Williamsburg church rededicating meetinghouse marker for 250th on Sunday

  • A stone marking the original location of the First Congregational Church of Williamsburg will be rededicated at a ceremony on Sunday morning. Staff photo/Bera Dunau

Staff Writer
Published: 9/24/2021 9:38:43 PM

WILLIAMSBURG — A stone that marks the original location of the First Congregational Church of Williamsburg will be rededicated in a ceremony Sunday morning.

The church was founded as a meetinghouse in 1771, the same year as Williamsburg, and was a prerequisite for Williamsburg becoming a town in Massachusetts at that time.

“The church and the town had to be founded together,” said the Rev. Worth Noyes, pastor of the church.

Because there wasn’t a separation between church and state at the time, the church building also served as Williamsburg’s public meetinghouse.

“In order to be a voting member of the town, you had to be a member of the church then,” Noyes said.

After its founding, the church took eight years to build, and Noyes said residents had meetings at the local inn and pub in the interim.

The first church building originally stood on Village Hill, and was taken down in 1838, after a second was built in the center of town. In 1910, a stone was dedicated at the original site of the church.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the town’s 250th anniversary celebration has been pushed back. However, Noyes said the rededication ceremony is being done to honor this milestone for the church.

“This is the 250th anniversary of both the town and the church,” the reverend said.“We thought that this was one small way that during the year of this anniversary, this church could celebrate the fact that we’re 250 years old.”

The ceremony will take place following a 10 a.m. outdoor service at the First Congregational Church, located at 4 North Main St.

“We’ve done a few of these outside and it’s always been great,” Noyes said.

The stone will be rededicated, which is located past the cemetery on Village Hill coming from the center of town, at around 11 a.m.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.

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