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NO. R-69. JOINT RESOLUTION COMMEMORATING THE BICENTENNIAL OF THE FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH OF BERLIN.

(J.R.S. 33)

Offered by: Senator Doyle of Washington County, Senator Cummings of Washington and Senator Spaulding of Washington County.

Whereas, in 1798, leading citizens of Berlin, including Simpson Stewart, Zachariah Perrin and Aaron Strong, recognized that the growing town of Berlin was in need of both spiritual guidance and a place to worship and conduct town meetings, and

Whereas, responding to this crucial need, Simpson Stewart opened his home to the community where the church's first meeting was held October 13, 1798, and

Whereas, at this historic religious and community occasion, the Rev. E. Lyman of Brookfield sanctified the newly-organized congregation as the First Congregational Church of Berlin by using the confessions of faith and church covenant that the young prospective minister, James Hobart, had prepared, and

Whereas, a month later on November 7, 1798, James Hobart, a Dartmouth graduate, was ordained and officially inducted as the congregation's first spiritual leader, and

Whereas, the church's first edifice was erected at the top of Turner Hill and opened in 1800, and

Whereas, this fine structure also served as the town meeting hall, and

Whereas, until 1829, when the affairs of the town and the church were separated, and thus ending the municipality's responsibility for the minister's salary, the Rev. Hobart continued to lead the congregation, and

Whereas, even after stepping down from the pulpit in Berlin, Rev. Hobart continued to preach throughout his long 96-year life, and

Whereas, following a fire in 1838, a new and more commodious church, seating 250 worshipers, was constructed near Berlin Corners, designed to meet the needs of a growing congregation, and

Whereas, one special event of this bicentennial year was the placement of a beautiful new steeple atop the church's roof, and

Whereas, on Sunday, October 11, 1998, a magnificent and moving service was held in commemoration of the church's bicentennial, and

Whereas, in order to preserve the church's unique history in the life of Berlin, Sally Chartrand, as researcher, and Nancy Tripp, as editor, completed a book entitled, "The First Two Hundred Years: an Updated History of Our Church at Berlin Corner," now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly congratulates the First Congregational Church of Berlin as it commemorates its bicentennial anniversary, and be it further

Resolved: That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to Rev. Dereen Vanderlinde-Abernathy at the First Congregational Church in Berlin.