Congregational Church of Westborough kicks off 300th anniversary

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Congregational Church of Westborough kicks off 300th anniversary
Catherine Achorn, the chair of the Congregational Church of Westborough’s 300th anniversary committee, comes in the guise of Hannah Breck Parkman to announce some of the events planned. (Photo/Maureen Sullivan)

WESTBOROUGH – Hannah Breck Parkman marveled as she wandered about the sanctuary at the Congregational Church on Jan. 21.

Such strange wonders for someone who had traveled three centuries.

“I wish Rev. Parkman could see this church,” she said.

She recalled the congregation’s previous location, where the Rev. Ebenezer Parkman would often have to deal with a leaky roof, vermin on the floor and very drafty rooms.

But now? A large, well-lit and well-heated sanctuary, with a choir, women deacons and a woman minister.

Of course, there was no woman named Hannah Parkman who magically appeared. Hannah Parkman was portrayed by Catherine Achorn, the chair of the church’s 300th anniversary committee. She came in period dress to announce some of the events planned for the church’s big celebration.

The schedule

On Monday, Feb. 5, at 7:15 p.m., the Women’s Fellowship Group will be sponsoring a program open to the whole community in the vestry (fellowship hall) of the church, presented by Tom Morgan, “300 Years and Counting.” He will give a presentation about the church’s beginnings, including pictures of how it’s changed over the years. 

The official kickoff will be on Sunday, Feb. 11, following the church’s 10 a.m. service. There will be a pancake brunch and a skit with some of the church’s younger members.

On Wednesday, Feb. 14, the church will conduct a special Ash Wednesday service in the Parkman chapel. This space houses the original pulpit used by Ebenezer Parkman in the 1700s and his Bible. The Parkman chapel dimensions are the same as the original meeting house.

On Sunday, March 3, there will be special communion service with the deacons – a throwback to colonial times when deacons would take communion on behalf of the entire congregation.

On Sunday, March 17, after the 10 a.m. service, church members plan to pack 30,000 meals for the Worcester County Food Bank.

Achorn said there are many activities either planned or in the planning stages. This includes the Founders Day celebration on Sunday, Oct. 27, at 3 p.m. This is to commemorate the first service at the church on Oct. 28, 1724. Past ministers and employees, town officials and state officials have been invited.

The church will also stage its 68th annual Evergreen Christmas Fair on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

First Congregational will also take part in townwide activities such as Main Street trick-or-treating and the Winter Stroll.

Achorn added that special music programs are scheduled for Easter and Christmas.

The Congregational Church of Westborough, United Church of Christ, is at 57 West Main St. For program updates and other information, visit https://uccwestboro.org/.

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