PART I (1916-1947)
When I began my ministry in Norwell in April 1969 I received from the parish clerk the minister's record book which began with the ministry of the Rev. Howard Charles Gale in 1916. It was during his ministry that the parish celebrated its 275th Anniversary in 1917 with a full day of services and ceremonies and festivities to mark the occasion. The occasional preacher for the afternoon service was the renowned Unitarian church historian and President of the Pacific Unitarian School for the Ministry, Dr. Earl Morse Wilbur. The parish published a special booklet which featured a 17 page historical sketch of the history of the church, written by Mary L. Power, from its first minister, Wm. Witherell, in 1645 to the calling of its then present minister, Rev. Gale, in 1916. Since that date no one has attempted to do a historical update of the history of the church and its succeeding ministers. This being the 350th anniversary year of the parish I am making an attempt to bring our history up to date and thought All Souls Sunday would be a good time to begin the process.
When the Rev. Howard Charles Gale came here in late November 1916 Norwell was a small town of a few hundred people (more in the summer) and the church was a country parish with a total membership of 60 persons. He was very well liked and was quite active in town and community affairs. The Rev. Mr. Gale holds the record, I believe, at least in this parish, and maybe in the Guiness Book of Records, of performing the most baptisms at a Sunday morning service, 22 on Children's Day, June 9, 1918. Of the 22 children baptized that day, 9 bore the surname, Henderson. Not all had the same parents, but no doubt all were from the same clan and cousins one to another. If the people in Norwell were kind of clannish they had good reason for being so.
Mr. Gale had a deep and abiding interest in liturgical renewal and was quite drawn to the beauty of Anglican style liturgy and had instituted such a ritual at one of his former Universalist parishes in Dorchester. He restrained his interest while in Norwell, and kept the service fairly simple, but later in life, after having pursued a career in medicine and teaching, in addition to the ministry, he joined the Episcopal Church and became an Anglican priest. He came here in 1916 to get away from the stress and turmoil of the city for awhile and to find some peace and quiet in the country. That he did for a few years until he decided he wanted to fulfill a boyhood dream of a career in medicine. With the permission of the parish he enrolled in the Massachusetts College of Osteopathy in Boston. He had thought about moving to a new parish closer to the city to be nearer to the school, but Horace Fogg and the members of the church prevailed upon him to remain with them.
To help with his finances Mr. Fogg investigated the possibility of his doing additional part-time ministries at the Universalist Church in Assinippi, which was without a minister, and also at a small Unitarian church in Pembroke. Whenever I think I am working too hard I recall the incredible schedule of the Rev. Howard Charles Gale that busy year. He describes his Sunday workday in the
My program began with the morning service at the First Parish,
followed by Sunday school, with me as superintendent, then my dinner
at the parsonage and a quick drive to Assinippi in time for Sunday
school, followed by the service and sermon. From there I drove to
Pembroke, barely in time for Sunday school, which was followed by the
service and sermon. After that I returned to Norwell for a minute's
rest and supper, then to the First Parish again for the meeting of the
Young People's Society.
During the week he was up at the crack of dawn to catch the train from Greenbush to Boston, then on and off the subway and a mad dash for a couple of blocks just in time for the start of the anatomy class. He studied early mornings, late nights, and on the train in and out of Boston. Somehow he crowded in parish work whenever possible. He kept up this feverish pace for a year, finally decided it was too much, and accepted a call to be minister at First Parish in Beverly for $3,000, and an easy train ride into Boston. Three thousand dollars was probably more than he was getting for handling three churches on the South Shore.
He eventually got his M.D. degree and went on to teach in his chosen field. He never entirely gave up the ministry. He went on to serve the Peabody Unitarian Church on a part time basis for 20 years while he carried on his medical and teaching practice. He later wrote his autobiography and called it, MY TRIPLE LIFE, referring, of course, to his three professional vocations of ministry, medicine and teaching. Without a doubt, Howard Charles Gale had to be one of the most gifted, intelligent, and energetic men ever to serve the Norwell parish and Unitarian ministry. He received letters of commendation from AUA President, Frederick May Eliot, and when he left his ministry in Norwell the members of the parish presented him with a generous purse. Though he had only been with them a short time they had grown to love and respect him and hated to see him go.
