Our Story: God's Faithfulness
McLane Church was founded on December 7, 1838, when a group of area residents got together to "take into consideration the propriety of organizing a church". "Finding a good degree of union existing," the church was organized. (Quotes from Church Records, Vol. I p.1.) Originally affiliated with the Northern Baptist Convention (forerunner of the American Baptist Convention), the mid-1950s saw the church become an independent nondenominational church. Throughout our history, the church has traditionally existed as a classic small church. The decades of the 1970s and 1980s witnessed a steady period of decline.
In 1991, the remaining core of the congregation committed themselves to making the church's ministry relevant and effective. The result of this commitment was almost immediate growth. Since 1991, God has blessed the church with an increase in average weekend attendance from 50 to about 1300. 2001 saw many changes as the members of McLane Church dedicated themselves to a new mission, a mission to reach out to our region's unchurched in a campaign titled Transforming A Region. The steady growth brought on critical shortages in space, which in the summer of 2002 began to seriously hamper our ability to do ministry. God's blessings were once again evident in our church as He provided us with the means to purchase a former 35,000 foot Ames Department store that we have converted for use as a church. We relocated to that new worship location in September of 2003.
In the fall of 2006, a group of McLane folks began an outreach to college students in downtown Erie at an unusual place, the Cell Block bar. Before long, those college students were joined by adults from all different walks of life. Urban professionals and homeless people came to worship together at what was known as "Church-in-a-bar." In the fall of 2011, we moved into the former Forward Hall nightclub. After a year and a half, we were in need of additional children's ministry space, so in the spring of 2013 we moved to a rented facility on West Gore Road, finally to our current 13,000 foot facility in the Lake Erie Plaza, at 2319 West 38th Street.
McLane Church put its full commitment as a multisite church when the desire to reach out to the community of Union City in 2007 led to the launch of McLane Church-Union City. For four years we met weekly at the Union City High School, but in the summer of 2012 renovated a former chair factory outlet store, and now our Union City location at 16 Market Street has a permanent home in the heart of that community.
Throughout our history, at all our sites, McLane Church has existed to provide a place of worship and witness in our community. We are an independent church, committed to the authority of the word of God in all matters of faith and practice. We are committed to the maxim, "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, charity."