing) and consist of eleven volumes: nine bound and two post bound. The nine bound volumes are the original records and the two post bound are typed transcripts from 1835 to 1909. The volumes include all the important records of the church: minutes of the annual, monthly, and weekly meetings, baptisms, marriages, memberships, dismissals, funerals, officers, communion services, and financial statistics. The last four volumes (1934-1973) have the vital statistics (baptisms, marriages, funerals) listed separately at the back of the books as well as within the weekly accounts. Additional information within the records includes: incorporation papers, news articles, confessions of faith, miscellaneous correspondence, and a written compact to become a corporate entity.

The records of the Plain Congregational Church are generally complete and reflect the activities of a major focus of community social activity in a small northwestern Ohio town. Attitudes expressed in church related records also reflect those of the community in which the church exists. The completeness of these records is a major strength in their use as data sources for research. The major weakness that arises in the use of these records rests in the disorderly mixture of other records within the minutes. Use of the rolls is facilitated if one refers to the compilation of the scattered material that follow that minutes.

The microfilming of these volumes did not include all of the church records. A series of Pastoral sermons for 1977-1978, a pictorial directory for 1976, Sunday School attendance records for 1970, 1974-1976, and statistics on Sunday School activities for 1961-1978 were not filmed. Further information can be obtained by contacting Pastors Gary Stratman and Ralph Dibiasio-Snyder at Plain Congregational Church on West Poe and Liberty High Roads in Bowling Green, Ohio 43402 (419) 352-7919.

 Series Description


Arranged chronologically
Contains minutes of weekly, monthly, and annual meetings of church members. Included within minutes are vital statistical records such as membership rolls, baptisms, marriages, and funerals; church bylaws and articles of faith; committee reports; financial reports; listing of pastors; and building plans.

 Order of Microfilming

Roll 1

  1. Minutes, 1835-1934

Roll 2

  1. Minutes, 1934-1973

Roll 3

  1. Minutes (typed transcriptions), 1835-1909

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