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Central Congregational Church to celebrate 150th anniversary

Central Congregational Church, 109 Commonwealth Avenue in Attleboro Falls, will celebrate its 150th anniversary on May 4 and May 5.

Central Congregational Church had its beginning in March of 1874.  This was an era of great change and only nine years after the Civil War. At that time, the people of what would later become Attleboro Falls had to travel by foot or horseback to Attleboro – or the “Old Town” section of North Attleboro for congregational worship. This was not an easy task. A local church had been desired for quite a long time. On March 19, 1874, a Congregational Church was formed calling itself Central Congregational Church of Attleboro (North Attleboro did not separate from Attleboro until 1887).

A movement formed to erect a church building and was pushed forward vigorously by Pastor Handel N. Daggett and others. The old village burial ground was the site selected, located behind the present church building. It was necessary to relocate some of the bodies interred there.  Needless to say, it was controversial, and the consent of relatives had to be obtained. In only five weeks from the formal recognition of the church organization, a small group of men finished all arrangements and work was started on the church building on May 5, 1874. The building was completed within a year. It is interesting to note that in 1874, the church was built at a cost of around $17,000. It would be millions of dollars today.

The public is invited to attend a celebration of the church’s rich history. A musical celebration will begin in the church sanctuary on Saturday, May 4. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the program begins at 7 p.m. The musical program includes the church’s own choir members and musicians, plus soloists and special guests. Dave Valerio, the church’s music director, has written fresh new arrangements in a variety of musical genres. Selections will include gospel, Dixieland, pop, reggae, and R&B. The concert will be uplifting, spiritual, and fun. There is no cost to attend but donations will be gratefully accepted.

In addition to the musical program, individuals from various local agencies will express a ‘Word of Appreciation’ for the church’s longstanding, extensive community involvement. Representatives include Anne Marie Fleming, North Attleboro’s Board of Health director; Joan Badger, Board of Health/Lenore’s Pantry human services coordinator; Leslie Scales, executive director of the Attleboro Area Inter-faith Collaborative and Kelly Fox from the Greater Attleboro Area Council for Children /Annual Christmas is for Kids Event.

Various local groups and programs in the greater Attleboro area have benefited from the church’s missions, including fuel assistance programs, soup kitchens and Kids Day. The program will conclude about 8:15 p.m. and refreshments will be served in the Vestry, in the lower part of the church.

On Sunday, May 5, the celebration will continue, beginning with a 10 a.m. worship service. Following the service, cake, coffee, and other refreshments will be served. Another highlight of the weekend will be the unveiling of a time capsule that was placed behind the church’s cornerstone in 1974. It is truly a mystery.

The church building is wheelchair accessible, using the main Vestry entrance in the church parking lot. We also have many designated handicapped parking spaces, as well as an elevator with trained personnel to assist in getting folks upstairs to the Sanctuary. All are invited to attend some or all of the Celebration Weekend.

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