The little church up river was finding it increasingly difficult to hold on to good ministers for more than a few years. For a period of 34 years, including the ministry of Howard Charles Gale, the parish had had eight different ministers averaging a little over 4 years for each ministry. They needed to find someone who would stay with them for awhile. This they found in the person of the Rev. Alfred "Jimmy" Wilson who began his ministry in Norwell on his 40th birthday, April 17, 1921 and stayed with the parish until his retirement on the 22nd of June 1947, a 26 year ministry. Afterwards he was voted Minister Emeritus and returned to his parish from time to time to participate in the installation of succeeding ministers and for other special celebrations. When I was installed as minister in the spring of 1969 Jimmy Wilson came down to Norwell from his home in Sprucehead, Maine for the last time. He told me and the congregation that since his retirement he had participated in the installation of too many ministers of the First Parish in Norwell--I was the sixth in 20 years--and he wanted me to stay long enough so that he wouldn't have to participate in any more. He was 88 years old and still chipper. Jimmy died the following September. Twenty-two years later, by luck or by grace, I'm still here, the last minister to be blessed by Jimmy Wilson at his installation.
Jimmy Wilson was born in Liverpool, England during the Victorian era. His father was a sea captain and a man of rather stern visage. Jimmy left his native England as a young man to work and study at a Disciples of Christ Missionary School in the mountains of Tennessee. The school was fundamentalist in orientation, but opposed to dogmas and creeds. Jimmy felt the call to serve God, but his mind felt too confined within the fundamentalist view of the Bible. He went on to study at the University of Chicago and then to Union Theological Seminary in New York City. His first church was a Congregational Church in Walpole, N.H. where he met his future wife, Helen Banning, a Unitarian. He married her and shifted his ministry to the AUA and went on to serve churches in Newburgh, N.Y., Brighton and Marblehead, Mass. He also served overseas for one year in the YMCA and was actively engaged in Red Cross work before coming to Norwell in 1921. In his first Unitarian parish in Newburg, N.Y., Jimmy Wilson was thought to be something of a radical because he was the only clergyman in town bold enough to sit on the platform and march in the street with Carrie Chapman Catt and her suffragettes.
Jimmy Wilson had a winning way with people. He had a warm smile, a sparkle in his eye, a bounce in his step, and a disarming sense of humor. There was an essential goodness to the man that touched the heart and enabled him to communicate with all sorts and conditions of people. And his crisp English accent was a pleasure to listen to.
There were some important events that took place in the parish during his ministry. In September 1928 a special Service of Re-dedication and Commemoration was held in celebration of the restored meeting house. Over 300 persons were present. The Parish had painted the outside of the church, shingled the roof and wired the church for electricity. The restoration of the interior of the church consisted of restoring plain glass windows in place of colored glass which had been installed during the Victorian era, restoring the pew doors which had been removed and stored away in an attic somewhere for more than a generation, and the building of a new chancel and pulpit, the very one I speak from this day. All of this was the gift of Horace T. Fogg, Chairman of the Parish Committee, in memory of his parents and grandparents. He did a great deal of patient research into the style of New England Meeting Houses of the period in which it was built and did his best to make it the way it was when Samuel Deane delivered his Dedication Sermon in 1830.
Two years later, in August 1930, Horace Fogg died suddenly and left a great gap in the lay leadership of the church and town. In the Minister's Record Book Jimmy Wilson made the following notation: "Funeral of Horace Tower Fogg--a great loss to our church, our leading layman, an influential member of the community, a man of large affairs and wide influence. He was advisor to a very large number of persons and was a man of sterling quality and unswerving devotion to the causes of the church. We shall miss him greatly." Horace Fogg was one of the founders of the South Scituate Savings Bank and the Rockland Trust Co. He was influential and accessible to a great many people in the community. At home, unfortunately, according to Helen, he was distant and inapproachable to his wife and daughter, especially after the death of his son Faulkner at age 14. We are the beneficiaries of his largess and generosity and that of his daughter, Helen.
Jimmy Wilson was the spiritual leader for two significant anniversaries in the life of the church--the 100th Anniversary of the Meeting House on Oct. 12, 1930, and the 300th Anniversary of the formation of the Parish on February 15, 1942. At the latter ceremony, Dr. Frederick May Eliot, President of the AUA, preached the dedicatory sermon, with almost 300 in attendance. Later in the afternoon, at 3:00, a brief service of Re-dedication was held at the commemorative boulder on Wilson Hill at the corner of Old Meeting House Lane marking the location of the First Meeting House. Again, it was Horace Fogg who had made the arrangements and spoke at the original dedication of the Boulder at the 275th Anniversary Service in 1917.
