Berkley, Mass. Congregational Church
The First Church of Christ was first gathered in 1737 in the newly incorporated town of Berkley, Massachusetts. The town of Berkley was incorporated in 1735 from an area of land that had belonged to the neighboring towns of Dighton and Taunton. In 1737, the town agreed to settle Samuel Tobey, a young graduate of Cambridge. His was a successful pastorate and he continued to serve the Congregational Church in Berkley until his death in 1781. In 1788, Thomas Andros was settled in Berkley. Rev. Andros was largely a self-taught minister from Connecticut who had also fought in the American Revolutionary War and spent time as a prisoner of war in 1781. Under Rev. Andros, the name of the church changed to the Free Christian Church in 1814.
After the formation on the United Church of Christ in 1957, the Congregational Church in Berkley reorganized as the Berkley Congregational Church, UCC which continues to serve the local community to the present time.
For more information about the collection, see the archival finding aid.
The Old Church record book contains the earliest written records of the church dating back to the gathering of the church through the whole of Samuel Tobey's ministry. The volume contains administrative records such as records related to the gathering of the church, meeting minutes, records of votes, and officer appointments. The record book also contains vital records such as a list of original members, baptismal records, marriage records, and sacramental records.
Sermons, 1737, 1790-1796
- 1 John 3:8 – “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”
first preached by Rev. Samuel Tobey 26 March 1737
- Genesis 42:21-22 – “And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us. And Reuben answered them, saying, Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? therefore, behold, also his blood is required.”
first preached by Rev. Thomas Andros 16 Aug. 1790
- Psalm 78:25 – “Man did eat angels' food: he sent them meat to the full.”
first preached by Rev. Thomas Andros 19 April 1796
Discipline cases, 1799-1814
- Thomas Andros to Israel French – Letter suspending French from the church for stealing apples. 4 May 1799
- Isaac Sanford – Deposition in defense of Sanford’s conduct while on the job in Taunton. 6 April 1814
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