First Congregational Church of Boylston
Friday, December 15, 2017

Book 2-To Judge the Future

Book Two

""TO JUDGE THE FUTURE"
"I know of no way of
judging the future,
but by the past."
Patrick Henry
by
WILLIAM O. DUPUIS
CHAPTER ONE - REV. JOHN E. MORGAN

Of Welch ancestry, John Ellsworth Morgan was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania on May 29, 1906. In his formative years, he was encouraged to become a minister especially by his grandmother.

He attended the University of Maine and the Bangor Seminary. Returning home, he sought employment at the Scranton Life Insurance Co. While on a church outing, he noticed a lovely young girl who was standing on the bus. Chivalrously he offered her his seat, she accepted, and thus began the relationship between John Morgan and Alice Jones Welher. They were married in the Kingston, Pennsylvania Presbyterian Church on October 12, 1938.

Mr. Morgan's first call to the ministry was by the Boylston Congregational church where he was ordained in 1937. He and his new bride later settled in the parsonage on Scar Hill Road where they were blessed with two daughters: Joanna and Rebecca.

The new minister found a relatively new church building and an accompanying mortgage which had to be paid. He was greatly admired as a preacher, delivering his sermons in a clear voice and with excellent diction. He was fearless in defending and speaking out when principles were threatened or brought into question.

Mr. Morgan's pastorate covered the most turbulent historical period - World War II. As the world shuttered under the heel of Fascism and millions of people perished in the greatest conflict of all time, Boylston's shepherd stood as the symbol of the church's spiritual strength. He helped to guide his flock through the trials of war: the death of three Boylston men, the wounding of countless others, and the agony of those who became prisoners of war. He led his congregation in prayer for all those serving their country, gave solace to the families of the slain and hope to all whose sons and daughters were serving in Europe and the Pacific. The man was most definitely up to the challenge!

John Morgan possessed a kind and earnest character. He was hardworking, good natured, always concerned with the welfare of his flock which he kept uppermost in his thoughts and actions. He was justifiably proud of the lovely sanctuary and the resonant Flagg Memorial organ and when he left Boylston, the burdensome mortgage had been paid off - an accomplishment which gave him great satisfaction.

He left Boylston in 1945 to assume the pastorate of the Church of Christ in East Walpole, Massachusetts. He subsequently shepherded the churches of Walliston (1953-1964), Sherbourne (1964-1972), and finally Charleston (1972-1978). He then retired and took up residence in nearby Shrewsbury. He continued to do some part-time ministry to the Trinity Church in Fitchburg whose congregation was mainly of German descent.

John Morgan passed to his reward in 1980 after a life spent in the Lord's service. His charming wife, Alice, still speaks of him with great love and admiration as do those members of the Boylston church who remember his gentle ministry to them.

On the occasion of the Boylston church's 200th anniversary in 1943, Rev. Morgan published an Historical Review, in which he chronicled the two centuries of that institution's past accomplishments. The theme of the sermons which formed the basis for this book was "The Vanished Past and the Expected Future". It is an admirable account of the time between the church's foundation in 1743 and 1943. The author was faithful to the historical records then available to him and his presentation showed the extent of his deep attachment to his first parish. It is now counted among the major research sources for the history of the Boylston church.
 
CHAPTER TWO - ROBERT JEFFREY MACLEOD
Boylston's eighteenth pastor was born April 27, 1918 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the son of Neil C. and Mary Gray MacLeod. After attending local schools, he traveled to Marietta College in Ohio where he received his Bachelor's degree in 1942. Upon graduation, he was accepted at the Andover-Newton Theological School. He completed his academic work there in 1946.
 
With Mr. Morgan's resignation, the local church was in the process of searching for a new pastor. The young divinity student was asked to supply the church with his services in the Fall of 1945. Impressed by his fine preaching and friendly manner, the church called him to ordination and on March 8, 1946, the 28 year old Robert MacLeod became pastor of the Congregational church in Boylston.
 
