A Brief History of MCC   

At MONROE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH

And NEAR & FAR

1750 – 1770

1750 Winter Meeting House for the Ripton Parish of Stratford is established near Moose Hill Rd.

 

May 1762 General Assembly of the Government and Company Colony of Connecticut at Hartford approve a distinct “Ecclesiastical Society” in “New Stratford,” now Monroe.

- June “In his Majesty’s name, inhabitants were commanded to meet” and vote to hold public worship in the “old house erected for winter preaching.”

- November “Voted Unanimously that it is Needful to Build a Meeting house for Publick worship in Sd Society.”

February 1763 The Society votes to approach Mr. Jos. M. White for minister.

1764 Society votes “Mr. Elijah Rexford Should he be ye person Called on probation to ye work of ye Ministery.”

- Votes “the Society will Call ye Asosiation be Called to form a Chrch in Sd Society on ye 18th Day of Instant Dec.”

- December Acceptance letter from Elisha Rexford received.

January 9, 1765 Elisha Rexford is ordained.

- March 29 Lt John Moss deeds property along Wheeler Rd for 100 years to the Society for a burial ground.

- March 30 First sermon is delivered by Rexford.

June 1769 First Meeting House is “raised” June 1769.

1750 Johann Sebastian Bach dictates his final composition, Vor deinen Thron tret ich hiermit (Before thy throne I now appear) to his son-in-law.

January 1762 Mozart’s first concert tour (age of six).

- March 17 First St. Patrick’s Day Parade is held; (in NYC—not Dublin).

- November France hands over Louisiana to Spain—Treaty of Fontainebleau.

 September 1764 Fletcher Christian (led mutiny on the Bounty) is born.

- October John Adams and Abigail Smith marry.

 1765 British pass the Stamp Act to tax the colonies to pay for the military.

 1769 John Trumbull becomes Governor of Connecticut.

1771 - 1800

1773 Society votes to tax itself to finish the “low part” of the meeting house. 

December 1774 First floor of Meeting House is completed; gallery finished in 1778; completed all in December 1786. 

1775 – 1783 Parishioners are apparently very pre-occupied with the War of Independence during this time period.

 1784 First portion of the Green deeded to the Society by Joseph Moss and Nathaniel DeForrest.

 1792 A steeple was added to the west gable side of the Meeting House; the bell was installed in 1796.

1773 Phillis Wheatley, who attended Old South Church, is first published African American woman (Poems on Various  Subjects, Religious and Moral).

 July 1776 Declaration of Independence – The United States of America is born!!

1777 New Stratford’s 14th and 15th Regiments of the Connecticut Militia fought in Peekskill and Fishkill, NY and in the Battle of Saratoga where British General Burgoyne was defeated.

1780s Struggles to split from Stratford as a separate town begin.

June 1781 Lauzun's Legion (part of Rochambeau’s forces) camp near the Monroe Green on the way to meet General George Washington and defeat the British Army under Cornwallis.

1789 General Assembly approves the establishment of the township of Huntington and preserves the separate parishes of Ripton and New Stratford, separate from Stratford.

1792 O’Kelly forms the Christian Church (later merged into what became UCC) in support of the Congregationalist form of polity.

1801 - 1830

1808 Elisha Rexford’s 43 years as pastor come to an end.

 1810 House at 38 Church St (present parsonage) is built by John Peck.

1808 Beethoven’s 5th and 6th symphonies premier.

1810 Congregationalists in Massachusetts form the first foreign mission society.

1823 Monroe finally becomes a town.

1830 - 1850

1833 Under Rev. Daniel Jones, the congregation ceases the use of alcohol during communion in response to the temperance movement.

1835 Earliest record indicating existence of a church choir.

1847 Present Meeting House building is erected; first Strawberry Festival is held to help finance an additional deeding of the Green.

1833 Britain’s Slavery Abolition Act becomes law.

1837 Massachusetts Congregationalists condemn the Grimké sisters for stepping outside the bounds of acceptable Christian womanhood in their roles fighting for the rights of women and the end of slavery.

1839 Connecticut Congregationalists organize a legal defense, ease the confinement, and fund the return of the Amistad mutineers home to Africa.

1851 - 1875

1851 House at 159 Old Tannery Rd (built 1789) purchased for $800 for a parsonage from Rev. Robert Gardner when he resigned as pastor.

1865 Steeple blows down and is replaced.

1869 Present parsonage is bought for $1,300 from Ephraim Leach. Old Tannery parsonage sold for $800.

1872 The Green is deeded to the Congregational Society and the Episcopal St. Peter’s Parish by William Clark for $175.

1853 Antoinette Brown ordained as first woman pastor in the U.S. at South Butler (NY) Congregational.

1865 American Civil War ends.

 

1869 National Woman Suffrage Association forms.

 


 

1876 - 1900

1885 Monroe Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor is organized (precursor to Pilgrim Fellowship Youth Group).

1886 Beardsley Hall built, funded by Elizabeth Beardsley in memory of her husband, Dr. Edward Beardsley.

1888 Ladies Improvement Society formally established; Elizabeth Beardsley is first president.

1891 New horse sheds are built.

1885 First Black pastor to serve a white parish (First Congregational, Torrington), Lemuel Haynes, is ordained.

1891 Music Hall (Carnegie Hall) opens in NY, Tchaikovsky as guest conductor.

1901 - 1950

1901 Gas lighting replaced oil lamp lights in the Meeting House.

1910 Pledging and offering envelopes introduced replacing “subscriptions.”

1922 Monroe Congregational Church (MCC) is incorporated, dissolving the Ecclesiastical Society. The Meeting House is electrified.

