The Congregational Church came to Deer Park in 1891 along with one of the town's founders, J.N. Short. Mr. Short owned the local sawmill. He soon saw to the building of a sanctuary that was trimmed in Tamarack from Chattaroy that had been processed at his mill. The building was New England style and was imposing by its size on the Main Street of a very small town. Over the years stained and painted glass windows have been installed, usually as a memorial to a friend or member of the church. The sound of the great church bell in the East tower of the building is a traditional sound in the city of Deer Park.
In the beginning the church fronted not on Main Street but on Railroad Avenue. The name 'Open Door' derived from knowledge that the doors of the church would remain unlocked. Men who were down on their luck and rode the rails from job to job knew that they could always escape the bitter weather of Deer Park's winter through the 'open door' of the big white church.
The church building houses the worship of the oldest continuing congregation in Deer Park. It has also served as an infirmary during the great flu epidemic of 1918. For a short time it housed the Deer Park Public Library and for more than fifteen years was the center for the preparation of hot meals on wheels.
In 1957 this local church agreed to participate in a union that incorporated several other denominations along with the traditional Congregational Churches and reflected that agreement by adding 'United Church of Christ' to its name. The Official name of the church was changed to "The Open Door Congregational United Church of Christ".
In 1998 the church obtained an Allen AP-9 organ that produces the equivalent of 40 stops and 40 ranks or sets of pipes sampled from the highest quality organ pipes. In 2003 a generous gift inspired the congregation to give toward the purchase of the Yamaha grand piano that graces the sanctuary. The Open Door is a preferred site for concerts and recitals.
2017 was a monumental year for The Open Door. In January of 2017 the congregation voted to disassociate from the United Church of Christ and return to it's roots as a Congregational Church. The name of the church was officially changed back to "The Open Door Congregational Church".
2017 also saw the hiring of a new pastor, Jim Lyonais to fill our Pastoral needs as the former pastor of 20 years, Rev. Daniel Berg had retired in August of 2016.
As of August of 2022, the church is in a transitional period, as Head Pastor Jim Lyonais retired on July 31st. Interim Pastor David Butler came to us from Interim Pastor Ministries in December of 2022, tasked with helping the church prepare for calling a new permanent head pastor. There is no set timeline for this process, but we are making good progress in taking inventory of the views and opinions of our current attendees, with the goal of ensuring unity in who we are as a church and what specific values we hold dearest. That way, when we advertise for a new head pastor, we can communicate that information clearly, helping prospective candidates to know if they would be a good fit for us and vice versa. No matter what happens, we can be confident that God is at work and we are in his hands!
Across three century marks and the change of a millennium the white church building has stood and still stands with its name 'The Open Door' above the lintel of its entrance.