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Fitchburg, Mass. Calvinistic Congregational Church records, 1805-2006.

 Collection
Identifier: RG5368

Scope and Contents

The Fitchburg, Mass. Calvinistic Congregational Church records document the history and activities of parish and its members. This collection contains church and society records, including committee reports, meeting minutes, vital membership records, and church correspondence. Also included are financial records, photographic materials, weekly church bulletins, event calendars, and extensive records kept by various church societies and clubs, including the records of the Fitchburg Sunday School.

Dates

  • 1805-2006

Creator

Restrictions on Access

Access to this collection is unrestricted and open to the public.

Restrictions on Use

Items in this collection are subject to U.S. Copyright Law. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine the copyright status of collection items and to secure any permissions necessary for their reproduction and publication. Requests for permission to publish material must be discussed with the archivist or librarian.

Historical Note

The Calvinistic Congregational Church of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, was formally gathered as the Calvinistic Congregational Society on June 14, 1805. The church formed during a period of religious tumult within the town of Fitchburg, and within New England in general. Doctrinal disagreements within the First Parish of Fitchburg between Unitarian and Trinitarian congregants came to a head in 1802 with the majority of the more traditionally minded congregants withdrawing from the First Parish. Those that withdrew did so with the intention to form a new religious society. They formed as the Calvinistic Congregational Church three years later. The first meeting house of the Calvinistic Congregational Church was built in 1806 at the corner of Main Street and Rollstone Street. That meeting house was replaced in 1845. The second meeting house was built to accommodate a growing parish; eventually the building was adjoined with a chapel. In 1897, the third and final meeting house was built on the same plot of land. Designed by Henry M. Francis, the third church building is an example of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. The meeting house’s most prominent features were a clock tower and the 20 foot diameter "rose window," which was a stained glass window depicting the angelic choir.

The same kinds of doctrinal disagreements that had resulted in the formation of the Calvinistic Congregational Church from the First Parish of Fitchburg resulted in the formation of a number of other protestant denominations from the Calvinistic Church during the nineteenth-century. The Methodist, Episcopal, and Baptists churches of Fitchburg formed from doctrinal splits within the Calvinistic Church. The Trinitarian Congregational Church split from the Calvinistic Church in 1843 following three tumultuous years of discussions about slavery; its members withdrew from the Calvinistic Church shortly before the Calvinistic Church formally adopted a resolution condemning slavery as an "evil of great magnitude." By 1867 the population in eastern portion of Fitchburg had grown significantly and those members wished to worship in a church more convenient to them; in 1868 those members formed the Rollstone Congregational Church. The Trinitarian Church eventually merged with the Rollstone Congregational Church around 1870.

In 1961, the Calvinistic Congregational Church voted to join with the United Church of Christ. Beginning in 1966, the Calvinistic Church reached out to the other parishes that had formed from it to begin talks of creating a "cooperative parish." The First Methodist Church responded, and in 1967 the Faith United Parish was formed by the two churches. Both churches continued to hold separate finances, polity, and membership, but held joint worship and shared programs and clubs. Both churches stayed united until 2018 when both churches, and Faith United Parish, were formally dissolved.

Extent

11.16 Cubic Feet (23 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

The Calvinistic Congregational Church of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, was formally gathered as the Calvinistic Congregational Society on June 14, 1805. The first meeting house was built in 1806, the second in 1845, and the third, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, in 1897. The church joined the United Church of Christ in 1961. In 1967, the church joined with the First Methodist Church of Fitchburg to form the Faith United Parish. This collection documents the history and activities of the parish and its members. The records contain committee reports, meeting minutes, vital statistics, financial records, photographic materials, weekly church bulletins, and extensive records kept by various church societies.

Arrangement

This collection has been divided into five series, with two of those series further divided into subseries. Materials have been arranged in chronological order. Materials closely related by topic have been grouped together when appropriate. When possible, the original order of materials within folders has been maintained.
Series 1: Church and committee records, 1805-2006.
Subseries 1: Church and society records, 1805-1983.
Subseries 2: Vital records, 1824-2006.
Subseries 3: Committee reports and minutes, 1859-1973.
Subseries 4: Church history, 1868-1968.
Subseries 5: Annual reports, 1882-1990.
Subseries 6: Correspondence and communications, 1906-1959.
Series 2: Financial records, 1824-1998.
Series 3: Church societies and clubs, 1825-1995.
Subseries 1: Sunday School Society of Fitchburg, 1825-1976.
Subseries 2: Sewing Society, 1839-1859.
Subseries 3: Young People's Society, 1886-1930.
Subseries 4: Fitchburg Congregational Club, 1888.
Subseries 5: Kings Daughters of the C. C. Church, 1888-1967.
Subseries 6: United Workers of the C. C. Church, 1891-1957.
Subseries 7: Fraternal Brotherhood of the C. C. Church, 1910-1942.
Subseries 8: Fitchburg Choral Society, 1911-1930.
Subseries 9: Fitchburg Woman's Club, 1919-1945.
Subseries 10: Hisanhern Club of the C. C. Church, 1941-1995.
Subseries 11: Woman's Guild of the C. C. Church, 1953-1970.
Subseries 12: Aims, Ambitions, Ideals Service Club of the Calvinistic Congregational Church, 1953-1970.
Subseries 13: Junior Pilgrim youth Fellowship, 1954-1966.
Subseries 14: COMETS, 1976-1995.
Series 4: Calendars and bulletins, 1887-1972.
Series 5: Graphic materials, circa 1914-1980.

Acquisition Information

Materials were gifted to the Congregational Library & Archives, March 2018, by Rev. Jeffrey Conlon; Accession 2018-08.

Related Materials

Materials from the First Methodist Church of Fitchburg, Mass. were gifted to the School of Theology Library at Boston University in 2018.

Bibliography

Committee on Archives. 200 Years. Fitchburg, 1968.17.11.1 F55.3 FaiUP

Hitchcock, George A. A History of the Calvinistic Congregational Church and Society. Fitchburg, 1902. 17.11.1 F55.3 CalCC

Processing Information

Prcoessed by Zachary Bodnar, May 2018, using DACS Second Edition.
Title
Fitchburg, Mass. Calvinistic Congregational Church records, 1805-2006.
Status
Completed
Author
Zachary Bodnar
Date
2018-05-15
Description rules
Dacs2 2013
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the Congregational Library & Archives Repository

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