Jimmy Wilson is remembered as an excellent horsemen, as was his wife, Helen, loved to sail, and enjoyed a good game of chess. During the summers, he and his wife, tended to their summer cottage in Sprucehead, Maine, to which they later retired, and when he was in Norwell, during the summer, he would stay overnight at the Kent House, because he and Helen rented out the Parsonage for a little extra income.
Howard Charles Gale and Alfred James Wilson each made a significant impact upon the church and people of the First Parish of Norwell, one in a short but active ministry of four years, the other in a long term ministry of 26 years. Both offer future ministers of this church a model of ministry that is a challenge to the mind and the heart and to physical and spiritual endurance. To match them in terms of the quality of their life and ministry is something that any minister would be proud to achieve. This minister has no illusions that he has yet matched them, but he finds them worthy of emulation and respect and is glad to honor and remember them on this All Souls Sunday 1991.
PART II (1947-1969)
In my first address I covered the period from 1916 to 1947 encompassing the ministries of Howard Charles Gale and Alfred James Wilson. In this section I shall attempt to give a brief accounting of the ministries of Herman Geertz, Napoleon W. Lovely, Victor Carpenter, Charles Engvall and John Kolbjornsen and along with some of the highlights of parish accomplishments.
Herman H. Geertz was 34 years old when he was called to be minister of the First Parish in Norwell on the 29th of December 1947. He was married and had two children, William and Hope, aged 4 and 2, and while here became father to a second daughter. This was the first time that there were children living in the Parsonage in more than 30 years, maybe even since the turn of the century. Herman graduated from Andover Newton Theological School, my alma mater, in 1942. He had served churches in Ellsworth, Maine and South Boston, and as a US Army Chaplain for two years during the war.
Herman Geertz had a hard act to follow after 26 years of ministry under Jimmy Wilson. He was a little on the shy side in comparison to Jimmy Wilson's easy going friendly British manner. But he fostered some important changes in the parish which later bore fruit. It is the wise custom in more and more UU churches that after a long ministry the church employ an interim minister for one to two years to provide a transition period of adjustment between the ending of the previous ministry and the beginning of a new ministry. Herman Geertz followed Jimmy Wilson only six months after the latter's retirement. Whatever he did in his brief five year ministry was compared to Jimmy Wilson and he always came up short in the mind's of those parishioners who had not yet let go of their previous pastor. It wasn't right and it wasn't fair because Herman Geertz was a good minister in his own right and deserved a chance to be accepted on his own merits.
Mr. Geertz was meticulous in terms of keeping a record of church events and ministerial activities. For example, he noted on Feb. 27, 1949, that David Turner and three other members of the Youth Group spoke at the Sunday Service on the theme of "Youth Faces the Future." We'll have to ask David Turner whether the future turned out to be anything like he anticipated in 1949.
On June 30, 1950 Herman Geertz recorded an event which nearly resulted in the destruction of our ancient New England meeting house. Some workmen were painting the steeple and "dropped a burning cigarette on the roof causing a blaze which had gained some headway before the fire department arrived. An area about 6 feet square was burned in the southern slope of the roof near the eaves." Luckily, there was "no damage to the interior of the church." In December of that same year formal notice was given of the placing of the memorial tablet in the church in memory of Horace T. and Faulkner Fogg.
Under Herman Geertz' ministerial leadership the church began to grow. Younger families started coming into the church with their children. The James Library was not big enough to accommodate the growing numbers and parishioners began thinking about the need for a parish house for church activities and meetings and additional Sunday School classes. There were some stresses and strains between newer and older members of the church about matters large and small. You catch a hint of this strain in a brief notation by the minister from June 1, 1951: "Donation of 50 cents each from a large number of people made possible the purchase of a mimeograph for parish use, the parish committee having expressed its unwillingness to invest in such a machine despite the high cost of printing the parish bulletin."
Divisions over lay leadership broke wide open the following April at the Annual Meeting. Herman Geertz records that...
...two members of the Parish Committee were not re-elected, younger
men being voted in in their places. The men's group, which has been
working hard to build up the church, felt that this change was
necessary for the spiritual health of the church, and the minister did
nothing to discourage this healthy democratic trend. (He goes on) It
was apparent, however, that the feelings of some of the older group
were deeply wounded, for nothing of this sort had transpired for half
a century. Yet it had to be done; the church is not the private
possession of any individual or group.
