Located at 17 Bozrah Street, across from Fitchville Pond, is the Bozrah Congregational Church, built in 1843. The congregation, originally the New Concord Ecclesiastical Society, was formed in 1737 within the town of Norwich. Bozrah became a separate town in 1786. The congregation had had two previous meetinghouses: the first meeting house was located on the east side of Bozrah Street, south of the present building; the second was built around 1770, on the west side of Bozrah Street, opposite the original building. The current church was built after two years of controversy over whether to repair the old meetinghouse or build a new one. The land for the building was donated by Asa Fitch. The church’s stonework was done by Nathaniel Rudd, a local mason, using granite provided by Elijah Abel from a quarry on Bashon Hill Road, and the building was constructed by Willimantic contractor Lloyd E. Baldwin.
Early Catholics in Woodbury were few in number and were subject to various ecclesiastical jurisdictions in the nineteenth century. While under the jurisdiction of Watertown, the cornerstone of a mission church was blessed on June 30, 1903, and the dedication was held on September 4, 1904. St. Teresa of Avila Church in Woodbury and St. John of the Cross Church in Middlebury were established together as a parish on March 1, 1916. The parochial seat was moved to Middlebury in 1922, but in 1955 St. Tereasa of Avila became an independent parish.
When I took a picture of the old Congregational Church, at in Willington on Wednesday, it was having some wok done (no doubt in response to this proposal)! The Congregational Church in Willington was established around 1728.
As described in the Tolland County Press (published in Stafford Springs) of October 12, 1876, p. 3:
THE NEW CHURCH. —One cold dreary evening during the past winter, the members of the Congregational society met together in the study of the old church to talk over the subject of building a new house of worship. A few were opposed to the project, but most of the members were heartily in favor of the proposed enterprise. Thus the long-needed work of building a new church was in embryo, which is now completed, and on Tuesday last was dedicated to the worship of Almighty God. Before giving an account of the dedication we will devote a brief space to a description of the edifice. At a subsequent meeting held in the early spring, it was voted to build, and nearly $1,000 was pledged by the people toward the enterprise. April 12th ground was broken for the building, on land generously donated by Mr. Geo. E. Robbins, and April 29th the corner stone was laid with religious ceremonies.
On Saturday, June 17th, the body of the main building was raised, and soon after the conference room. From the very beginning the work has progressed finely, everything seeming to work in the favor of the church and society. The main building is 36×46, and the conference room is 22×26, both built in Gothic style. A handsome tower rises from the center of the front end of the church, to the height of 61 feet. Near the top of the tower are four dormer windows, from which one has a fine commanding view of a wide expanse of country. Above the mam entrance is a triple window, which, surrounded by a neat display of architectural work, adds much to the beauty of the tower, which is surmounted by a neat vane. The main entrance is from the south, leading through a vestibule 12 feet square, into the audience room. This is neatly finished with open timbered roof, beautifully jetted with fancy brackets and scroll work. Tbe windows, which are of flicked glass, are finished with architraves. The ceiling is tinted with blue, while the walls are of light drab. The pulpit elevation is at tbe opposite end, with the orchestra on tbe left, both highly finished in oak and black walnut. The elegant railing around the latter, together with the breast-work in front of the slips, add much to the architectural beauty of the room. There are 46 slips, with a seating capacity of 230. The church is furnished with a fine pulpit set, including a communion table, bible stand, etc., from Baldwin Bros, of Springfield. In the orchestra is a superb organ of the Esty manufacture, the gift of E. T. Fitch, of New Haven. On its south wall is a handsome clock, donated by H. L. Wade, secretary of the Waterbury Clock Manufacturing Co., while the highly ornamented chandeliers, containing six lamps, also six side lamps, was the gift of L. G. Merrick, Esq. of Bristol, Conn. On Tuesday, Oct. 10th, the new edifice was dedicated to the worship of Almighty God. The weather was everything desirable, in perfect harmony with the interesting occasion. The church was filled to its utmost.
The Congregational Church merged with the Willington Baptist Church in 1911 to form The Federated Church of Willington. The congregation then moved to the Baptist meeting house across the Green. From 1926 to 1974 the old Congregational Church was used as the Town Hall, so the former church is also known as the Willington Old Town Hall. The church’s bell, purchsed from the First Church in Stafford in 1876, was removed during World War II to allow airplane spotters to used the tower. Instead of being placed back in the tower, it was mounted on a pedestal outside the building.
