In 1744, the Rev. Jonathan Lee rode into this “wilderness” on horseback to become our first pastor. In New England tradition, our first Meeting House served as the center of political, social, and religious assembly. Our present Meeting House, built in 1800, remains as a living example of Puritan simplicity.
The Congregational Church of Salisbury is part of the United Church of Christ (UCC), a denomination formed in 1957 with the merger of two church bodies: the Evangelical and Reformed Church, and the Congregational Christian Church.
The timeline below highlights major dates in the congregation’s history. A written history of the church’s first 250 years may be read by clicking here.
Settlers petition General Court for “town privileges and liberty to imbody in church estate”
The Church is formed and the Rev. Jonathan Lee installed as Minister in a log house 30 x 25 feet, which served as the Lee’s home as well as the place of worship.
The First Meeting House was built for worship and town meetings where the Town Hall now stands: 45 long by 35 feet wide. Residents gathered at “sabba day houses” between services for lunch, warmth and socialization
The Rev. Jonathan Lee dies and is buried in graveyard behind Town Hall.
The Rev. Joseph Warren Crossman called as second Minister
The present Meeting House was erected measuring 64×45. All town residents required to contribute money or building material.
Separation of Church and State – Ecclesiastical Society formed.
The Rev. Crossman dies while ministering to the sick during an epidemic of typhoid pleurisy.
The Rev. Adam Reid begins 40 year ministry. “The spell binder” packs the Meeting House Sunday after Sunday
First parsonage built.
Square pews, high Pulpit and original Ionic pillars are “swept away by the modernizing wave.”
Present Bell weighing over 1,000 lbs. struck at Troy and placed in the belfry
Notable layman Dr. Henry M. Knight opens first institution for training of mentally retarded.
Church organ replaces use of stringed instruments.
John Calvin Goddard begins 60 years of service as Pastor and Pastor Emeritus
Organ and choir pews moved to front of Church.
Preparatory School founded by Maria Hotchkiss.
One Hundredth and Fiftieth Anniversary attended by over 400
Current Meeting House and Watering Kettle, Circa 1900
Church remodeled and organ installed in the balcony.
Upkeep Society came into being for fellowship and raising money for the upkeep of the Parsonage.
The Rev. Lawrence Stone begins 21 years of service as 12th Pastor.
Parish Hall, designed by Norton Miner, is built.
Meeting House renovated: cove ceiling and pillars from balcony to ceiling are restored, antique weather vane replaced by the whale. New Schantz organ is installed.
Tom and Francis Wagner, members of this congregation, are instrumental in establishing Noble Horizons.
The Rev. John Hay installed as Pastor.
The Rev. Richard Taber begins 27 years of service as 15th Pastor.
The Rev. Lawrence Stone named Pastor Emeritus
250th Anniversary celebrated, (Video: “To Build the Faith Together” available for loan) Partnership with Iglesia Cristiana Adonay established.
Centennial Garden developed. (pictures above)Anniversary of raising of the Meeting House.
Senior Youth Group trip to New Orleans.
Search for Associate Pastor begins.
The Rev. Richard Taber retires after 27 years with the church.
The Rev. Dr. Stephen M. Austin installed as Interim Pastor
January 9th: Dr. Stephen M. Austin’s last Sunday in our pulpit.
January 16th: the Rev. Diane Monti-Catania’s first Sunday as pastor.
May 15th: the Rev. Diane Monti-Catania installed as the Congregational Church of Salisbury’s 16th settled pastor.
Renovation of the Parish Hall
January 13th: Dr. Diane Monti-Catania preaches her farewell sermon.
April 7th: the Rev. Dr. John A. Nelson’s first Sunday as Designated-Term Pastor.
March: the church suspends in-person worship due to the rapidly-spreading COVID-19 disease, and begins worshiping via online technology.
September: in-person worship services resume, without congregational singing; online worship continues.
August 1st: full in-person worship services resume.
September 12th: the congregation calls Dr. Nelson as the Church’s 17th settled pastor.