Because of this the church by-laws were eventually changed to limit the terms which people may serve on the Parish Committee. It was a move towards a more democratic process and the sharing of leadership responsibilities within the church. Herman Geertz helped to foster this important change, but in the process it cost him his ministry.
There were divisions within the parish about the wisdom and necessity of constructing a new parish house. Nevertheless a Building Survey Committee was formed, gave a preliminary report, and then was directed in December of 1952 to consult with an architect and to prepare specific proposals to be presented at a future open meeting. The following March the plans were put before the Parish Committee and met with "disapproval and skepticism of success." The following April an open meeting at the James Library viewed the plans and discussed methods for the raising of necessary funds. It is apparent that Herman Geertz was on the side of those who wanted to push forward with the building of a new parish house. He was coming into direct opposition with key leaders on the parish committee.It all came to a head on April 24, 1953. A special meeting of the Parish Committee, not previously announced, was held at the home of the chairman, James H. Barnard, the purpose being "to bring to the attention of the minister complaints that his work in the parish was not finding satisfaction." Mr. Barnard prefaced his remarks by saying, "We have never asked a minister to resign, but we are wondering if you are not considering resignation."
Two days later Mr. Gertz made the following notation, painful to report:
After careful consideration, the minister concluded that his
usefulness in Norwell was at an end. Accordingly he read his
resignation at the conclusion of the morning service. He suggested
that the Parish Committee had no moral right to press matters so far,
and in effect called upon the Parish to make the decision at the
Annual Meeting the next night. The minister was aware of certain
lapses in his work, but felt nevertheless that the criticisms were
unjust. In a community such as this, demands on a minister's time are
very great, and it is perhaps inevitable that work such as parish
calling should suffer. He could not help feeling that growing
opposition to the parish house, and to the proposal to use the Torrey
bequest for this purpose had an influence on the action of the Parish
Committee. Some older members of the church had evinced constant
opposition to the increased part younger members were taking in the
parish affairs, the proposal to build the Parish House being largely
the concern of the younger people. This attitude was well illustrated
in the remark of the Chairman, "We want new members, but we do not
want to lose the church." The minister could not help feeling that
this attitude did not reflect the spirit of our tradition.
Mr. Geertz' resignation was accepted at the Annual Meeting by a close vote, but he was granted permission to remain as minister until he could be settled in a new church. The following September, after failure to find another position, he was asked to cease his ministerial services. On the 10th of October 1953, with the calling of the Rev. N. W. Lovely to be the new minister, Mr. Geertz recorded that he "thought it advisable to leave the parsonage, although he had no prospects of another church....He and Mrs. Geertz, and their three children, left on this day, to depend upon the kindness of relatives for shelter." The first notation recorded by the new minister, Mr. Lovely, stated, "Quite uninformed of the situation and facts related above."
Mr. Geertz went on to serve the Unity Churh in N. Easton for a year and a half from April 1954 to Septtember 1, 1955. He was very well liked both as a preacher and a pastor. The main reason he left was that his wife no longer wanted him to be in the ministry, perhaps because of their unhappy experience in Norwell, and he was restless to try something else. In any event, he resigned from the ministry in N. Easton and from the ministry in general, and moved with his family to California to take up a position in teaching through the instrumentation of a sister who also lived in California. He taught English for a period of 9 to 10 years in Garfield High School in the Hispanic section of Los Angeles, made famous in the recent film "Stand By Me." During this time he did some part time supply preaching for several Unitarian Fellowships in the area. Herman Geertz died suddenly at age 50 in 1964 from a coronary occulsion. At the time of his death he was considering going back into the parish.
It is fair to say that the circumstances leading to Mr. Geertz having to leave Norwell were an unfortunate and unneccesary episode in the life of the parish and one of its ministers. Differences and disagreements were not handled in a fair, just and open manner. Things did not have to end the way they did. And certainly the prospective new minister should have been informed of the facts leading to the resignation of his predecessor. That would never happen today with the current procedures for Ministerial Settlement established by the UUA. It is discomforting to relate this portion of our recent history, but if we are going to bring our history up to date, as we ought, then let it be an honest accounting of that history.
