Continuing our look back at the history of our church, this month I am sharing a glimpse of the clergy who have served our church. This is taken from the 100 year anniversary book of FCC published in 1948. Again, please note the wonderful use of language in these bygone descriptions!
Rev. Stillman Pratt, 1849 to 1851. “It is recorded that this, our first pastor and preacher carried on his work for seven Sabbaths in the house of Deacon Cochran where our first church meetings were held and thereafter in the Melrose Passenger Station of the Boston and Maine Railroad. He is mentioned as an earnest worker for Christ and His cause,–a good man and true, to whom under God this church owes much.”
Rev. Israel Northrop, 1852 to 1853. “During his brief ministry the church welcomed the first member ever to be received on profession of faith.”
Rev. Alexander Sessions, 1854 to 1858. “During his four and one half years of ministry, the church grew considerably. The building itself was enlarged at a cost of $10,000. He is spoken of as a gentleman of genuine Christian character and culture with a kindly heart.”
Rev. Edward Buck, 1859 to 1861. “He is recorded as being universally esteemed for his earnest, devoted Christian character during his short ministry among us, a man of more than usual intellectual ability and of unusual tenderness.”
Rev. Henry Stevens, 1861 to 1868. “It is interesting to note that our Orthodox Congregational Church held the honor of being the church where he was ordained. Since he served during the Civil War Period, it is recorded that his pastorly care and ministrations to the bereaved were a source of great comfort. He was always first the good shepherd, disseminating sweetness of word and deed wherever he went.”
Rev. Albert Bale, 1868 to 1896. “A charming personality, Mr. Bale was beloved by everyone with whom he came into contact, and was a fine preacher as well as a pastor who learned to know closely the members of nearly every family in the parish. His first wife gave him four sons but herself passed away while the boys were still young. Later he married one of God’s saints, Martha Ring, who was an outstanding Christina worker in this church. He had a tender and beautiful faculty for friendship.”
Rev. Thomas Sims, 1897 to 1918. “Under his leadership, great financial burdens were lifted. His dignity and poise set him apart. The precision of his speech was the gateway to a mind that was keen and alert, amply stored with the learning of books and the wisdom of life. He was a finished preacher, a clear thinker, and above the average in ability.” The Messenger began publication under his pastorate.
Rev. Richard Bennett, 1919 to 1932. “Spiritually, Mr. Bennet gave to this church a leadership that was notable for its faithfulness, range, and vigor. His spirit was wise, constructive, and progressive.”
Rev. Olin Tracy, 1932 to 1948. “He has possessed the greatest vision of our needs while at the same time being enriched with the ability to follow things through to their final accomplishment. During his pastorate, there have been received into membership over 1,000 members, bringing the total present membership to approximately 1,500. Those who perhaps have been best able to measure his true worth as a shepherd of his flock are the many who have come to him for assistance in trouble, sorrow or distress. He has never been deaf to a call for help nor slow in responding to a cry of need.”
In addition to these pastors during the first 100 years of our church, those who have also served as clergy include:
- Rev. Clarence “Chuck” Fuller, 1949 to 1979 (to date the longest serving pastor of FCC).
- Rev. Donald Wells, 1979 to 1988.
- Rev. Erskine White, 1989 to 1992.
- Rev. Thomas Evans, 1992 to 2000.
As the current pastor of our church, having begun in 2002, I feel a deep appreciation for the rich history of our church and the diverse legacy of the preceding clergy who have served our wonderful church so well.
See you in church,