History of the Congregational Church in Berlin Vermont

From Notes by James Hobart, Jr.

The 1st Congregational church in Berlin, Vermont, was organized Oct. 13, 1798, consisting of Aaron Goff, Simpson Stewart and William Flagg, men about 50 years of age. Probably this was the 2d organization of any denomination in the County; the Congregational church in Waitsfield was organized 2 years before. At this time there were in town 85 families, and for 8 years previous, several missionaries had preached on the Sabbath and lectured, and some money had been raised by subscription and paid for preaching. Before the organization of the church a few professors of religion met at the house of Mr. Flagg, Oct. 11, and agreed to ask Rev. E. Lyman, of Brookfield, to embody the three named as members. Oct. 13, having met at Mr. Stewart‘s, Mr. Lyman preached on the occasion, and Mr. Goff, Mr. Stewart and Mr. Flagg presented themselves, to whom Mr. Lyman read for their public assent the confession of faith and church covenant drawn up by Mr. Hobart, which they publicly acknowledged, and were pronounced by Mr. Lyman a church of Christ regularly embodied in the Congregational order, and the church then proceeded to appoint Mr. Lyman their moderator for this meeting, and voted to unite with the people of this town in giving Mr. James Hobart a call to settle over them in the work of the gospel ministry, and that his ordination be on the 7th of Nov. next; and voted several particulars for the ordination; and the 3 members of the church to be a committee to wait on the council. In the course of 12 years 44 members were added to the church. About the year 1800, the town selected a pleasant and sightly spot near the center of the town for a meeting-house, and in 1803 had the building, which was 58 by 48 feet, completed. Elegant and noble in appearance, it stood open for worship, with galleries on three sides, and having a finely made steeple above its belfry, and roof painted. The edifice was dedicated Dec. 29, 1803; the sermon by Mr. Hobart : Ps. lxxxiv, 1.

In 1810 and ’11 there was a very interesting revival of religion, 37 being added to the church, and in 1811 the church purchased a communion set, (they having before this at a communion service used a pitcher and mugs.) The meeting-house was the property of the town, and was used for town-meetings, theatrical performances, and a militia drill, when convenient, which must seem contrary to the sacredness of a house of divine worship. In 1817, 19 were added to the church, and in 1819, 44, in 1827, 13, in 1832, 30, in 1835, 49. In 1868, the membership was 25 males, 54 females; 24 of the 79 being absent members. In 1838, the meeting-house was burned, before which a new Congregational meeting-house at Berlin “Corner” had been commenced, which was completed and dedicated the next year. In 1829, Rev. Mr. Lamb, from Westfield, Vermont, preached here a few months. In 1830, Rev. Mr. Whiting, from Massachusetts, preached one year. In 1832, Rev. B. Baxter supplied one year. In 1833, Rev. A. Stuart, of Pittsfield, preached one year. 1834, Rev. S. Hurlburt was employed about one year. In 1836, Rev. Jonathan Kinney, of Plainfield, supplied one year. In 1837, Rev. Austin Hazen was installed, and continued pastor until his death, in 1855. From 1855 to 1861, Rufus Child was acting pastor. Aug. 1863, Rev. W. R. Joyslin commenced preaching here, and Feb. 2, 1864, was ordained pastor; dismissed in 1866. In 1867, Rev. E. I. Carpenter, formerly of Barre, began, and supplied until Jan. 1870. In July, 1870, Rev. E. Seabury, from Falmouth, commenced as a supply.


Article is based largely on the The Vermont historical gazetteer : a magazine embracing a history of each town, civil, ecclesiastical, biographical and military.
Additions, corrections, changes, and design have been made to the original source to produce this article. Those additions and changes are © 2020 by Vermont Genealogy.

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