In 1908 the Salvation Army constructed a Military Gothic-style Corps (church) building, known as the Citadel, at 661 Main Street in Manchester. The Salvation Army ministry in Manchester had been established in 1887. In 2001 the church planned to demolish the building and construct a new one. There were objections from local preservationists, who did not want to see the building, unique in the state, destroyed. The Salvation Army then came up with a new plan that would renovate the existing Citadel and attach a modern addition for a chapel. The cost was doubled, but the Citadel was saved. The new chapel was opened in 2003.
The third oldest surviving Episcopal Church building in Connecticut is the former St. Matthew’s Church in East Plymouth. The church was built by a group of members of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Plymouth who lived in the eastern part of town and were displeased in 1790 when the church decided to build a new meetinghouse in Plymouth Hollow, now Thomaston, which was then in the far western part of Plymouth. St. Matthew’s Church was built in 1792 with support from Episcopalians from the neighboring towns of Bristol, Harwinton and Burlington. The largest part of the original membership of St. Matthew’s came from the northwestern section of Bristol. Many Episcopalians had settled there near Chippens Hill and wanted a church nearby. St. Matthew’s Church is a vernacular building, in many ways similar to contemporary Congregational meetinghouses. A rural community grew up around the church, which is adjacent to the East Plymouth Cemetery. The history of the building can be found in the History of the Town of Plymouth, Connecticut (1895), compiled by Francis Atwater:
The church was built in 1792, but was unfinished inside, for at a meeting held March 5, 1793, Isaac W. Shelton and Stephen Graves were appointed a committee to “lay out the money, and procure somebody to do off the inside of the church.” And again, at a meeting held at the church December 31, 1793, the following committee was appointed to “examine and find the most convenient way of doing off the church and make report at the next meeting:” Noah Andrews, Ira Dodge, Isaac W. Shelton, Calvin Woodin, and Timothy Sperry; at which meeting held January 13, 1794, it was voted to “finish the church in the following manner: to make a broad alley through the center of the lower floor, and finish the sides with pews in the most convenient manner, also to finish the gallery by making two rows of seats round the whole square, and a row of pews across the south end.” It was voted that the church be called St. Matthew’s at a meeting held October 19, 1795. On November 10, 1794, it was voted to adopt the constitution of the Protestant Episcopal Church of Connecticut, and Caleb Matthews, the parish clerk, was instructed to attend the convention at Cheshire and request the Right Rev. Dr. Seabury to consecrate the new church.
In 1795, “the church was consecrated by Bishop Samuel Jarvis, second Bishop of Connecticut.” Various changes were made to the building over the years, as again quoted from Atwater (in 1895):
When first erected the building stood in front of its present location with its entrance at the south end, but in 1842, or soon after, was turned around and placed where it now is. The old square pews were removed about 1830.
[. . .] In 1871 or ’72, the church was remodeled, a chancel arranged, the old towering pulpit taken down, and doors taken off the small pews, also a ceiling made to reach across from one gallery to another. There is no chimney, and when a stove was put in the people thought that no one could speak in such close atmosphere. It used to be a large and full congregation, but has dwindled down to half a dozen old decrepit ladies, and service is seldom performed there.
The former church is now a private residence.
Three Hierarchs Greek Orthodox Chapel opened in 1995 at 28 Dog Lane in Storrs. Erected in an authentic Byzantine style, the Chapel’s interior has icons and frescoes painted by artists from Greece. The Chapel is part of the Center for Hellenic Studies Paideia at the University of Connecticut. The Center also includes the adjacent Makedonia building, built in 1997, where courses are offered on Greek and Byzantine language, history and culture. These are the first and only Greek Orthodox Church and Center for Hellenic Studies in an American State University.
The former St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Middlefield (was built in 1862 with support from the Church of the Holy Trinity in Middletown. There were never many Episcopalians in Middlefield and the church had closed by 1911. The neighboring Levi E. Coe Library acquired the Carpenter Gothic structure in 1920 and renamed it Library Hall. A modern addition now connects the two structures.