Our History

Yes, we started as two different churches, the First Congregational Church of Upton and the Upton United Methodist Church.

First Congregational 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.

Upton United Methodist Church

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. When the two congregations merged, the building was donated to the town of Upton.

The United Parish

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, the United Parish of Upton.

In January 2013 the United Parish of Upton overwhelmingly affirmed the following statement:

We the members of the United Parish of Upton (UCC/UMC) believe that all people are created in God’s image and that Jesus commanded us to “love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). We affirm that each individual is a child of God and that together we are called to become one body with many members and many different gifts. As an Open and Affirming/Reconciling congregation, we embrace and welcome persons of every age, race, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, family structure, physical or mental ability or disability, educational background or socio-economic status into the full life of the church. We invite all to find a spiritual home in the United Parish of Upton and to share in the leadership, ministry, fellowship, worship, sacraments, responsibilities, and blessings of participation in our congregation.

The affirmation of this statement of inclusion, welcome and celebration followed a two year process of inquiry, dialogue and honest soul-searching. Though we did not always see all things in the same way, we arrived at a point of faithful and loving consensus. The United Church of Christ calls ministries like ours "open and affirming." The United Methodist church calls us "a reconciling ministry." By whatever title, we are proud to display the rainbow on our walls and windows, printed pages and homepage.