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Brockton, Mass. Porter Congregational Church, 1800-1979.

 Collection
Identifier: RG5395

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the administrative, financial, historical, and ministerial records of the Porter Congregational Church, as well as the records of many church groups. The records also provide valuable context for the creation of the church out of a doctrinal dispute with the First Parish Congregational Church. Included in the records are record books of the church and parish, vital member records, financial records, records relating to the construction of the church, records of various church groups and the Sunday school, orders of worship, and ministerial correspondence.

Dates

  • 1800-1979

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

During the 1840s, Rev. Paul Couch, minister at the First Parish Congregational Church in North Bridgewater, began to liberalize some of the more traditional teachings and traditions of the church. In response, some members of the church called for Rev. Couch to resign. Over the course of two years between 1948 and 1950, members of the liberal and orthodox wings of the church debated over Rev. Couche’s position. Ultimately Rev. Couch did not resign and his continued service was maintained by the church. In response, approximately 70 names of persons interested in forming a new church were collected on February 12, 1850. An ecclesiastical council was called for March 6 and from that meeting the Porter Evangelical Church was formally gathered. John F. Norton was installed as the first minister of the church and stayed for a year. In 1852, Charles L. Mills was installed as pastor.

The newly formed congregation initially met at Tyler Cobb’s Hall; their first meeting was held on March 10, 1850. In order to purchase land for a church, the Porter Society was formed on March 20, 1850. In 1851 the society purchased and renovated an old building on Main Street just north of the First Parish Congregational Church. In 1869 the top of the church spire was destroyed during a wind storm. The steeple was repaired in 1883 while the church itself underwent a major renovation and expansion project.

The Church Work Committee was formed in 1885. Its initial function was to assist the pastor and provide help to the Porter Church’s parishioners. However that mission quickly expanded to include the management of Brockton area missions to provide sanctuary spaces for poor and disenfranchised citizens in the north-east of Brockton. Out of that mission both the Wendell Avenue Church, which began as the Wendell Avenue Chapel, and the Waldo Congregational Church, which began as the Montello Mission, were established in the mid-1890s.

At some point in the mid-1910s, the church name changed to The Porter Congregational Church. The church building was again renovated in 1925 as part of planned anniversary activities. The renovation also included the construction of a new steeple. The renovations also included the construction of a multi-purpose recreational building behind the church. There were further renovations completed in 1950 as part of the centennial celebrations. In 1980, the Porter Congregational Church merged with the First Parish Congregational Church, South Congregational Church, and Waldo Congregational Church to form the Christ Congregational Church in Brockton. The Porter Congregational Church building is now the headquarters for the Keys of The Kingdom Tabernacle of Prayer For All People, International.

Extent

2.01 Cubic Feet (4 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

The Porter Evangelical Church in North Bridgewater, later the Porter Congregational Church in Brockton, was established in 1850 by members who left the First Parish Congregational Church over ecclesiastical differences. The church purchased a building just north of the First Parish Congregational Church in 1851 and the building was further renovated in 1883, 1925, and 1950. The Wendell Avenue Church and Waldo Congregational Church were both formed out of area missions administered by the Porter Church. In 1980, the Porter Congregational Church merged with the First Parish Congregational Church, South Congregational Church, and Waldo Congregational Church to form the Christ Congregational Church in Brockton. This collection contains the administrative, financial, historical, and ministerial records of the Porter Congregational Church, as well as the records of many church groups. Included in the collection are vital membership records, church and society records, committee and group records, and correspondence.

Arrangement

This collection has been arranged into the four series listed below. Within each series, materials have been arranged, primarily, in chronological order by start date, and secondarily, by topic.
Series 1: Church and society records, 1847-1979
Series 2: Financial and building records, 1800-1960
Series 3: Church committee and group records, 1850-1923
Series 4: Ministerial records and church services, 1800-1950

Acquisition Information

Materials were donated to the Congregational Library & Archives by the Porter Congregational Church in 1980. Materials were sepparated out of RG0037 in March, 2019; Accession 2019-04.

Related Materials

In 1980, the First Parish Congregational, South Congregational, Porter Congregational, and Waldo Congregational Churchs merged into a single entity, the Christ Congregational Church. The records of all four churches are held at the Congregational Library & Archives:

Brockton, Mass. First Parish Congregational Church records, 1738-1980.

Brockton, Mass. South Congregational Church, 1835-1979.

Brockton, Mass. Waldo Congregational Church, 1896-1980.

Bibliography

The book of the Chronicles of the Porter Congregational Church on the occasion of the One-Hundredth Anniversary 1950. Brockton: 1950. 17.11.1 B78.33 ChrCC

Processing Information

Originally processed by Sandra Sudak in 1990. Additional descriptions by Jessica Steytler in 2002 and 2006. Fully reprocessed and redescribed by Zachary Bodnar, March 2019, using DACS Second Edition.
Title
Brockton, Mass. Porter Congregational Church, 1800-1979.
Status
Completed
Author
Zachary Bodnar
Date
2019-03-18
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

Contact:
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617-523-0470