Get to know more about what makes us different.

If you’re looking for a church steeped in history and tradition that is passionate about community and the city of Canton then we’d love for you to join us for a new era in Downtown Canton with a recent re-launch of First Church of the Resurrection with fresh vision under leadership as part of the RiverTree Christian Church Movement. The history that has shaped us with the Biblical beliefs that guide us propel First Church forward as a body of Christ on mission together.
Worship with us Sundays at 10AM in the oldest Sanctuary in Canton beginning with meaningful hymns often accompanied by the historic pipe organ plus modern worship songs featuring our talented worship team. Classes are available for children birth through 5th grade during the service. You can expect a relevant, Bible-focused message, encouraging prayer, and connection with others.
Join us in regular rhythms of SENT SUNDAYS where our entire church is engaged in acts of Sabbath, Supper or Service, REZ GROUPS gathering around common mission, networks and neighborhoods, and GENERATION SUNDAYS"where the Sunday service is led by different generations of the congregation. 



Founded in 1805, Canton’s first European inhabitants were primarily Germans of Reformed and Lutheran heritage who were migrating west from Pennsylvania and Maryland.

As early as 1806, Rev. John Staugh, a Lutheran minister, and John Peter Mahnenschmidt, who served several Reformed congregations, paid visits to Canton as circuit-riding preachers. Their visits inspired the people of Canton to construct a modest church building on the 500 block of West Tuscarawas which became known as Union Church since it served both congregations from 1810-1823.

In 1818, Rev. Benjamin Faust became the Reformed Church’s first resident minister, serving until 1832. The principal event of Rev. Faust’s pastorate was the relocation of the church in 1823. A new site was bought a half mile east of the original edifice on the 900 block of East Tuscarawas, and the second Union building was erected.
Peter Herbruck, who was to serve the church for more than fifty years as its pastor and to play a vital part in Canton’s religious life, began his ministry here in 1832.

1836 – 1861 

In 1837, as a desire for English-speaking services was growing, a group of members from the Reformed congregation united with a similar group from the Lutheran Church, and organized a new English-speaking church, Trinity Lutheran. Around the same time, Rev. Dr. Herbruck actively cooperated in establishing the first Theological Seminary in Canton.

The 1830’s and the 1840’s were marked by two major and related national trends: the Temperance Movement and the Second Great Awakening. Both trends impacted the city of Canton in profound ways. Steadfast through these turbulent times, Rev. Herbruck sought to lead from a place of fidelity to Scripture and the longstanding traditions of the Church. As a result, he emerged as an outstanding religious leader in the State of Ohio.

The building of the Pittsburgh-Fort Wayne railroad through Canton in 1851 brought industry, jobs, and another wave of German and Swiss immigrants. Membership in the church grew quickly, and Union Church was bursting at the seams. In 1858, as it became apparent that the two congregations would grow into their own identities, Rev. Herbruck took it upon himself to raise the money for a new church building.

1862 – 1887 

On account of a close personal friendship between Rev. Herbruck and Rev. Fr. John Baptist Uhlman, pastor of St. Peter’s Catholic Church, all the lumber for the new building was donated by a local Catholic man, Andrew Meyer. The new church building was dedicated in October 1862 under the name Jerusalem’s Reformed Church. The steeple reached 145 feet, the tallest structure in Canton. Beside the church building, a schoolhouse was also constructed and maintained by the church for many years.

In 1871, amid increasing calls for English-speaking services, a second Reformed Church was organized. This congregation, Trinity Reformed Church, worshipped for a year in the mother church before constructing its own building just down the road. In 1914 the Trinity congregation relocated to Market Avenue North and 6th Street. Today, this congregation exists as Trinity UCC and worships at the intersection of Blackburn and Fulton Roads.

In 1886, Rev. Dr. John B. Rust succeeded Rev. Herbruck as the church’s fourth pastor. In just three years, Rev. Rust introduced the first English-speaking services on Sunday evenings, created the first written record of church members, corrected clear patterns of the abuse of alcohol which had become part of the church’s culture, and oversaw several major additions and improvements to church property.