Herman Geertz was a decent man and he was an inspiration to his children. His son William eventually followed his father into the ministry and is currently serving the First Church of Christ in Sandwich as a UCC minister. When he was in transit to his new parish his sister and brother-in-law stopped by the Parsonage in Norwell to see the old house where she lived during the five years of her father's ministry. I was glad to welcome them and hope it brought some resolution to a painful period in their father's life and ministry. What Herman Geertz began was finally completed in the ministry of his successor, Napoleon "Bill" Lovely. The new Parish House was dedicated on September 11, 1955 by the head of the Building Committee, Frank Macfarlane and the Chair of the Parish Committee, James Barnard, with a prayer offered by the minister. The new parish hall roof nearly collapsed during construction and a steel beam running the length of the ceiling had to be installed to insure structural support. It was done and Herman Geertz' dream was finally realized.
Bill Lovely came to Norwell after two years of study at the Graduate School of Education at Harvard. Prior to that he was the first minister of the newly formed Unitarian Church in San Antonio, Texas, and served as a chaplain in the army for four years during the war. Bill Lovely was a bright and talented minister with a flair for writing and liturgy. He published a book of poems, a reflection on the First Parish Covenant, and a small booklet of responsive readings and prayers. There was some controversy surrounding his calling as minister. Not only had he been divorced, which was a controversial matter in itself, especially for ministers, in the 1950's, but his new wife had been the wife of one of his former parishioners in Texas. To make matters even more controversial his former wife married the former husband of his new wife. The two couples met while he was minister in Texas, fell in love with one another's spouses, divorced happily and switched partners. First Parish in Norwell was apparently progressive and ahead of its time. They didn't let a controversial issue like divorce stop them from calling a good minister.
In 1958, after five years of a productive ministry, Bill Lovely got restless and accepted a call to be minister of the Unitarian church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. His two sons, Rupert and Brandoch Lovely, who were young men at the time, and did not live in the Norwell parsonage, followed their father into the ministry. Brandy was minister for a number of years at the Old Ship Church in Hingham and is currently minister in Pasadena, California. His brother has been minister in Palatine, Illinois for the past 25 years. Eventually, Bill Lovely was forced to retire from the ministry because of the onset of Parkinson's Disease. He died a few years after I began my ministry in Norwell.
Victor H. Carpenter, Jr. began his ministry in Norwell in January 1959 and was formally installed as minister on the 10th of May. He had been Student Minister at Christ Church in Dorchester, a Unitarian church now defunct, for two years while attending Harvard, and they ordained him after he graduated. He was young and full of energy and attracted more young people into the church. His preaching was in the social prophetic mode and generated much heated discussion after the service right out the door and into the parking lot. I believe he did a sermon on the "Better Red Than Dead"slogan that got the juices flowing and the tempers flaring.
Victor was to the left of most of his parishioners on social-political issues and his sermons were always a challenge to status quo conservative thinking. During his ministry the Adult Education Committee of the church founded the South Shore Community Forum. They brought in some big name speakers to the community like we did with the Fogg Lecture Series. The first speaker was famous Harvard theologian, Paul Tillich, who attracted a crowd of 350 people. The second speaker was the controversial pacifist and anti-war activist, Willard Uphaus, who some considered to be a communist sympathizer. It generated a lot of press for the Community Forum.
Victor was only minister here for two and a half years, but he made an impact upon a lot of lives, especially young people, and is fondly remembered by many. In 1962 he accepted a call to be minister to the Unitarian Church in Capetown, South Africa, right in the heart of apartheid country. Victor liked social challenges and this was as big a challenge as one could hope for. All of his ministries since have been urban centered ministries, 9 years in Philadelphia, 11 years at Arlington Street Church in Boston, and since 1988, minister of the First Unitarian Church in San Francisco.
Victor Carpenter's successor, the Rev. Charles A. Engvall, barely had a chance to establish a ministry and make an impact before he died suddenly at his summer home in Dublin, N.H. on Sept. 1, 1963, after having served here only one year. He was 55 years old. It was a terrible blow to his family and to the parish. He had been minister in Medford for 10 years prior to coming to Norwell. He had a background in journalism and communication and advised the AUA and the Mass. Council of Churches in radio and television productions. He was the first chair of the Greater Boston Chapter of the Unitarian Fellowship for Social Justice and had been instrumental in the organization of a Fair Housing Committee in Norwell. His wife, Esther Engvall, still resides in New Hampshire in Keene and is a member of the Peterborough, N.H. Unitarian Church.