The new pastor's salary was a modest $3000 a year plus housing. Unfortunately, the so-called Bigelow Parsonage, built in 1873 on Scar Hill Road, had become inadequate and so was sold by the church trustees. Mr. MacLeod lived with Ernest and Hazel Fuller until his marriage to Nancy Fay on October 17, 1949.
 
Meanwhile, plans were under way to build a new parsonage next to the church. Ground was broken in September, 1949 with Erland Ekbloom serving as chairman of the Building Committee and Winston Lund the contractor. On September 24, 1950, the new structure was dedicated with a open house in the afternoon and a prayer service in the evening. Rev. and Mrs. MacLeod moved into the parsonage where they lived a happy family life.
 
Rev. MacLeod was assisted by a group of dedicated deacons. Men like Clayton Cory, George Boyden, Ernest Fuller and Alfred Brousseau. On June 8, 1948, Calvin H. Andrews was made Deacon Emeritus after serving 50 years in that position - a first in the history of the Boylston church.
 
The minister was a busy man on Sunday mornings. After conduction Sabbath services at the church in the Center, he rushed to the Morningdale Chapel for a second service scheduled for 12:30. The 33 year old Chapel had served the church members in the southern section of town very well over the years. It even ran a thriving Sunday School for neighborhood children. Some church members in the Center believed that everyone should attend a single service there but the Morningdale worshipers held fast.
Rev. MacLeod created a minor sensation when he introduced the General Confession as part of the order of worship. Some of the parishioners argued that since they never sinned, they should not take part in this ceremony. The minister did not remove the controversial segment of worship, and the issue soon disappeared. Mr. MacLeod was well respected and his preaching style widely admired. A ministerial colleague once remarked that the Boylston minister's style was "simple, sincere and always contained a definite message".
The Boylston church struggled through the post-war years with a frugal budget that often contained small deficits. Since the financial atmosphere of the entire country was poor, it was natural that bad economic times were reflected in the church's finances. Attendance was good - on a typical Sunday, 94 people attended the service at the church in the Center and 39 at the Chapel making a total of over 100.
 
The MacLeods were a popular couple and were often involved in both church and civic affairs. Mr. MacLeod was understandably proud of the Men's Club, the Ladies Benevolent Society and the Ladies Aid Group. He remembers the year when he was asked to be the MC for one of Harry Souci's legendary minstrel shows. The clergyman appeared on stage in his kilt, with a bushy beard and spoke in what he terms "a Glaswegian immigrant's" accent.
After a fruitful pastorate, Rev. MacLeod left Boylston in 1951 to accept a call to the South Congregational Church of Newport, N.H. In 1956, he became pastor of the First Congregational Church of Stoughton; in 1962 he went to the Central Congregational Church of Attleboro and in 1970, to the Central Congregational Church of Newburyport. He retired in 1983 and resides with his wife in Milbury. Since 1985, he has served as Minister of Visitation for the church in Auburn.

CHAPTER THREE - FREDERICK BELCHER COOK
In a statement presented to an Ecclesiastical Council of the Worcester Central Association of Congregational Christian Churches in January, 1952, Rev. Frederick Cook summed up the essence of his ministerial vocation:
I am certain that there is no more important field of endeavor for I am certain that people need to know God...I am certain also that God depends upon human beings to help Him reach individuals and to help Him develop a Christian Society.
 
His was a calling which began within his own family circle. Born on January 20, 1901 in Petersham, Massachusetts, the son of Allen B. and Emma Shepardson Cook, he was nurtured in a thoroughly Christian atmosphere.
 
His family moved frequently yet he managed to find in every church he attended, ministers and Sunday School teachers who, in his words, "helped me to find a place in the life of the church".
 
He attended the University of Massachusetts where he was active in the Student Christian Association and where he made his decision to become a minister of the Gospel. He followed his graduation, then enrolled in Oberlin Theological Seminary in Ohio where he received a degree of Divinity in 1928. In that same year, he married Lallange Evelyn Cauthen of Lancaster, South Carolina, and was called to the Congregation Church of Gypsum, Ohio.
 
