First Congregational Church of
The First Congregational Church of Crown Point was organized on
September 10, 1804. A Vermont missionary named Benjamin Wooster
gathered 16 people together originally. These first people were
named Joshua Moss, Samuel Moss, Israel Branch, Dennis Meagher, Martha
Wiswell, Robert Hopkins, Phoebe Hopkins, Ichabod Brooks, Sarah Brooks,
Aaron Townsend, Phoebe Townsend, Moriah Wilcox, Mary Wilcox, Eleanor
Morrow, Martha Moss, Abigail Moss and Eli Moffit.
The theology of this first group evolved from the beliefs of the
Pilgrims. Early members were very concerned with propriety. The
members policed each other in light of legal, as well as religious,
doctrine. Charges could be brought against another member for such
crimes as intemperance, profanity, neglect of the church, excessive
frivolity and for lawlessness in minor forms. An accused member
would called before the Congregational Society to explain themselves.
The church then voted on the standing of the member and did, occasionally,
remove a person from membership.
This core group met in various places around the town such as
homes, schoolhouses and mills. No regular minister was engaged in
the early years but there are records of ordained clergy for the
congregation. In 1809, a Reverend Jones, ordained at Bridport, seems
to have periodically served, he is listed in the writings of A.F.
Gunnison as the first record of a minister. The congregation continued
to grow at a slow but steady rate. In 1822, the first full time
minister was employed. His name was Reverend Samuel Bradford who
was ordained June 26, 1822 but he seems to have started in 1821.
In April of 1829 work began on the church building. Colonel Job
L. Howe gave the land for the building, the cemetery and a large
part of what is now the park. The brick church was completed in
1833 and dedicated on February 13, 1834. Interestingly, the church
records during these years do not speak of the construction of the
church. The building itself was considered a showpiece though and
the members were very dedicated to it. For many years church pews
were sold. A banker of the 19th century, Walter Wyman, reports making
loans using the pews as collateral.
In July of 1883, the use of the Hammond Chapel was given to the
First Congregational Society by General John Hammond and two of
his sisters. It had been the residence of Charles F. Hammond after
he built it in 1837. The upper portion of that house was fitted
as a library. In 1885, the value of the church, the parsonage (both
on Park Avenue) and the Hammond Chapel (on Creek Road) was $12,000.
In 1934 the church was rededicated and redecorated for the centennial
celebration. The original chandeliers were re-wired and re-hung
and the interior and exterior were painted. The platform and pulpit
were duplicated and replaced with a careful eye to the original.
All was done with donations totaling $1,100
The First Congregational Church of Crown Point continues to hold
services at the brick church in the park. Each Sunday at 9:30 AM
the bell peals out an invitation for residents and visitors alike
to join them in worship. Many events are planned to celebrate the
200 years of their existence. While enjoying a long past, the church
celebrates the future with their web site www.brickchurchonline.com.
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