1888 – 1913 

With thirty years of pastoral experience, Rev. Dr. Frederick Stassner was called by the church in 1890. He oversaw the building of a parsonage on the east side of the building and instigated the founding of “A Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor” as well as a “Junior Society,” both of which instilled a vision of servant leadership in young people.

In 1896, Rev. Frederick C. Nau became the church’s sixth pastor. In order to secure funds to build more space for the growing congregation and Sunday School, the church was legally incorporated in 1897 under the new name, “The First German Reformed Church of Canton, Ohio.” In 1899, a major addition to the west end of the building was dedicated, the basement was remodeled as a social and dining hall, and memorial stained-glass windows were added to the sanctuary thanks to the Frauenverein, a society of German-American women organized to provide relief of widows, orphans, and the sick.

1902 saw the creation of “The Woman’s Missionary Society,” and in 1906 Andrew Carnegie contributed half the cost toward the purchase of a new organ, with the other half coming from memorials and congregational donations.

Rev. Dr. Theodore P. Bolliger was called by the church in 1907, becoming the church’s seventh pastor. Rev. Bolliger’s pastorate began with the addition of English services on alternate Sunday mornings.

1914 - 1939 

In 1914, the church began to partner with other congregations in purchasing land and committing both finances and people to plant new churches, such as Lowell Reformed church (1917), and to start other local missionary endeavors.

In 1917, Rev. Bolliger published “History of the First Reformed Church in Canton, Ohio.” This book constitutes an invaluable record of the first one hundred years of the church’s life. Rev. Bolliger concluded his ministry at the church in September of 1919.

The church’s eighth pastor, Rev. Dr. R.W. Blemker, was called in 1920. In the summer of that year, the church published its inaugural edition of The Helper, a monthly publication meant to connect, inform, and equip the congregation, something it continues to do one hundred years later!

In 1926, the congregation launched construction of “The Parish House” on church grounds. This building was to be used for the rapidly expanding Sunday School program, as well as other educational, recreational, and social purposes.

Historically, in 1934, the Reformed Church in the United States merged with the Evangelical Synod of North America to form the Evangelical and Reformed Church, a joint body of 850,000 people. As a result, the church changed its name to, “First Evangelical and Reformed Church.”

1940 – 1965 

As German speaking services were eliminated during World War II and sensing the need for younger leadership, Rev. Blemker resigned in May of 1946 and two months later, Rev. Dr. Karl Koepke accepted a call to become the church’s ninth pastor. Under his leadership, the church’s already generous posture toward needs throughout the broader body of Christ and in the world grew to an even greater degree. This was expressed in making sacrificial contributions to the building of senior living homes, orphanages, and discipleship programs. Additionally, the church participated in relief efforts to war-stricken countries by sending clothes, shoes, and finances to aid with rebuilding projects.

Through the generous donation of church members, the “Evangelist” stained glass windows were installed in the north wall of the sanctuary in 1948. Additional stained-glass windows were installed around the second story of the sanctuary as memorials to loved ones.

In 1951, the church helped to purchase land on Market Ave. North between 31st and 32nd Streets to help establish Market Heights Mission Church.

In 1959, after several years of development, there was a merger between the Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Church. This merger represented over eight thousand churches and two million people. As a result, the church’s name was changed to “First United Church of Christ.”

1966 – 1991 

Rev. Koepke, to whom the Memorial Chapel was dedicated in 1979, ended his ministry at the church in 1975. In 1976, Rev. Dr. Paul Carmany became the church’s tenth pastor. Under Rev. Carmany and his conviction that “the good news cannot ignore suffering,” the church’s food ministry was transformed from a hallway closet to the 901 Food and Clothing Ministry, utilizing the former parsonage as a distribution site for the Stark County Hunger Task Force and operating a weekly clothing sale that was operated by members of the congregation and the community.

