A brief history of the United Parish of Upton
The United Parish celebrated its thirtieth anniversary on February 24, 2000. The United Parish is the result of the unification of the First Congregational Church and the Upton United Methodist Church.
The First Congregational Church began in the early days of Upton. The town of Upton started because its settlers desired a central place to worship, somewhere closer their homes and farms. At the time, the only other churches close by were in Mendon, Uxbridge, Hopkinton, and Sutton.
The colonial government was petitioned and articles of incorporation for the Town of Upton were passed on June 14, 1735. Residents voted in December of the same year to build a meeting house.
Construction was completed in 1736, and the building was located near the corner of Mendon and Grove Streets. The first pastor was Reverend Thomas Weld.
The Rev. Elisha Fish, was ordained as the minister here in 1751. In 1770, while still under his pastorate, church members voted to build a new church on the common. The Rev. Fish served as pastor for the church through the revolutionary war and until his death in 1795. The church owns several of his published sermons.
The next minister, Rev. Benjamin Wood, was the church's second lifetime minister. During 1848 and while under Rev. Wood's pastorate, a third church building was constructed. This church building is the same one occupy still today. We celebrated the 150th anniversary of our building's dedication back in 1998. List of the ministers of the First Congregational Church, 1738-1970.
The Upton United Methodist Church began with several Upton residents gathering to worship. By 1873 the group had grown large enough to rent space in the Crispin Building, which no longer stands. The church was officially organized on March 1, 1874 with the Reverend N.B. Fiske appointed as the first minister. Just one month later, the church membership voted to build its own building. At the end of its first year, the Upton United Methodist Church had 66 members. It's church building, which now serves as the Upton Town Library and Historical Society rooms, was dedicated on March 8, 1876. List of the ministers of the Upton United Methodist Church.
The process of considering the union of two churches began in 1967, with committees from both churches studying the potential. On January 15, 1970 the voting was unanimous in favor of forming a United Parish. The Reverend Jackman, of the First Congregational Church and Rev. William Mullins, Jr. of the Methodist church served together as ministers of the new church. This continued until June 1971, when the Rev. Mullins left to resume his doctorate studies at Boston University.
Rev. Donald Troast became Minister of the United Parish in 1981. A pastor from the Methodist denomination, Rev. Troast was a recent graduate from Seminary. During his pastorate, the United Parish Christian Nursery School was started.
Rev. James Hensley, a native of Kentucky and also from the Methodist denomination, began his pastorate at the United Parish in 1985. During his ministry, the church building was expanded significantly. In 1997 the Rev. Hensley moved to another church, and Rev. Leighton Foss served as an interim pastor.
In fall of 1999, the Rev. Jan Gregory-Charpentier became United Parish' s current pastor. Rev. Jan is from the First Congregational Church denomination.
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