Gypsum's congregation was a blend of rural farmers and mill workers and at one time, his congregation encompassed over 20 different Protestant denominations. His three children were born in Gypsum:
 

Carol Elaine, born December 5, 1929
Robert Bradford, born April 13, 1932 (d.1938)
William Berry, born April 13, 1932
 
In 1937, he accepted a call to the Congregational Church of Brownshelm, Ohio and in 1941 to the Congregational Church of Covington, Ohio. In 1947, he was chosen as Field Secretary for the Pennsylvania Conference of Congregational Churches, headquartered in Milroy, Pennsylvania. The position included responsibility for Christian Education, Pilgrim Fellowship, Stewardship and Audio-Visual Aids.
 
In January, 1952, he was ordained for the Boylston Congregational Church succeeding the Rev. MacLeod. Mr. Cook served during difficult times. The Korean Conflict began in 1951 and several of his flock were part of that "police action". It was also during this time that the United States, still in the grips of the Cold War, became involved in Southeast Asia.
 
The new minister found a vital and active church in Boylston where the spiritual life was healthy but the financial picture always a struggle. His own salary was $4100 plus the use of the parsonage and car expenses. When he left, the salary had risen to $4800, hardly a princely sum.
 
The Boylston church boasted numerous organizations: the Ladies' Benevolent Society, The Young Women's Social Club, the Morningdale Chapel Ladies' Aid and the Inner Circle. Youth ministries were divided along age groups with a Sunday School that boasted well over 200 participants plus staff.
 
In 1958, the church purchased the home of George Boyden to the east of the Meeting House. The structure was moved to a Central Street location in order to add needed area to the church property.
 
By 1961, the need for a Parish center had become a major concern and a committee was appointed to investigate the church's needs and the available resources.
 
Mr. Cook proved to be a kind and dedicated pastor. He was concerned with the welfare of all his flock and truly lived the creed he had outlined for the Church Council.
 

So, as I come to the pulpit of this church, I trust that God will aid me in using the abilities and opportunities He has given me to help individuals live lives which are abundant here on earth and eternal in the world beyond...
 
Rev. Cook left Boylston in 1962 to accept a call to the Congregational Church of Pelham, N.H. He retired in 1966 to Cape Cod where he had built a home. He remained active in Craigville community activities and did pastoral work in various area churches.
 
In the spring of 1980, he and his wife moved to Prestonburg,Kentucky. Mr. Cook had been diagnosed with cancer and wished to be close to his son William who was a physician.
 
Lallange died suddenly on October 15, 1980 and was followed by her husband on February 26, 1981. They are both interred in the Centerville cemetery on Cape Cod.
 
To paraphrase John the Evangelist (John 10:10 & 17:3), Rev. Frederick Cook lived a life that was abundant here on earth - a life of such quality that it did indeed last into eternity.


CHAPTER FOUR - H. MILTON BARTLETT
Herman Milton Bartlett was born in Manchester, N.H., the son of Norman Henry and Jennie Viola Jenness Bartlett on June 23, 1931. Mr. and Mrs. Bartlett were living in Walpole, Mass. at the time, but decided to go "home" for the birth of their child. Rev. Bartlett has since taken great pride in proclaiming himself a New Hampsherite.
 
He was baptized "Herman": for his paternal grandfather but when some confusion arose about the many Hermans in the family, his parents began to use his second name Milton. He attended the public schools in Walpole and spent much of his leisure time helping out at the United Church in that community. He felt a strong call to serve the church when he enrolled in Northeastern University as an Electrical Engineering major.
 
The young student changed to the Liberal Arts program, majoring in Sociology with a minor in Psychology and Education. He graduated in 1953 and entered Andover Newton Theological School in the Fall. He received his degree of Divinity in 1958 and returned in 1976 for his Doctorate in Ministry.
 
His first ministerial position was at the Park Congregational Church in Worcester where he served as Minister of Youth for 1954 to 1957 and was ordained to the Ministry of the Gospel in 1958 while serving as Associate Pastor of the West Medford Congregational Church. In July, 1958, he was called to the Rockdale Congregational Church in Northbridge and the following year, to the Union Congregational Church of Oakville, Ct.
 
