Fifty years ago this spring, the cornerstone was laid in place to build our current church building.
You can see that cornerstone each time you enter our church. It is that large stone on the left with the big “1969” carved into it. And here’s a fun fact: that cornerstone contains a time capsule!
Don’t get too excited, though. The Board of Deacons decided that it should be opened on the 100th anniversary of the building so you will have to wait another fifty years to see what’s in it. I, for one, can’t wait to be wheeled out there on my 103rd birthday to sift through the contents!
In case you are shaky on our church history, the previous First Congregational Church building burned to the ground in a tragic fire on the eve of Thanksgiving in 1967. That church building was a massive gothic structure with a towering spire that could be seen for miles.
It is also interesting to note that the previous facility was built following a devastating fire in 1869 that consumed the second church building on this plot of land. It had replaced the first, small wooden sanctuary that was dedicated 1848.
So if you’ve ever wondered why we have so much cinderblock in our church, that’s why! With a fire every hundred years, we are determined that such a pattern be ended.
Next fall, I will begin adding a column in this newsletter devoted to our church history based on our archives. As we plan for the future, it is always important to know where we come from. In the meantime, the fact that there have been four church buildings in the history of First Congregational Church in Melrose is a good reminder that a church is more than just a building. It is first and foremost the people who gather together in Christ’s name and their commitment to their faith and the ministry of Jesus Christ.
So the next time you come in our front doors, glance over at that cornerstone and give thanks for the commitment of those who have come before us in this place. May their legacy, which we enjoy every day, inspire us to build a future that coming generations will also cherish.
See you in church,