Virtual Community: Religion  
Hamilton Churches

Bene Israel Congregation
Beth Israel Congregation
First Baptist
First Methodist 
Grace/German Methodist
First Presbyterian
First United Brethren
High Street Church of Christ
Ninth Street United Brethren
Payne AME
St. John Evangelical
St. Joseph Catholic
St. Mary Catholic
St. Peter Catholic
St. Stephen Catholic
St. Veronica Catholic
Trinity Episcopal
United Presbyterian
Westminster Presbyterian
Zion Evangelical Lutheran

Middletown Churches

First Baptist
Holy Trinity Catholic
Methodist Episcopal
St. John Catholic
St. Paul
United Brethren

Oxford Churches

Bethel AME
Elm St. Christian
First Baptist
Holy Trinity Episcopal
United Presbyterian

Rural Churches

Bethany Methodist Episcopal
Congregational, Shandon
German United Brethren, Shandon
Holy Name Catholic, Trenton
Indian Creek Baptist
Macedonia Christian, Okeana
Methodist, Tylersville
Methodist Episcopal, College Corner 
Methodist Episcopal, Okeana
Reily Presbyterian
St. Aloysius Catholic, Shandon
St. John Evangelical, Trenton
St. Peter Lutheran, Trenton
Seven Mile Presbyterian
Somerville Methodist Episcopal
Somerville Presbyterian
Trenton Mennonite

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© 2000, Butler County Historical Society

The Religious Heritage 
of Butler County, Ohio

Butler County has a rich religious heritage which is expressed by the various denominations which established themselves in the area.  Some of these congregations were formed in the very early years of the nineteenth century.  Among the first groups to form a congregation in the county was the Presbyterians whose first "places of worship" was Fort Hamilton.  The Methodists and Baptists were also among the pioneers of the area.
As cities and communities were established, the early settlers often banded together to purchase land and erect a church building.  Other times the communities relied on church members to donate the land, the building supplies, and their volunteer labor to erect the church.  Even when the fledgling congregations were successful in securing a place to hold services, they did not always have the luxury of having a resident pastor.  Due to the short supply of ministers in the newly settled lands, each usually was responsible for a number of mission churches.  These clergymen often came from Cincinnati, Dayton, and other nearby localities to minister to the people of Butler County. 
As these early congregations prospered, new churches were established.  With the arrival of many immigrants in the mid to late 1800's, a number of ethnic congregations emerged, particularly in the urban centers of Hamilton and Middletown.  Because the German-speaking immigrants wished to worship in their native language, the services and instruction were held exclusively in German.  Not until World War I did many of these churches adopt the English language.
Religion was a prominent influence in the lives of many area families.  Religious participation extended beyond attendance at weekly services.  Many joined Bible studies, various men's and women's societies, youth groups, and the choir.  Most churches taught the young through Bible classes or some type of weekly instruction.  Other churches, especially the Roman Catholic and Lutheran supported their own schools.
The role of religion, in many cases, was also to provide each member with a moral compass, to teach what was right and what was wrong.  For instance, in 1872, the pastor of Hamilton's Methodist Episcopal Church informed his flock:  "We affectionately admonish the members of our church to abstain from all participation in dancing as a social amusement . . . and to use their social influence to discourage its practice."
Created, in part, through a grant from the Ohio Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities