Congregational Church Scholarship Fund
Established January 9, 2001
By the North Congregational Church
A very brief history of the North Congregational Church, prepared for recipients of the Woodbury Scholarship Fund by Henry W. Hart, a trustee of the WSF and former treasurer of the North Church.
Please see “One Hundred Fifty Years in an old New England Parish”, 1816-1966, prepared December 1966 by Charlotte H. Isham, PhD, Principal, Mitchell School and life-long church member; Arthur N. Johnson, Deacon and Chairman Woodbury Democratic Party; Fredrick T. Strong, Deacon and Town Historian.
For brevity and accuracy, excerpts from the 1966 history have been selected.
“In the beginning…” Genesis 1:1
“What better day to organize a church society than on December 25? Imagine, if you can, a cold crisp day in 1816, when thirty-one hardy souls braved the elements to be present at the formal organization of the Strict Congregational Church.”
“At the time the church was organized, the laws forbade the existence of two churches of the same denomination in one town. At first it was proposed to organize a Baptist Church, and the only reason for not doing so was that there were no Baptists to organize.”
“An appeal was made to Judge Phelps, a Lawyer in Woodbury, who suggested the name, ‘Strict Congregational Society.’” From the petition to the General Assembly we learn the following history: “That in the year of our lord 1690, the first meeting house was erected in said town. That the towns of Southbury, Roxbury and part of Middlebury belong to said town of Woodbury, and to said Ecclesiastical Society.”
The following are excerpts from the church web site:
“Our church has its foundation in the Congregationalist Way. We are the direct ‘spiritual decedents’ of the Pilgrims, who came to these shores seeking religious freedom. That freedom in Christ is the essence of our church today. We respect the inherent dignity of each individual, and affirm that each person is on his or her own journey in God. Therefore, we do not dictate what individuals must believe, nor do we force a set practice of faith on anyone.’
“We stress the importance of each person’s direct relationship to the living God, rather than dogma or ritual. So our church is a ‘gathered’ community of individuals, who seek a spiritual home while on earth with kindred souls. We laugh, cry, and work together to share God’s truth and love with one another, and to share God’s blessings and justice with all the world. We gather around God’s Word to discern God’s presence in our lives and in the great issues of our times. In all of our worship, church school and sermons, we strive to be people with a compassionate heart and open mind, and an eternal vision. Indeed, we believe that this will give us abundant life in this world and life everlasting in the world to come.”
is made possible by the church in order to assure
financial support for college students. The church
particularly would like to make awards to their church
members who have been outstanding students and exhibit
a combination of motivation and need.