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The Middlebury Congregational Church traces its origin to the year 1790, when the Connecticut General Assembly granted a charter for an ecclesiastical society to be established in the outlying districts of Waterbury, Woodbury and Southbury. The people in the neighborhood, referred to as "West Farms" on maps from the time, had sought relief from their obligation to support the First Congregational Church of Waterbury, especially during the winter months when severe weather made travel for weekly worship services a hardship. Their request finally granted, the society was organized in January of 1791, and the first meetinghouse completed in 1794. Interestingly, two women were among the twelve persons that constituted the church at its formal organization on February 10, 1796, which was unusual at the time. What was not unusual was that the church was organized before the town was chartered in 1807. Properly speaking, there was a Congregational Church in Middlebury before there was a Town.
The congregation's first meetinghouse was situated on what is now called The Green. The steps and foundation stones were drawn from a mine in Roxbury and the bell was cast in Troy, New York. Both the bell and the steps were reused in the construction of the second meetinghouse, which housed the congregation from 1839 until April 8, 1935, when the church and the nearby town hall were destroyed by fire. At the height of the blaze, as a stunned community looked on, the great bell, by then over a hundred years old, crashed through the burning rafters and shattered into pieces on the stone steps. The next day as the embers continued to cool, church members sifted through the ashes gathering up the scattered pieces of the old bell, which were later recast and now sound from the bell tower of the current meetinghouse, completed in 1936 in the same design as the previous building. In 1952 the building was expanded to provide educational and office space. The next major renovation in over 50 years was a new addition to the church building, which provided 6 new offices, 3 new handicapped accessible rest rooms, a formal parlor, a youth room, a conference room with a communion preparation/flower arranging area and, an elevator which permits handicapped accessibility to all areas of the church.
The church is a congregation of the United Church of Christ with an average weekly worship attendance of just over 100 adults and children. A professional staff of a full-time clergy, two part-time musicians, a christian education coordinator, a youth coordinator and a church administrator serve the congregation. Mission, music and religious education are emphasized in the planned programming while pastoral care and service to the wider community are on-going commitments of the church. The congregation is characterized by a strong sense of fellowship and an ecumenical spirit. While the UCC, like other mainline Protestant denominations, has experienced an overall decline in membership since the 1960s, the Middlebury Congregational Church has been blessed with stability and even periods of modest growth. While the demographics of the town play a role in this, the Middlebury Congregational Church has a long-standing reputation as a spirited and lively congregation that attracts and welcomes people of all ages.
The mission of the Middlebury Congregational Church is to witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ. To that end, the congregation is organized to accomplish the following:
Worship that glorifies God and celebrates the gifts of all God�s people.
We believe ours to be an inclusive and mutual mission that cannot be faithfully discharged except by our reliance on the Holy Spirit to reveal the will of God to us through the grace of Jesus Christ.
We covenant with God and with one another in mutual love and trust:
to worship God together,
We rely on the Holy Spirit to lead and empower us.
Adopted by the Congregation
Adopted by the Congregation
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