He married the former Janice Irene Haskins in 1957 in Worcester. Mrs. Bartlett returned to her college studies after her family was sufficiently grown and obtained her Bachelor's degree at Worcester State College and later her Master's in Education. The couple are blessed with five children: Jennie Elizabeth, Jonathan Milton, Jodie Irene, Jeffrey Haskins, Jamie Claire.
 
In 1962, Rev. Bartlett received a call from the church in Boylston, succeeding Rev. Frederick Cook. While pastor, he also served in the Greater Worcester Area Council of Churches on the Pastoral Services Committee; the Protestant Committee on Scouting, and the Pastoral Counseling Center Advisory Board. He also served as Protestant Chaplain for several summers, for Treasure Valley Boy Scouts, Camp Putnam and the Boys' Club Camp. He was also appointed Protestant Chaplain at the Worcester County Hospital.
 
In 1962, the Study Committee which had been investigating the need for a Parish Center, recommended the purchase of the house of Dr. Joseph Millin who had offered his home to Rev. Bartlett within a week of the new minister's arrival. The house was converted into the "Christian House" which contained offices for the pastor and the staff as well as accommodations for grades 1 to 8 of the Sunday School. Nursery and Kindergarten classes were held at the Morningdale Chapel. Interestingly, the Christian House was built in the early 1800's and served for a time as a tavern, "The Abbott Inn".
 
The large tract of land that was part of the Millin property was developed as an outdoor recreational facility in which the church held Camp Pilgrim, a day camp in the summer months.
 
Mr. Bartlett supervised changes in the sanctuary of the church including the rearrangement of sanctuary furnishings which gave a modified divided Chancel configuration.
 
During Rev. Bartlett's pastorate, the Boylston church was fortunate to have the services of a number of dedicated Christian Educators including Michael and Sally McCain who were later to become missionaries to Turkey.
 
On December 17, 1967, the church inaugurated the celebration of its 225th anniversary. The many activities culminated on September 29, 1968 with a special service and buffet dinner. Former pastors and clergymen from neighboring communities attended.
 
Rev. Bartlett left the Boylston church in 1970 to accept the Directorship of the Main South Neighborhood Center of the Worcester Community Action Council. In September 1971, he began Counseling training at Worcester State Hospital and accepted Interim positions at numerous churches. Thus was begun a unique form of ministry, the Interim Clergy of the Central Area.
 
During Rev. Bartlett's 8 years in Boylston, he greatly enhanced the church's youth programs and helped to develop the new facilities which the church was able to acquire during this period and before. He had helped his flock to face the difficulties of the Viet Nam era with its upheaval and division, with understanding and Christian compassion.
 
CHAPTER FIVE - HAROLD E. CRAW
 
In a booklet prepared in early 1970 which served as an introduction to the Boylston Church for prospective ministers, the anonymous author penned these words:
 

"We are seeking a man who will inspire all age levels and at the same time remain a friendly person...We expect good communications between our Pastor and church groups."
 
Anyone who knew Rev. Harold "Pappy" Craw must admit that these words seem to have been written with him in mind.
 
Harold E. Craw was born in Schenectady, N. Y. on September 23, 1905, the son of Frank D. and Edna Florence Van Wie Craw. His elementary schooling was taken in South Glen Falls, N. Y. as was his secondary education. He attended Weslyan College where he was a member of the Psi Epsilon Fraternity. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1929.
 
Answering the call to ministry, he enrolled in the Hartford Theological Seminary Foundation and was awarded a Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1934. In that same year, he was ordained by the Naugatuck Valley Association of Congregational Churches of Waterbury, Ct. His marriage to Janet Coffeen on November 17th crowned an already eventful year.
 
Janet Craw is a graduate of the Emma Willard School, Russell Sage College, and received an M.A. from the Hartford Seminary Foundation. The couple has three children: Cornelia, Katrinka, and Jeffrey.
 
Mr. Craw held a number of pastorates between 1934 and 1963. They include an Assistant Pastorate in the Berlin Connecticut Congregational Church and one in the First Church in Waterbury, Connecticut. His first pastorate was in Danielson, Ct. at the Westfield Congregational Church.
 
