The history of the Congregational Church of New Fairfield is rich and parallels the history of the Town of New Fairfield. Below, you will find a brief history of our church. A more detailed account is available from the left side navigator. It is our hope to expand this section as time permits and historical events occur.
New Fairfield is Settled
New Fairfield was one of the several towns originally purchased from the Indians. Old records indicate that the purchase price was 65 pounds and a few trinkets for all the land now comprising New Fairfield and Sherman, CT. A deed given in 1729 bears the names and fingerprints of several Indians. The town was named New Fairfield due to the fact that twelve proprietors of the township were originally from Fairfield, CT. The proprietors divided up the land into twelve parts and set aside a 200 acre parcel to be given to the first settled minister in the town.
A Church is Established
The town of New Fairfield was incorporated in 1740 and at the time there was a meeting of the proprietors for the purpose of establishing a church. As church and state were closely related in colonial New England, an application had to be made to the general court for the appointment of a committee to choose the site for the meeting house and make the necessary arrangements for the establishment of a church. Apparently, the application missed the 1740 session of the general court for no action was taken until 1742. Because of the size of the town, it was decided to have two parishes - a North Congregational Church, which was to become the Sherman Church in 1802 when Sherman separated from New Fairfield and a South Congregational Church, which is now our Congregational Church of New Fairfield. The church officially came into being on November 9, 1742.
The Congregational Church of New Fairfield is more than three decades older than our nation. When the church was gathered in 1742, our land was but a colonial territory with limited self-government. The passage of the years has brought about many changes in our world, nation, and community. Paralleling the expansion and development of the town of New Fairfield, the church increased from a modest gathering of perhaps two dozen people to a growing church of over 375 members.
The Present Church Building
The present church building (the fifth) was dedicated in 1957. In 1965, an addition of 6,382 square feet was added to provide space for Sunday School classrooms, Pilgrim Hall, a stage, kitchen, parlor, and Thrift Shop. Between 1967 and 1977, the Congregational Service Club sponsored a variety show called 90 Minutes from Broadway which was used to help complete payment on the addition. In the early 1970s, the congregation had a parsonage built next to the church so that the minister and his or her family would not have to look for housing. In 1982, the church purchased a new organ to serve as a symbol of renewal and vitality in the life of the church (Note: Another organ purchase was made in 2003. It was installed in December 2003 in time for Christmas.)
Recent Changes and Capital Improvements
As our congregation has grown, it has necessitated many changes. In recent years, the church has re-paved its driveways and parking areas, added a sound system to the sanctuary, installed a system for the hearing impaired, installed cushions made for the pews, purchased a digital keyboard for the sanctuary, installed a handicap access ramp, and added handicap bathrooms on the main floor.
Many additional improvements were made as part of a capital fund campaign which began in October of 2000 and will conclude in October of 2003. These include refinishing the sanctuary floor, painting the entire interior of the church, replacing our aging furnace, and replacing the floor in Pilgrim Hall, to name a few.
The church celebrated its 250th anniversary on November 8, 1992 and voted to join the United Church of Christ in June of 1998.
Summer Plays and Youth Outreach
In 1996, the church, with the help of Carl Anderson our Minister of Music, decided to put on a musical production of Godspell to help raise money to hire a youth minister. The production was very successful and began a tradition of having a yearly play involving many members of the congregation in all age groups (especially the youth) and many people from New Fairfield and the surrounding communities who have donated their time. Following Godspell in 1996 were Oklahoma (1997), South Pacific (1998), The Wizard of Oz (1999), You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown (2000), Annie (2001), The King and I (2002), Barnum (2003), The Music Man (2004), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat (2005), Fidler on the Roof (2006), Camelot (2007), Guys and Dolls (2008) and a reprise of Godspell (2009).
Last updated: September 5, 2009 8:23 PM
Copyright © 2009 Congregational Church of New Fairfield. All rights reserved.