In 1987, Rev. Dr. Cliff Price became the church’s eleventh pastor. During his thirteen years of leadership, the congregation formed a missions committee that expanded the church’s engagement with mission locally and globally.
The church also increased its social gatherings and fundraising efforts for ministry and mission partners such as Habitat for Humanity, through which it participated in several house building projects in Southeast Canton. It was also during this time that many members of the congregation participated in Walk to Emmaus, a three-day experience of Christian spiritual renewal and formation that God used to bring a fresh sense of life and vitality to the church.

1992 – 2017 

As Rev. Price’s ministry ended in 2000, Rev. Bill Seymour was called from his role as Youth and Associate Pastor to serve as the church’s twelfth pastor. In 2002, as an expression of its commitment to downtown Canton, the church launched a major renovation that included interior upgrades, a new entranceway and gathering space to better accommodate visitors, and an addition for office and classroom space.

In January 2005, the congregation voted to part ways with the United Church of Christ, becoming an independent, non-denominational church under the name, “First Church of the Resurrection.” Rev. Dr. Bruce Mont was called as the church’s thirteenth pastor later that year.   In 2010, the church celebrated its two hundred year anniversary. During Rev. Mont’s pastorate, the Constitution and Bylaws were updated and a new leadership structure was adopted for the spiritual leadership of the church, with an emphasis on outreach and evangelism. In 2016 a wooden cross was dedicated in the far west parking area to mark out a sacred space for neighbors and passersby.

2018 - now 

In 2018, as Rev. Mont concluded thirteen years of ministry, the congregation made two major decisions concerning its future. First, as new questions arose over the church’s viability in downtown Canton, the congregation again voted to remain, believing that God had more in store for its life in this place. One expression of this was the church’s willingness to donate several parcels of land to Refuge of Hope for the construction of a new men’s shelter and meal ministry.

Around the same time, the congregation was approached by RiverTree Christian Church about partnering to found a community development and leadership initiative. Sensing the leading of the Holy Spirit, First Church of the Resurrection donated its building to RiverTree, helping to found The One Center for Leadership.

In 2019 the church took another step of faith, calling Rev. Dr. JR and Rev. Amy Rozko to serve as Co-Lead Pastors. As the church’s fourteenth pastorate, this call represented an embrace of a style of leadership that the church had never known in its more than two-hundred-year history.

2020 was an era-defining year in the United States and around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic brought massive forms of disruption in all facets of life, especially church life. From March 2020 through March 2021, the congregation gathered for worship virtually and in parking lot services. In-person services resumed Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021.


Expand to view the foundational theology of every RiverTree Church.

