Settlers began coming to our area as early as 1657. By the end of the century, they were worshiping in Ebenezer Billings’ tavern. Prior to 1740, our area did not have a parish. Families had been traveling by horse and buggy over six miles to worship at First Parish in Canton. Settlers petitioned the governor to become a separate town or precinct. Their petition was granted on July 2, 1740 and was given the name of First Parish in the Second Precinct of Stoughton in Stoughtonham (becoming Sharon in 1783). The church was known as The First Parish Congregational. By 1742, the residents of Stoughtonham had built a church on the grounds of what is now known as the Unitarian Church. Rev. Philip Curtis was called to be it’s first minister and he remained for 55 years, until his death in 1797. In 1813, a small group left the First Parish because of theological differences and formed The First Baptist Church. In 1821, a second group left and formed its own church across the street and called it The Christian Society. The first edifice was constructed in 1822 and unfortunately, was destroyed by fire in 1838. It was immediately rebuilt in 1839 and is our beautiful church that stands here today.
We are very fortunate to have one of the two historic revere bells made by The Revere Copper Company of Canton hanging in our steeple, the other being at the Unitarian Church. Our church is in Sharon’s Historic District #1 and is also on the National Register of Historic Places.
During and after the era of World War II we had the greatest increase in membership … Our walls began to burst …. we needed more space for Sunday School and various activities! In 1948 ground was broken for a new parish hall. About ten years later it was decided to add a second level to the parish hall and also add more space and revamp the sanctuary. This was concluded in 1960. In the early 1980s, a new tractor-action organ was installed in the chancel by Roche Organ Company. Our outstanding choir has performed many concerts and cantatas over the years and, of course, leads the congregation with their beautiful music every Sunday morning, as well as for special occasions and funerals. In 2010, our church building was renovated to accommodate the installation of a lift which allows access to all four levels of our building.
In the past, First Congregational Church of Sharon has celebrated its 150th, 175th Anniversaries and now we are looking forward to a celebration of our 200th Anniversary in 2021. May God’s light continue to shine upon us as we prepare for the future.
As is the principle of Congregational Churches, the governing of our church is controlled by its active members who exercise the right of full control … each congregation is autonomous. At one point the church called itself “The Orthodox Congregational Church of Sharon.” On January 14, 1915 the church reorganized by incorporating under the name of “The First Congregational Church of Sharon.” For years we have been known as “The Family Church” consisting of parishioners of all ages from a variety of backgrounds. Our church joined the United Church of Christ (UCC) in 1961.