The Congregational churches founded by the Pilgrims and other spiritual reformers spread rapidly through New England. In an early experiment in democracy, each congregation was self-governing and elected its own ministers. The Congregationalists aimed to create a model for a just society lived in the presence of God. Their leader, John Winthrop, prays that "we shall be as a city upon a hill ... the eyes of all people upon us."
The present building was acquired from the Unitarian Congregational Society in 1832 or 1833. The first regular minister was Rev. Joseph H. Towne. At this time membership was forty.
In 1700, Congregationalists were among the first Americans to take a stand against slavery. The Rev. Samuel Sewall wrote the first anti-slavery pamphlet in America, "The Selling of Joseph." Sewall lays the foundation for the abolitionist movement that comes more than a century later. In 1836, Rev. Towne resigned to lecture on anti-slavery. In 1841, the church declared slavery to be a violation of the principals and spirit of Christianity.
In 1887 it was voted that the church be called "The Main Street Congregational Church of Amesbury". At the 1898 Annual Meeting, it was voted to offer water as well as wine in the communion cups in light of the Temperance Movement.
In 1944 the bell was recast after cracking and was rededicated. In 1945, the congregation approved the union of the Congregational and the Evangelical Reform Churches and in 1957 the Main Street Church became a member of United Church of Christ (UCC), a new denomination resulting from this union. One of the UCC's distinguishing characteristics is its belief that ... God is still speaking, ... even when it puts us out there alone. History has shown that, most often, we're only alone for a while.
Today we are a strong and growing church seeking to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ in the 21st century.
April, 2017 Archival Presentation
In April, a mini exhibition about the church and the community was presented to the church. MSCC has been looking for volunteers to help organize and care for their historic archives, objects, and books. After months of learning, sorting and arranging a wonderful exhibit was shared with both members of the church and local community! The exhibit featured a selection of objects, photographs, and more about MSCC's and Amesbury’s history since the 1800’s.
ABOUT THE STUDENT who compiled the exhibit
My name is Jillian Holmberg and a few years ago I volunteered to help with this project. I am excited to have since turned this into my Master’s thesis project on how churches can use their historic collections and archives to engage their local community and congregations. I am graduating this May from the Southern University at New Orleans. I would love volunteers of all ages to keep up on this project over time, for more info: email@example.com.