Our History

 

Since the Church’s dedication in 1843, 12 Senior Pastors have blessed the Congregation with their spiritual leadership.

 

They are: 

Rev. S. J. M. Merwin (1844-59)

Rev. C.E. Lindsley (1859-69)

Rev. G.E. Hill (1870-76)

Rev. W.H. Holman (1877-1915)

Rev. R.H. Wilson (1917-20) 

Rev. J.L. Shively (1921-35)

Rev. J.H. Twichell (1935-43)

Rev. G.E. Russell (1943-52)

Rev. E.B. Chaney (1953-63)

Rev. E.W.W. Lewis (1963-69)

Rev. L.S. Ensign (1969-1994)

and Rev. P.D. Whitmore (1994 - present)

 

In addition, 4 Associate Ministers have served the Congregation:

Rev. Laura Whitmore (2003-present) The first Ordained Woman to serve.

Rev. Jonathan Wortman (2001-2002)

Rev. Sharon Alberson (2003-2005)

Rev. Sharon Blackburn (2006-2014)

 

Church Timeline

1834 - First Congregational Society formed

1835 - Present site purchased

1842 - Wooden meeting house erected

1843 - Southport Congregational Church officially organized and dedicated

1844 - Rev. Samuel John Mills Merwin installed as 1st Senior Minister

1850 - Clock installed; Organ installed

1857 - Church membership: 104 members

1859 - Rev. Samuel John Mills Merwin resigns

1860 - Rev. Charles E. Lindsley installed as 2nd Senior Minister and land for the Parsonage was purchased

1861 - New Parsonage occupied

1864 - New organ installed

1866 - Church repaired

1869 - Rev. Charles Lindsley resigned

1870 - Rev. George Hill installed as 3rd Senior Minister

1871 - Congregational vote to repair and remodel Church

1871 - Congregational vote to build a new Church

1873 - Congregational vote to build new Church of wood

1874 - Building contract signed for stone Church

1876 - Completion and dedication of new stone Church

1876 - Church bell presented by Mrs. Jonathan Sturgis

1876 - Rev. George Hill resigned

1877 - Rev. William Henry Holman installed as 4th Senior Minister

1881 - Gas lighting installed1898 - Tower Clock given to the Church

1899 - Church and Parsonage repaired

1901 - Church membership: 191 members

1903 - Church incorporated under the laws of Connecticut

1907 - Church organ given by Mary C. Wakeman

1915 - Rev. W.H. Holman resigns after 38 years of service. Parsonage deeded to him. Perry Parsonage, a gift of Maria Perry, adopted as residence for future pastors

1917 - Rev. Raymond H. Wilson installed as 5th Senior Minister

1920 - Rev. R.H. Wilson resigns

1921 - Rev. John Lehman Shively installed as 6th Senior Minister

1926 - Church membership: 191 members

1926 - Perry Parsonage sold; Third or Bulkley Parsonage, a gift of Benjamin Bulkley, adopted as residence for future pastors (our current Parsonage)

1935 - Rev. J.L. Shively resigns

1935 - Rev. Joseph Hooker Twichell installed as 7th Senior Minister

1939 - Church interior redecorated (choir and organ moved to gallery)

1943 - Rev. J.H. Twichell resigns

1943 - Church celebrates its 100th anniversary

1943 - Rev. Galen E. Russell installed as 8th Senior Minister

1943 - Church membership: 397 members

1946 - Plan for Free Pews went into effect

1948 - National Merger with Evangelical Reformed Church approved

1950 - Church membership: 397 members

1950 - Parking lot across from Church donated by Virginia Perry

1952 - Rev. G.E. Russell resigns

1952 - Rev. Elwyn Chaney installed as 9th Senior Minister

1955 - Project to expand Church School initiated

1956 - Ground breaking for Church School Wing, Chapel and Library

1958 - Completion and dedication of Church School Wing, Chapel and Library

1963 - Rev. Elwyn Chaney resigns

1963 - Rev. Edward W.W. Lewis installed as 10th Senior Minister

1963 - Parsonage renovated

1969 - Rev. Edward Lewis resigns

1969 - Rev. Loring S. Ensign installed as 11th Senior Minister

1970 - Organ rebuilt

1976 - 100th anniversary of Church Sanctuary

1984 - Creation of the Carousel, the Church’s Thrift Shop

1993 - Renovation of the Church library

1994 - Rev. L.S. Ensign resigns

1994 - Rev. Paul D. Whitmore installed as 12th Senior Minister

1998 - Repair and re-slating of Church roof

2003 - Sharon Alberson hired as Associate in Ministry and Rev. Laura Whitmore as the Minister of Christian Education and Youth (Rev. Laura Whitmore is the first ordained woman to serve the Church)

2004 - Church membership reaches over 500 members

2004 - Congregational vote to undertake significant remodeling of Church structure and the building of a new addition to the building.

2006 - Rev. Sharon Blackburn hired as the Pastoral Associate Minister 

2012 - Congregational vote to undertake a Capital Campaign to restore Stained Glass Windows, renovate Parsonage kitchen, build storage facility (The Barn) and perform necessary updates to the current buildings and grounds.

2014 - Church membership exceeds 650 people.

2015 - Rev. Blackburn retires

2016 - "The Barn" is built as a storage facility building.