In 1963 he was appointed Director of Christian Education and Youth Work for the Chicago Congregational Union which served 85 churches and institutions. He went back to parish ministry, accepting the pastorates of several churches in Connecticut including Danbury and Meriden.
 
In 1970 he was called to assume the leadership of the Congregational Church in Boylston. The association with the church and the community was to prove one of the most fortuitous in both their histories.
 
The Boylston church in 1970 boasted a membership of 375 out of a town population of 3500. This was down slightly from a 1965 high of 425 members. There were 7 church organizations as well as Boards of Deacons and Deaconesses, and committees from music to stewardship. The Christian Education program had 12 teachers and 119 students enrolled in Nursery to grade 8. The financial picture was sound with a 100% rate of stewardship and a budget in 1969 of over $22,000.
 
Almost immediately, "Pappy" and Janet became two of the most popular and well-liked people in Boylston. Both were involved in community endeavors with "Pappy" appointed the chaplain of the Fire Department in 1971. He was honored by the local American Legion with the Outstanding Citizen Award. He and his wife bought a vitality, a youthfulness to the church that affected all of its members. He was easy to spot, even in a crowd, with his bright red hat and cheery smile that was more eloquent than most sermons.
 
He established a remarkable friendship in 1974 with the new pastor of St. Mary of the Hills church, Rt. Rev. Msgr. Charles E. Lenk. It was the beginning of Ecumenism in Boylston.
 
In 1975, Rev. Craw decided that his task in Boylston was complete and he accepted a call to a small church in Acworth, New Hampshire. His farewell was an emotional one for he and his wife had endeared themselves not only to the members of the Congregational church but to people of every faith in Boylston.
 
Within a few years, "Pappy" left the Granite State and became pastor of the Second Congregational Church in Middle Haddam, Ct. He has retired several times but always manages to return to his first love - the ministry of the Gospel.
 
In a letter written in March, 1992, "Pappy" expressed his feelings about Boylston and her people.
 
"We are impressed by the enthusiasm of the people and by the substantial numbers of young people who are involved in the parish....First Church is a parish of loyal and devoted people, with a real sense of family, one which strengthened and encouraged us...Our association with the Boylston Fire Department complemented our ministry in a special way. I am honored to be their chaplain for life!"
 
Rev. Craw left and indelible mark on Boylston as an example of a caring, compassionate and friendly minister whose smile could encompass every person he met.


CHAPTER SIX - RICHARD L. SNYDER
Rev. Harold Craw tendered his resignation as pastor of the Boylston Church on April 3, 1975 to become effective on August 31st of that year. He cited his desire to enter into semi-retirement, having, as he put it, achieved his allotted "three score years and ten".
 
As is customary, the church elders convened a Search Committee headed by Moderator Kenneth Engvall. Meanwhile, Dr. David H. Reinke of Leicester was appointed Interim Pastor to begin his duties on September 1st. Questionnaires were studied, meetings held and the age-old process finally selected Richard L. Snyder to be the new Pastor.
 
Born in Philadelphia on June 16, 1918, he attended local schools. In 1940, he obtained his A.B. from Oberlin College. He went to Columbia University where he was awarded a Master's Degree in 1941. That same year he married Sarah (Sally) Atkinson, also an Oberlin graduate, in a Quaker ceremony. They have three children: Leigh Robert, Margaret, and David.
 
He entered Union Theological Seminary in New York City and received an M.A. in Divinity in 1943. He has since done more study at Union (1950-51) and later training in human relations and organizational development.
 
Richard was ordained in New York City in 1943 and accepted ministry as pastor of the Church in Freyburg, Maine (1943-44); served as Chaplain in the Navy (1944-46) and again from 1952-53. In 1946, he became pastor of the Congregational church in Grey, Maine and in 1948, pastor of the Church in Milford, New Jersey.
 
