In 2016-17, we honored the past, celebrated the present, and leaned into the future. Described here are some of the activities that deepened the understanding of our story, enriched the spirit, engaged the community, and where we

In the beginning…

October 11th, 1667… A petition was forwarded to the General Court which had assembled at Hartford the day previous, and was granted in the following words:

“This Court, upon the petition of the inhabitants of Kenilworth, doe hereby declare and give them theire approbation and encouragement to gather themselves into Church order according to the order of the Gospell.”

Thus the church was duly established, and John Woodbridge, a young man of twenty three, was ordained and installed as its first pastor.

To honor the past…

The Rev. Dr. Christopher C. Horvath held monthly historical sermons. Throughout the year we had an Indian River cemetery tour and hear from historical speakers.

Celebrating the present…

Through music, arts, speakers, parades and parties, our families and the community enjoyed the fellowship and fun that makes us First Church.

Leaning into the future…

This is one of those milestone years when we were called to make a difference in the life of First Church and the communities around us.

Our celebration calendar…

Here are some of the events that were held. Members and friends of all ages found opportunities to learn, participate, contribute and enjoy.

August 12 & 13, 2016 – Summer Fair

September 2016 - Our celebration began with the placement of the banners that show our great 350th logo along the walkways of meetinghouse hill.

October 2016 – 349th Birthday Celebration

November 2016 - Harvest Sunday Special Offering of 350 bags of food for 350 years. We exceeded our goal and donated 401 bags of food to the SSKP Clinton Food Pantry.

November 2016 - Dedication of our First church’s 350th Celebration Anthem, composed for us by Lois and Richard Geer

December 4, 2016 - Christmas in Clinton –Historical skits were presented by Kidz Konnection in our sanctuary. These wonderful sketches highlighted historical scenes about Abraham Pierson and the beginning of Yale, Jared Eliot and his best friend, Benjamin Franklin, and Adam Stanton, the town Merchant. The listings of our thirty-two ministers with their dates of service were placed in our sanctuary windows.

January 2017 – Historical presentation on Abraham Pierson. Edwin C. Schroeder, the Director of the Beinecke Library at Yale University, delivered to us a well-researched message on Abraham Pierson.

March 2017 – Historical presentation on Jared Eliot. Becky Eliot Keating, presented a history of her ancestor, Jared Eliot. Dr. Eliot was our longest serving pastor, a renown medical doctor and scientist, and Benjamin Franklin’s closest friend.

March 2017 - Celebration of our relationship with Killingworth. Jim Hile, a retired teacher and an actor in local plays and productions, portrayed Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Jim read The Birds of Killingworth, one of Longfellow’s superb poems from his masterwork, Tales of a Wayside Inn.

April 2017 - Musical Celebration program with the Hot Cat Jazz Band.

May 2017 - Silver Anniversary Tea Honoring members who have been part of the church for 50 years or more.

June 2017 - Special Beach Service

August 11 & 12, 2017 - Summer Fair

September 2017 - 350th Homecoming Celebration with old time games and historical scavenger hunt

October 2017 - Grand Birthday celebration – History of 350 years

November 2017 - Grand Finale Event - All Saints Day Service recognizing key moments in our history with voices from the past

The 350th Celebration Committee

A special thank you to the members of our 350th Anniversary Committee for their dedication and hard work in organizing these important celebrations.

Carol Fanning and Lorraine Hill - Chairpersons

Les Browne

Gail Carlisle

Richard and Sarah Marcinek

David Rainey

Dave and Sherry Smith

Susan Thompson

Rev. Dr. Christopher C. Horvath, Pastor

Mission Statement

For all ages to celebrate our church’s 350 years of history through worship, fellowship, educational programs and service.