By Rev. Albert P. Watson, May 9, 1920
The Town of Hatfield and the First Congregational Church of Hatfield, United Church of Christ are both, simultaneously, approaching their 350th anniversary.
In Puritan Massachusetts, a community could not be incorporated until it had arranged the services of a settled pastor. Thus, the church and the town were born as one.
This history shares some amazing stories, and I would add inspiring too.
Rev. Hope Atherton, the church's first pastor, was the chaplain when Capt. Turner, of Turners Falls fame, led a group of Colonists to battle the Native Americans. The campaign did not go well. The Colonists retreated haphazardly. Rev. Atherton became lost in the dense woods of 17th century western Massachusetts. The pamphlet below tells the rest of his story.
There was also Rev. Joseph Lyman who swayed the people of Hatfield and convinced them to support the Revolutionary War. [He later supported Shay's Rebellion and meetings were held at the church.]
Rev. John M. Greene was a staunch abolitionist and was ready himself to fight to end the sin of slavery. He was also the trusted confidant of Sophia Smith of Smith Charities and Smith College. Rev. Greene is the one who helped her disperse her wealth so graciously and generously.
There's also the story of the silver Communion Service that is now on display at the Art Museum of Yale University.
The town's 350th Committee has planned a year full of events and the church will be a part of this milestone. There is a proud history here and one that should be remembered.
Here's the rest of the story ...
Faith, love and chitchat.
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