The next minister, the Rev. John M. Kolbjornsen, began his ministry here in May 1964. He had an interesting background. He was born in Norway of Norwegian-American parents in 1924 and came to Staten Island, N.Y. with his family ten years later. He graduated from Harvard in 1945 and served as an Ensign in the US Navy. After doing graduate work at Geo. Washington University he entered the State Department and served as vice consul and attache in the US embassy in Copenhagen, from 1949-52. Then he entered Harvard Divinity School and while there served the Unitarian Church in Sharon, Mass. as Student Minister for one year, and then was ordained by them and served as minister for another three years before accepting a call to the UU Church in Williamsville, NY. Six years later he came to Norwell.
John has a special relationship to my wife and I. He was the minister who performed our marriage vows in 1967 at my first church in Middleboro, Mass. I never dreamed that two years later I would be his successor. John Kolbjornsen raised some theological issues with the congregation regarding orthodox Christian views of Jesus as the Christ versus a Unitarian view of Jesus as a man. He suggested that Unitarians in Norwell should not be required to affirm Jesus as the Christ or Messiah as they were required to do when they signed the membership covenant which at the time read: "In the love of truth, and in the Spirit of Jesus Christ, we unite for the worship of God, and the service of man." He advocated dropping the word "Christ" from the covenant. He was not successful. A few years later, at my first annual meeting as minister of the church, the same proposal, which I supported, was put to a vote and passed with only a couple of dissenting votes.
John Kolbjornsen's ministry was caught up in the fervor of the Civil Rights Movement and the Anti-Vietnam War Movement of the 1960's. He was one of many clergy, UU and others, who attended the famous March on Selma, when the Rev. James Reeb was killed. When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated he draped the door of the church in black to the ire of some upset parishioners. He took a strident anti-war stance in his sermons about the Vietnam War which led to divisionswithin the church. Rightly or wrongly, those who disagreed with him no longer felt welcome in the church. Perhaps it was a stubborn Norwegian streak in the minister, perhaps it was the turbulence of the times which rent many churches asunder, perhaps it was a lack of tolerance and understanding on both sides. Whatever the reasons, John Kolbjornsen resigned his ministry in Norwell and accepted a call to the First Unitarian Church of Sioux City, Iowa. In his final notation in the Minister's Record Book, dated August 23, 1968, he wrote:
The circumstances leading to his resignation as minister of this
church were complex and gave occasion to not a little bitterness,
making the last year of his ministry here painful for many. Hopeful
that the pain might be a vehicle for future good, and with gratitude
for many good times of the spirit....
John Kolbjornsen remained in full time ministry in Sioux City for a period of seven years and then moved to Portsmouth, N.H. with his wife Margaret. Margaret continued in her teaching profession and John took up teaching as well. He also did some pulpit supply and part-time interim ministries for the UUA. They recently retired to Peterboro, N.H. The brass sconces, which hang on both sides of the gallery clock were a gift to the parish by the Kolbjornsens, which they obtained on a trip to Norway. We put in candles and light them once a year during our Charistmas Eve Candlelight services in the spirit of love and peace and healing. I think the Kolbjornsens would be pleased to know they are so used each year for continuing "good times of the spirit."
The present minister of this church began his ministry in Norwell on April 1, 1969. By luck or by grace he has been here 23 years and can hardly believe that his ministry has touched portions of four decades in that period of time. How swiftly the years roll. And what has he learned from reviewing the history of his predecessors? That the ministry is a mixture of luck and grace as well as work and talent, and that like a marriage, some last a long time, others a short time, the reasons for it are complex, but the important thing is not the length of the relationship, but the quality of the relationships formed, and the love and values shared by all. Ministry, even in its prophetic demands, is the work of compassion, the capacity to care about the joys and the sorrows of those around us, and to respond out of that compassion.
On February 2nd 1992 we celebrated our 350th Anniversary with a historic service using costumes borrowed from the Plimoth Plantation. Victor Carpenter sent greetings and a charge to the congregation to remember their history and to learn from it. John Kolbjornsen shared in the service with the present minister and offered the Prayer of Rededication. Our 350th Anniversary year is a time to celebrate and embrace our history and our heritage, all of it, the good times and the bad, the sunshine and the shadows of what we are and have been.