He was appointed Minister of Education for the First Congregational Church of Madison, Wisconsin and held that position from 1951 to 1955. He accepted a call to become Associate pastor of the Payson Park Church in Belmont, MA. where he remained for two years. He then moved to Saugatuck Congregational Church in Westport, Ct. as Associate Pastor and left there in 1963 to accept the position of Secretary for Adult Education for the United Church of Christ, Board of Homeland Ministries. In 1969, he accepted a call to become pastor of the Groveland Congregational Church in Groveland, MA.
 
He accepted the pastorate of the Boylston Congregational Church in January, 1976 and was officially installed on May 16, 1976 with numerous members of the clergy present including the pastor of St. Mary of the Hills church in Boylston, Rt. Rev. Msgr. Charles Lenk.
 
Richard Snyder came to Boylston bearing impressive credentials. He had been quite active in community affairs in the various locales where he served and is the author of numerous articles for church periodicals. He is also the author of the United Church Curriculum course, "Jesus of Nazareth", and of the accompanying book, Reuel Makes a Decision.
 
Rev. Snyder, in a statement published in October, 1975, immediately after his acceptance of the pastorate, outlined his thoughts on the ministry. He stated that above all, he valued the ministry of the members of the church.
 
As a pastor I am a member of the church I serve and accept the members' ministry even as they accept mine. We are ministers together, each one called to serve as he or she is able.
 
The new pastor was committed to the Ecumenical movement. He wrote: "I realize that no one congregation or denomination can go this way alone, so I give time and energy to the denominational and ecumenical ventures". Soon after his arrival he entered into a warm friendship with Father Charles Lenk, pastor of the local Catholic church, St. Mary of the HIlls. Since both men were interested in fostering closer ties between the two churches, they inaugurated an Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service in 1976 at which time members of both congregations gathered to give collective thanks for the year's blessings. The event became a tradition which is still observed yearly and was the first tangible step toward improving the relations between the two Christian communities.
 
In his later life, Dick Snyder pondered a question which all clergymen of all faiths have asked: "Did my preaching become part of the lives of the people I served?" A number of Rev. Snyder's sermons were duplicated and distributed to the church members and so we have examples of his style and depth. He was a preacher who touched on the events of the world and their impact on the lives of his flock. His style was academic and showed the breadth of his knowledge. His words were challenging and went to the heart of Christian thought and living. It seems more than likely that his words sustained and gave hope to those who heard them and tried to live a better Christian life.
 
In 1978, the church celebrated Rev. Snyder's 35th anniversary of ordination with a special service and reception. It was also during his pastorate that the church began the refurbishing of the Flagg Memorial organ.
 
The Morningdale Chapel's use as a place of regular worship had ended in the 1950's but Sunday School classes continued to be held there. In order to help defray the expense of keeping the Chapel operational, a Thrift Shop was opened in 1977 conducted by Morningdale people whose ties to the small house of worship spanned several generations.
 
In 1981, Rev. Snyder announced his intention to retire from the active ministry. The church gave him and Sally a splendid testimonial thanking Dick and his wife for five years of selfless dedication to the Boylston congregation.
 
In a statement published in 1976 just before his acceptance as pastor of the Boylston Church, Rev. Snyder wrote:
 
Our ancestors spoke of a Christian's life as a pilgrimage. That is still a helpful description.
 
Rev. Snyder's pilgrimage had led him to Boylston where he gave of himself to his people and to the preaching of the Word. His tenure will long be remembered and cherished.


CHAPTER SEVEN - CHARLES V. FORD JR.
Charles Ford was born in Presque Isle, Maine on February 22, 1944. He was raised and attended school in Mars Hill, Maine and in 1970 he graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.A. in Ancient History and Philosophy. He attended Andover Newton Theological Seminary where he received a Master of Divinity degree, cum laude, in 1973. While at Andover, he was awarded the Russell M. Tuck Award for "Excellence in Biblical Scholarship". He was given a stipend from the World Council of Churches which enabled him to do post-graduate work in New Testament studies at the University of Bonn, West Germany from 1973 to 1975. He was also a member of the Theological faculty of that distinguished academic institution during the same period.
 
Rev. Ford was ordained September 26, 1976, while serving the Alfred Parish Congregational Church in Alfred, Maine. He served that church until July 1, 1978. On July 15th of that year, he assumed his duties at St. Mark's UCC in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
 
Rev. Ford and his wife, Rebecca, were married in Bar Harbor, Maine in 1969 and they have two children, Matthew and Tamara.
 
