Welcome to First Congregational Church! First Congregational Church in Bristol is a vital, progressive community of faith with long roots in our community. Just how long?
We are Bristol’s first and founding church! We have been here since 1680, formed at the same time as Bristol itself. One hundred and 5 years after our founding, our congregation and its 6th pastor, Reverend Henry Wight, began what is now known as the Bristol 4th of July Parade and Patriotic Exercises! That was in 1785! We are the Founders of America’s Oldest Fourth of July Celebration™. In 1862, Rev. J.P. Lane, the 12th pastor of our church, compiled and wrote the history of our congregation from 1687-1872. Wonderful details of our early congregation are included in this book, which can be seen and downloaded here.
We are now in our third building, built in the 1850s. Our first building was on the Town Common and our second building stood where the Andrews School is located, on Bradford Street. Our current buildings have recently been preserved and updated through the historic efforts of our Preserve Our Heritage and Prepare for Our Future Capital Campaign.
Today, our congregation is known for its broad support for our community, and our willingness to speak out regarding social justice issues.
YOU CAN PARTICIPATE IN MANY WAYS! HERE ARE SOME:
Sunday services that are relevant, thought-provoking, meaningful and which have a sense of being modern combined with a living example of the best of our traditions. Please bring your whole selves to Sunday services – prepare to laugh, cry, and be overjoyed with the presence of God. You are welcome here!!
A strong Christian Education and Sunday School program for children that is growing by leaps and bounds. Young families in Bristol have discovered our faith community to be a place that truly nurtures their children and the whole family. Our CE director, Helen Sousa, is full of love, creativity and energy.
Music is central to all that we do, and we are blessed by our outstanding Minister of Music, Othniel Clarke, and our talented group of musicians who bring our services alive every Sunday. We would love it if you would share your talents here!
Our Stone Church Coffeehouse hosts concerts nearly every month showcasing the very best folk and bluegrass music our area has to offer.
We founded the East Bay Food Pantry and Stone Soup Thrift Shop at the Franklin Court Assisted Living Facility building on Wood Street in Bristol. We gave the East Bay Food Pantry a mission to “Engage, educate and empower the East Bay in creating a hunger-free community.” We are proud to say the East Bay Food Pantry has established itself as a separate 501(c)(3) organization. The positive energy and people of FCC have “given birth” to another vital community resource!
If you are visiting for the first time, we hope you will choose to join with us and become a part of what this thriving congregation is doing and envisioning in Bristol. Today, over 330 years since our founding, we are faithfully and creatively living out the call of God to reach out and make a difference in the World!
A fascinating account of the History of First Congregational Church of Bristol can be found in”The Manual of the First Congregational Church in Bristol, R.I. 1687-1872″, now available online here. One section features the founding of our current house of worship, then called the third house of worship. Page through and see what a rich history we have!