First Church celebrates 375 years: Tours offered

The First United Church of Christ.

The First United Church of Christ.

The 375th Anniversary Committee of the First United Church of Christ Congregational will host a docent-guided tour of the church Sunday, June 8 at 11:30 a.m. starting from the front step.

The church is located at 34 West Main Street.

The congregation is commemorating the simultaneous founding of the church and the establishment of the town as a Theocracy in 1639.

Church history

“On Aug. 22, 1639, The First Church of Christ in Milford, now the First United Church of Christ (Congregational) was organized in New Haven by The Reverend Peter Prudden and a company of 15 families,” according to the church website, firstchurchofmilford.org.

“They arrived in Boston on July 31, 1637, from England. A year later they sailed to what is now New Haven and held their first religious service under an oak tree on Sunday, April 25, 1638, with the founding settlers of that community.”

The group wanted a church and a colony of their own, according to church history, so they purchased land on Feb. 12, 1639. They did not settle the land that winter, however.

“Originally, the government of the town was a Theocracy — a small republic independent of all outside authority,” the church website continues. “God was their only King and the Bible their only law book. Only Church members were permitted the right to vote and hold office.”

When Milford, as part of the New Haven Colony, merged with Connecticut Colony in 1665, the law was changed and ownership of property became the basis of citizenship in place of church membership.

One hour tours

The one-hour tours are free and open to the public. Some rooms are accessible only by stairs.

Identical tours will be held on Sunday, July 20 at 11:30 a.m. and Saturday, Sept. 27 at 10 a.m.

Call 203-878-4155 for more information, however, there is no need to RSVP.

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