Marcus Hamilton - Church Historian

The First Congregational Church of Meriden had its beginnings in the early 1720ís when the "north farmers" received permission from the Wallingford Society to hold services in homes in the winter months, because it was so difficult to travel to Wallingford. In 1725 the legislature was petitioned for permission to form an Ecclesiastical Society and it was so granted. In 1727 the Ecclesiastical Society built the first meetinghouse located on the corner of Ann St. and Dryden Drive.

They also established a burying ground about the same time. They hired a minister, the Reverend Theophilus Hall, to conduct services. On October 8, 1729, they came to an agreement with the Reverend Hall to "settle" in Meriden. The role of the Ecclesiastical Society was to manage the property, raise money, and hire and pay the minister, an arrangement that prevailed until 1893.

On October 22, 1729, 51 adults were "gathered" for the purpose of organizing the church. "The church was the company of Christís followers banded together to promote their own spiritual welfare, to leaven the community with the gospel teachings of their devine Master."

The Rev. Theophilus Hall was ordained on October 29, 1729 and served as pastor for 38 years. Twenty five senior pastors have served the church over the years. The First Congregational Church has worshipped in five meetinghouses since 1729 and its present church building, a beautiful granite structure was dedicated on April 2, 1879.

Over the years, our downtown church has grown and changed with the city and has always reached out to the community and the world. Today, members of the church are involved in staffing a local soup kitchen, working in a clothing ministry and food pantry run by the church, and in a "Covenant to Care" relationship with the Women & Children's Center and the DCF (Dept. of Children and Families).

Other ministries of the church include weekly Boy Scout meetings, our Church Nursery School and our summer facility Camp Claire. Numerous community groups also meet weekly in our facility. Additionally, the Taiwanese Christian Church, Casa de Gozo Church and the Overcomers Tabernacle Church hold worship services here every week. 

Interior of First Congregational Church
Circa 1895

Interior of First Congregational Church
Circa 1985