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Central Baptist Church
Norwich, Connecticutt
By Duane H. Hurd, 1882

      On the 1st of April, 1840, the First Baptist Church in Norwich obtained the services of Rev. M. G. Clarke, who continued to supply them until August following, when it was believed the many difficulties under which the Baptist interest labored might be much lessened, if not removed, by a change of location. So many embarrassments, however, seemed to attend this proposition that it was abandoned; but it was finally decided to commence a new interest in a more central and advantageous situation.

      Accordingly, on the evening of Sept. 15, 1840, thirty-seven persons residing in the place, but not connected with the First Church, met at the house of Avery Bromley, on Union Street, and organized a Second Church, to be called the Central Baptist Church of Norwich. Articles of faith and church covenant were adopted, and Rev. M. G. Clarke was chosen to be their pastor.

      A Council called to recognize the new church met on the 22d of the same month, consisting of delegates from the following churches: First Norwich, Bozrah, Lebanon, Colchester, Packersville, Jewett City, Voluntown, and Preston City; besides which, were invited Rev. I. R. Stewart and Rev. E. Denison. The church was duly recognized, and in the evening public services were held at the town hall, where a sermon was preached by Elder Tubal Wakefield, and the hand of fellowship extended to the new church, through their pastor, by Elder B. Cook. At the next meeting of that body the church was received a member of the New London Association.

      The town hall was engaged as a place of worship, and so much did the congregation increase that the place was soon nearly filled. About this time also, the First Church being destitute of a pastor, many of its members took letters and united with the Central Church. The first deacons were Elisha W. Beckwith, Erastus Regwin, and George Lovis.

      It now became evident that the comfort and prosperity of the church depended much on their having a house to worship in. But after the severe struggles through which they had passed, few in numbers and feeble in means, it was difficult to see how such an object could be attained. But after prayer and consultation, trusting in God, it was decided to go forward and make the attempt. A lot centrally and favorably located on Union Street was obtained, and in the following spring a house was commenced, which was dedicated Dec. 14, 1841, Elder R. H. Neale, of Boston, preaching the sermon. Cost of church edifice about $11,000.

      Among the pastors of this church have been the following: Revs. Miner G. Clarke, Edward T. Hiscox, Joseph A. Goodhue, Frederick Denison, Samuel Graves, and John Davies. In 1863 the church was enlarged and beautified at an expense of about $7000. The present pastor is Rev. John D. Herr.


[From History of New London County, Connecticut, 1882, pp. 298. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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