He took up the pastorate of the Boylston Congregational Church in 1982 becoming the 23rd minister to serve this church. The decade since Charlie's arrival have been filled with numerous accomplishments both for the church and for its minister.
 
Charlie's arrival in Boylston came with a crash. The first day in town he crushed Josh Bradford's basketball hoop with a U-Haul truck! Fortunately things have gone up ever since!
 
The spirit of Ecumenism grew under Pastor Ford. He formed a deep friendship with Rev. Paul J. Tougas, the pastor of St. Mary of the Hills, who arrived in town at about the same time as Charlie. The two churches not only continued the tradition of the Thanksgiving Eve Ecumenical service, but began exchanging pulpits at least once a year. A joint Summer Bible School was initiated drawing youngsters form both congregations. The collaboration between the two churches can serve as a model of inter-Christian cooperation. Charlie also initiated the "lunch and learn" series with Temple Beth Israel of Worcester.
 
A devoted runner, Charlie helped organize the first Annual Boylston Biathlon and was the first Boylston resident to cross the finish line. He was also the first Boylston clergyman to qualify for the Boston Marathon and to compete in one. He ran in 1984 and 1985 and raised over $1000 for muscular dystrophy from pledges. He also ran in the Philadelphia Marathon in 1984.
 
From 1984 to 1988 he was president of the Central Area Clergy Fellowship. Also in 1984, he spearheaded the "Share Our Campaign" which raised $80,000 for the church. In 1985, he attended a summer session at Mansfield College, Oxford University in England. Always involved, he has participated in several of the town's famous "Musicals". He learned the lines for "Captain Hook" for another of Jan Fuller's productions and later was cast as Cher's (Jan Bradford) other half, Sonny Bono which required him to re-learn the "stroll".
 
He has never neglected the intellectual/spiritual dimension. In his own words, he has "re-discovered a deep appreciation of the significance and contribution of the Protestant Reformer, John Calvin". Although his devotion to the 16th century divine is the source of some light-hearted witticisms among his close associates, there is no denying the depth of knowledge and devotion to a man who represents the roots of Protestantism.
 
Rev. Ford is also a devote of the more modern theologian Karl Barth (d. 1968). Nor does he restrict himself to theology. He has read the works of William Faulkner, Umberto Eco, Jane Austin, Thomas Hardy, D.H. Lawrence and Willa Cather.
 
Concern for those in emotional turmoil Charlie requested and received permission from the Board of Trustees to establish a non-smoking Alcoholics Anonymous meeting each week at the church.
 
In 1983, he presided over the re-dedication of the newly rebuilt George F. and Sybil H. Fuller organ which was donated to the church in memory of Montraville and Abbie Davis Flagg. Performing for the event were former Boylstonians Virginia French Helton (organist) and Carol French Gellert (soprano).
 
When Charlie arrived in Boylston, the church membership stood at 433. There are presently (1992) 558 members, indicative of the growth which he has helped to generate. An Associate Pastor has been added to the staff in the person of Rev. Carol Ahlstrand. Rev. Ford's warm and sensitive nature has made him a sought-after counselor both within and without his own flock.
 
Certainly one of the Church's finest accomplishments was the "Sharing One Foundation" campaign which successfully built a much needed addition to the church and renovated the "Christian House" turning it into a comfortable and commodious parsonage. The million dollar project was realized by the Lamoureux, Pagano & Associates Architectural firm and was dedicated on June 10, 1990. Mrs. John E. Morgan, widow of the late Rev. Morgan attended as did Rev. Robert MacLeod, Rev. Dr. Milton Bartlett, Rev. "Pappy" Craw and Rev. Richard Snyder, all past ministers of the church.
 
The new facility will enable the church to expand its services to its members and to the community at large. It will be used for large gatherings including meetings of the Worcester Horticultural Society, aerobics classes, special area Ecumenical conferences, youth meetings, basketball and educational events.
 
