From whatever direction one approaches Harwich Center – North, South, East or West – one can see from some distance the graceful spire of First Church rising above the tree tops.
And so it has been for over one hundred and twenty-five years, for it was in 1854, before the Civil War, that the addition of the 100 foot spire transformed the rather plain third meeting house built in 1832 into our present edifice of charm and beauty.
It was many years before this, in 1747, that a small group of men and the newly chosen minister, Edward Pell, covenanted together in the customary “Congregational Way” to organize the “Church of Christ in the second precinct of Harwich.”
The minister’s pay was to be 16 bushels of rye, 10 bushels of wheat, 100 bushels of corn, 16 cords of wood and 20 cords of pine wood.This first meeting house was an unpretentious, un-plastered structure, twelve pews and benches.
A second meeting house built in 1792, outlived its usefulness in forty years and was replaced by the third.
Perhaps it is of equal interest that this church is directly connected to the first church in Plymouth, for its earliest members were from the Eastham congregation of people who moved there in 1644. Over the years since 1854, there have been changes, remodeling additions and yet, the church still conveys the spirit and reflects the style of its historic past.
Some hundred years ago, the ladies of the Sewing Circle had a chapel constructed for religious and social purposes which today is our Parish House. Across the street, the parsonage given by Sarah Brooks in 1899 has been remodeled into space for offices and other activities. In early times, people were referred to as “old comers” and “new comers.”
We have “Blue Book” of our history from 1747 to 1997. To learn more about First Congregational Church of Harwich’s history, click this link.
Today First Church includes a healthy mix of both old and new comers. Many are retirees from various parts of the country and young couples as well. We invite all “comers“ to share in the activities, the spirit, vision and the history of First Church that its spire may long continue to be a landmark-an inspiration reflecting the enduring aspirations and highest hopes of all who participate and worship here.
Join us in our vision, that with God’s help we strive to minister to all generations, to advance discipleship, and to serve the community. Reflect on our past, become a part of our future as we celebrate First Church’s 275th Anniversary in 2022.