The Olde White Church
(A short sketch of a long history)
First Christian Congregational Church established its roots in the early
history of Swansea. Services were first
held in l680 without church or clergyman.
In l693 the “Church of Christ in Swansea” was organized with seventeen
members and Thomas Barnes of Plymouth ordained as their pastor. It is
believed that this was the first church in New England to admit all Christians
to membership regardless of their theological beliefs and our members presently
come from many denominational backgrounds.
In l803, it became affiliated with the Six-Principal Baptist. After 16 years, it withdrew and was ecclesiastically independent until 1861 when it joined the Christian denomination, merging with the Congregational Churches in 1930. We have been known as the First Christian Congregational Church from that time. In 1961 the Congregational churches merged with the Evangelical Reformed churches establishing us as a part of the United Church of Christ (UCC).
The first meetinghouse was built prior to 1719 diagonally southwest from where we are today. Our “Olde White Church” was erected between l830 and l832 on a parcel of land purchased from Dr. William Wood for $40.91 by ten members and dedicated on April 10, l833. Extensive remodeling and redecorating have been done throughout the years. In l868 the E. & G. G. Hook one manual tracker organ was purchased and placed in the balcony. In 1873 an addition was constructed on the north to accommodate the instrument. In a major two-phase expansion, an addition to the north was built in l958 and the east wing added in l966. At that time the organ was adapted and relocated to what is now the front of the sanctuary.
More recently, in 2008, the sanctuary of the church was completely remodeled, the domed ceiling was repaired, new pews were installed and windows were replaced. In 1993 our “Olde White Church” placed on the National Register of historic buildings.Our organ was rebuilt and the outer pipes were painted and restored to their original pattern. In 2016, the E. & G. G. Hook organ was completely restored to its 1868 condition and sound. In 2017, we will be joining the small group of privileged churches to have our organ registered as one of only roughly 600 organs in the United States with the Organ Historical Society.
We are bound together in faith and purpose by our own Church Covenant. Authority in the church is ultimately vested in the congregation. The congregation meets to decide church affairs and freely expresses opinions which we find to be the purest form of democratic government.
It is truly a place where all generations meet together, work together, and enjoy each other. So come and join us!
All Are Welcome!