How It All Started

With so many newer people in our church, I feel it is important to not only maintain a focus on crafting a dynamic future for First Congregational Church, but also to make sure that the history of our church gets passed on as well.

To that end, each month I will be sharing passages about the history of FCC; first from the booklet produced in 1948 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of our church’s founding and then from the booklet celebrating our 150th year.

For those who aren’t history buffs, keep reading!  You will discover some really interesting stuff!  For example, did you know that our church was not originally named “First Congregational Church”?  Even the language alone that is used in these early writings is spectacular!  And it is important to have an appreciation of the legacy out of which we come.  The spiritual presence of our forebears remains with us still.

Without further ado, then, let’s begin at the beginning:

“By the year 1848, after the Railroad had been opened from Boston to Lawrence, it was found that quite a number of members of Congregational Churches had become residents of North Malden (now Melrose), and soon religious services began to be held in the home of Dr. Levi Gould, then living on Main Street opposite the present Methodist Episcopal Church.

After two, possibly three, of these Sunday services at Dr. Gould’s, the parlors of Deacon Jonathan Cochran, on Grove Street, being larger, were used for the services.  Here on April 25, 1848, began the first preaching services by Rev. Stillman Pratt, who afterwards became the first settled pastor.

When audiences increased, the Passenger Room of the Boston & Maine Railroad Station on Essex Street was obtained, and here the Sunday School, with James L. Crossett acting as leader, was formed.  This building in later years was used as a freight depot.

Steps were soon taken for the organization of a Church, and a preliminary meeting of brethren was held on May 21, 1848.  The Articles of Faith and Covenant, as held by the Church of Stoneham, were adopted, and a committee was appointed to call a Council of Churches.

The Council met in Lyceum Hall on Berwick Street on July 11th, 1848.  The Council approved the plan and the Melrose Orthodox Congregational Church was then organized with reading of minutes, invocation, consecrating prayer, sermon by Rev. Isaac P. Langworthy, and other customary exercises.”

So there you have your first glimpse into our past.  Now you know that you are part of a church that was founded in 1848 as the Melrose Orthodox Congregational Church!

See you in church,

–Rev. Dominic