There is one God who is the source of everything.
God is one and exists as three equal persons; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God has existed eternally and is the creator of everything that exists in the universe, both physical and spiritual. He is actively involved in sustaining all things in the universe and also supernaturally intervenes in human existence to achieve His purposes. He has made mankind in His image and has gone to great lengths to demonstrate that He wants to be in a love relationship with people. (Genesis 1:26; Matthew 3:16-17; John 3:16; Acts 17:24-30; Romans 1:20; 2 Peter 3:9)
God lives in you.
God is one and exists as three equal persons; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God has existed eternally and is the creator of everything that exists in the universe, both physical and spiritual. He is actively involved in sustaining all things in the universe and also supernaturally intervenes in human existence to achieve His purposes. He has made mankind in His image and has gone to great lengths to demonstrate that He wants to be in a love relationship with people. (Genesis 1:26; Matthew 3:16-17; John 3:16; Acts 17:24-30; Romans 1:20; 2 Peter 3:9)
Although we were made in the image of God, all humans sin and need a redeemer.
Sin entered the world through Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God and affects every person.  Without the rescuing power of Christ’s love for humanity as displayed in HIS death and Resurrection, every person is doomed to eternal separation from God. The Bible promises that anyone who believes in Jesus and confess their sin is forgiven.  Further all who accept Jesus as Lord and Savior are given eternal life, will never be separated from God and are called Children of God. (Genesis 1:27, Genesis 2:7, Genesis 2:16-17; Ephesians 2:1; Romans 1:17-3:12; Romans 3:23) 
Jesus is the only Son of God, the only way to Heaven.
We believe that Jesus Christ is God’s only Son who was physically born as human being while remaining fully God. Because He was both fully God and fully human, His death was able to make the perfect and only payment for our sin and He is, therefore, the only way a person may have his or her broken relationship with God restored and enter God’s eternal presence in Heaven. (John 14:6; Romans 3:21-25; John 11:25-26; Acts 4:12)
What the Bible says about Jesus is entirely true.
We believe that Jesus Christ was conceived and born of a virgin through the power of God’s Spirit, that He lived a sinless life, that He physically died on a cross, that He rose from the dead, and that He currently sits at the right hand of God. We believe He did all of this because He loves us. (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:22-23; Luke 1:34-35; Luke 22:70; Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 1:18-19; 1 Peter 3:18; Romans 5:6-8; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8; Matthew 28:1-7)
Jesus will be back.
We believe that Jesus Christ will return to this earth to judge the world, to gather those who have put their faith in Him and to punish those who have continued to rebel against Him. While the exact moment of his return will not be known, the fact that He will return should cause us to live with urgency and should be a great hope to everyone who trusts in Him. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3; Mark 13:32; Philippians 2:9-11; Titus 2:13)
Heaven and Hell are real.
We believe that every person will exist eternally in God’s presence or separated from Him and that there will be a final judgment.  The Biblical descriptions of Heaven and Hell are meant to give us a basic understanding of these places; but that each will be more wonderful and more awful than we can comprehend.  Scripture does tell us that with Christ’s return, Heaven and Earth will be completely united.  All the works of evil will be destroyed and the earth will be restored.   The dwelling of God will be with humans and Christ will reign forever in perfect love, justice and peace.  At that time, Jesus’s promise that all who believe in Him will live even though they die will be completely realized.  (Ecclesiastes 3:11; Acts 24:15; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Matthew 25:31-34,41,46; Revelation 21:3-5; Revelation 22:5; 2 Peter 2:13-17; 1 Corinthians 2:9; Revelation 14:9-12) 
Salvation is by grace through faith.
We believe that salvation is a free gift from God given to any person who puts their faith in Jesus Christ, accepting Him as Lord and Savior. This gift of salvation includes an immediate restoration of a person’s relationship with God and, through yielding to the Holy Spirit, a lifetime of continuing transformation of that person’s character into the character of Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 2:8-10; Romans 3:21-22; Romans 10:9; Acts 16:30-31; Philippians 1:6; Romans 8:29)
Faith is more than just believing.
We believe that Biblical faith is more than just mental
agreement with a list of facts about Jesus. It begins with a faith-decision to trust the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to be the final payment for your sin and to follow Him as the new leader of your life. This true faith in Jesus then naturally influences the thoughts and actions of the believer and is therefore evident in how the disciple actually lives. (James 2:14-26; Matthew 7:21; Matthew 7:24-27; John 14:15)
The Bible is the absolute truth.
The Bible is the absolute truth.
The Bible is completely relevant to life.
The Bible is completely relevant to life.
The local church is the hope of the world.
We believe that the local church is the living, breathing body of Christ on this earth, whose purpose is to continue with the mission that Jesus had when He was here. We believe that all believers are meant to be an integral part of the local church where they will collectively use their God-given gifts to share the good news of Jesus Christ with the world around them and to grow together in community and character. (Ephesians 4:4; Hebrews 10:25; Acts 2:41-47; John 14:12; 1 Corinthians 12:27; Matthew 28:18-20; Matthew 16:18)
Baptism is the perfect expression of your faith.
We believe that baptism, preferably by immersion, is the perfect, outward expression of the faith decision to trust Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and that baptism of new believers was the clear practice of the New Testament church as an integral part of the conversion experience. (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:37-38; 1 Peter 3:21; Romans 6:3-4) 

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Join us for donuts & coffee at 9:30AM then worship at 10AM in the Sanctuary.