1932 Community Young People’s Society formed.

1938 Parishioners mount an aggressive campaign and defeat a bill that would have allowed the Town to legalize alcohol.

1941 Historical records of the church sent to the State Public Library for preservation.

1949 First church newspaper is published – Parish Piper.

1903 Guglielmo Marconi successfully sends the first radio transmission originating in the U.S. ( South Wellfleet, MA)—greetings from President Theodore Roosevelt to King Edward VII in England.

1922 President Harding introduces the first radio in the White House.

1938 Church of England accepts the theory of evolution.

1949 United Nations' permanent NYC headquarters is dedicated.

1951 - 1975

1955 Ladies Guild founded to supplement the Ladies Improvement Society.

1957 Addition to Beardsley Hall is completed to accommodate increasing parish activities.

1961 MCC votes to become part of the UCC. The Steeple replaces the Parish Piper.

1964 Women’s Fellowship formed.

 

1968 Rexford House is dedicated.

1970 Hand bell choir introduced.

1971 Mustard Seed Thrift Shop is established, named by Rev. Keeling's wife, Connie, from a biblical verse.

1972 Beginning of yearly Strawberry Festivals.

1957 United Church of Christ is formed.

1961 Robert Frost recites “The Gift Outright” at JFK’s inauguration.

June 1963 Medgar Evers is assassinated.

- November President Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas.

April 1968 Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.

- June Senator Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated.

1972 UCC ordains first openly gay minister.


1976 - 2000

1977 Monroe Center Historic District, including, MCC campus is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

1978 Current Covenant launched.

1980s MCC young people, Susan Findlay, Mark Day, David Gaewsky, and Holly Sniffen volunteer for missionary service.

1981 Annual Tree Lighting Tradition on Green with St. Peter’s begins.

1982 First seminary student from MCC, William Terry.

1985-86 Restoration and expansion of Meeting House to current configuration. Tracker organ is installed.

1997 Fire in Dineson Parlor/Library destroys or singes everything except for the wooden PF cross propped up in the fireplace.

2000 Rev. Caroline Meyer is settled as MCC’s first female (Associate) Pastor.

1977 First female Episcopal priest is ordained.

 

 

 

 

1981 52 American hostages, held in Iran for 444 days, return to U.S.

1982 EPCOT Center opens in Orlando Florida.

1986 Desmond Tutu becomes first black Anglican archbishop of Cape Town.

1997 First Harry Potter book published (and the Philosopher’s Stone).

2001…

2001 First Senior PF Annual Summer Mission Trip.

2003 Adult members inaugurate their first Annual Summer Mission Trip.

2011 Became an open and affirming congregation.

 

April 2012 First female senior pastor is settled—Rev. Jennifer Gingras.

 

2005 General Synod overwhelmingly passes a resolution supporting same-gender marriage equality.

2011 U.S. ends "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

2012 Barack Obama receives Democratic nomination for Presidential candidate for the 2nd time.

     2014: Celebrating our 250th anniversary!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

History of Our Church

Member Jean Loveland originally wrote the following history in 1967. It's been up

Print 1836 - On Green

dated to include more recent information.


The long journey to Huntington Parish had become unbearable to the residents of New Stratford (Monroe) and a winter meeting house had been established in a building on Moose Hill Road. This served the needs of Sabbath Day during the cold months until 1762, when a group of residents petitioned the State Legislature for a new parish. As a result the New Stratford Ecclesiastical Society was formed.

 

Members of the Society became the governing body of church and community, having charge of all religious, school and town affairs. The first meeting house was erected on the Monroe Green, and served until 1847 when the present Church was built. The great stone foundation is symbolic of the strength and determination upon which those early settlers founded their faith. The intricate craftsmanship of the interior of the church steeple is a work of great artistic skill.

 

The Beardsley Hall was originally built in 1886 by the Ladies Improvement Society. It was significantly financed by Mrs. Elizabeth Beardsley, the first president of the Society. It was named in honor of her late husband (who left her the money) Dr. Edward McEwen Beardsley, the former village doctor.

 

The first parsonage on Old Tannery Road served only a few years and was sold, after which the present parsonage on the Green was purchased. In 1935 Beardsley Hall was expanded when church members purchased, at auction, one of the early school buildings owned by the town. This structure was converted into a kitchen, which remained in use until Rexford House was built. Several years after purchasing the old school building, a small parcel of land in back of the church was purchased.

 

By 1956 the church facilities were outgrown, except for the meeting house itself. In order to accommodate the needs of an expanding membership, a fund drive was conducted. With the monies raised, new school rooms and other facilities were added to Beardsley Hall along Route 111.

Even though there were multiple expansions in the past, the Church was in need of additional space. Study groups and building committees worked on a new construction plan to meet those needs. Ground was broken on Thanksgiving Sunday, November 19, 1967 for a new building and in 1968 Rexford House opened.

 

The town of Monroe continued to grow over the next decade and a half. It became evident the next building that needed expansion was the meeting house. In 1985, worship services were now held in what is now known as Wilton Hall and ground was broken to enlarge the meeting house. Additional pews were installed, a handicap entrance provided, the balcony opened and the interior of the building was restored to as near as possible to its original appearance. On March 2, 1986 the meeting house was re-opened and the first worship service was held in the newly renovated building.

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