First Parish Northboro Unitarian Universalist was organized as “The Church of Christ” on May 21, 1746, 20 years before the incorporation of the town, by 10 residents of the North Precinct of Westborough. On the same day, the Reverend John Martyn was ordained as the first minister and services were begun in the first meeting house constructed during the previous year.
Like all early New England Puritan churches, it was, and still is congregational in government and polity. For 86 years, it was the town church and the minister was engaged and paid by the local government. The second and third ministers of the church, the Reverend Peter Whitney and Dr. Joseph Allen, served the church and community for a continuous period of 106 years, an era embracing the American Revolution and the Civil War.
In 1808, during Reverend Whitney’s time, a second more elaborate meeting house was erected. The original plans are no longer in existence, but the tower and facade are said to have been designed by Bulfinch (America’s first native-born architect), and the classic structure reflected his influence. From the stately steps to the graceful belfry, it was an American church architecture at its best. Its historic bell was cast by the Paul Revere and Sons foundry in 1809. This bell now sits on the church grounds.
During Dr. Allen’s pastorate, the religious controversies of the early 19th century came to a head. In 1827, one group of parishioners left the church to form the local Baptist Church. Then in 1832 during the Unitarian controversy (which split New England Congregationalism into two denominations), the smaller conservative faction withdrew and organized the Evangelical Congregational Church. The liberal group was in the majority, and thus retained the congregation and property.
In 1945, on the twenty-second of December, the church building was destroyed by fire. Only the bell remained. Parishoners banded together to restore the church as it was originally built in 1808, but on a reduced scale, and to construct a parish house and connecting arcade. In 1947, a surplus army chapel was purchased from the government and moved from Bradlee Field in Connecitcut to the Church property in Northborough, where it was rebuilt in accordance with the architect’s plans for the parish house. This building was dedicated on June 27, 1948 and, on the same day, the cornerstone of the third meeting house was laid on the site of the second one.
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Rev. Lynda Sutherland
Rev. Dr. Anita Farber-Robertson
Judith E. Wright, Ph.D.
Lisa Kemper, 2005-2006
Erica Baron, 2006-2008
Misty-Dawn Shelly, 2009-2011
Andrew Moeller, 2011-2012
Richelle C. Russell
Stephen Davies Howard
Mack W. Mitchell
Marjorie Hollovary, 1980-1981
Richard F. Beal, 1981-1982
Wendy Colby, 1982-1985
Robin F. Gray, 1985-1987
Rose Edington, 1988-1990
Glenn L. McKee
Herbert F. Vetter
Kenneth G. LeFleur
Arthur B. Jellis
Andrew G. Rosenberger
Ralph Edward Kyper
S. Robert Mayer-Oakes, Ph.D.
Charles J. Staples
Josiah Coleman Kent
James Aubrey Chase
Henry F. Bond
Charles T. Irish
Joseph Allen, D.D.
T. Forbush, 1857-1863
John H. Allen, D.D., ~2 years
H.L. Myrick, D.D., 1866-1868
F.L. Hosmer, D.D., 1869-1872