Such an undertaking required the skills and dedication of many people. The Parish Improvement Planning Committee was the driving force behind the project. Among its members were Mark Johnson, General Chairman; Gerald Jones, Financial Chairman; Calvin Hastings, Construction Chairman, and members Robert Chaplis, David Fehser, Mark Fuller, Susan Moore, Eric Pearson, Carolyn Stowe, Nancy Tomb, Ralph Mongeon and Rev. Ford.
 
One of the church's most difficult decisions was to close the venerable Morningdale Chapel in 1985. Despite the valiant efforts of a group of dedicated people, the facility no longer seemed able to provide the parish with the space it needed yet demanded a constant outlay of funds for its maintenance. The closing of the 72 year old chapel caused understandable sadness to the parishioners from Morningdale. The bell was removed from the steeple and placed on the church's property in Boylston center.
 
The Boylston church continues to foster a myriad of activities for young and old alike including but not restricted to Bible studies, Women's Fellowship, Youth Groups and Sunday School classes. And we must not forget the fund raising events chaired by David Fehser whose innovative approaches to such projects has enabled the church to meet its financial obligations. In many ways, the UCC in Boylston seems to be in the forefront of a movement by many Christian communities to re-discover their past and to return to a truer and deeper commitment to the principles and beliefs of the followers of Jesus Christ.
 
The United Church of Christ in Boylston enters the last decade of the 20th century well prepared to face the challenges of the modern era and those which will arise in the next century. Charles Ford's pastorate has infused new life into the church and given its members cause to rejoice in the many blessings showered upon them by the Lord.
 
Charlie will be leaving for a three month Sabbatical in November which he will spend at the Divinity School of Duke University. He will surely return to Boylston, refreshed and ready to take up the challenge of ministry begun 250 years ago by the first pastor, Rev. Ebenezer Morse. In the words of the poet, "The best is yet to come!"


SUCCESSION OF DEACONS OF THE BOYLSTON CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH
George I. Adams
 
Flora M. Adams
 
Ruth E. Adams
 
Clarence C. Allen
 
Frederick C. Anderson Jr.
 
Calvin H. Andrews
 
Daniel Andrews (1794-1826)
 
Dr. John Andrews (1829-1837)
 
Robert Andrews Jr. (1821-1829)
 
Edwin O. Backholder
 
Amariah Bigelow (? -1779)
 
Jonathan Bond (1779-1793)
 
Jonathan Bond Jr. (1797-1821)
 
George H. Boyden
 
Fay L. Brigham
 
Henry H. Brigham (1846-1888)
 
L. Vera Brigham Deaconess for Life
 
Marjorie E. Brigham
 
Alfred J. Brousseau Emeritus
 
Robert J. Brousseau
 
Horace E. Brown
 
Jonathan Bush Jr. (1837-1844)
 
Frances M. Cassella
 
Robert O. Chaplis
 
Helen M. Christenson
 
Joy Clarvi
 
Edwin M. Colton
 
A. Stephen Demoorjian
 
Claire M. Eaton
 
Robert W. Eaton
 
Kenneth R. Engvall
 
David J. Fehser
 
Susan K. Fehser
 
Virginia E. Felch
 
Jean Feldkamp
 
Abijah Flagg (1829-1837)
 
Mabel V. Flagg
 
Mary A. Flagg
 
Grace M. French
 
Ernest M. Fuller Emeritus
 
Jonas Goodenow (1794-1811)
 
William R. Hagberg
 
Ralph W.Hager
 
David L. Hagstrom
 
Janet C. Hagstrom
 
Lawrence J. Hagstrom
 
Esther Hakala
 
John Hancock
 
Calvin R. Hastings
 
Clara W.Hastings
 
Alan J. Havens Deacon for Life
 
Peter Haynes
 
Marion Horne
 
Cyrus Houghton (1794-1797)
 
Robert E. Jewers
 
Gerald K. Jones
 
William O. Keck
 
Lyman P. Kendall
 
Cyprien Keyes 1743
 
John Keyes Sr. 1743
 
Jonathan Keyes 1743
 
Edward R. King
 
Preston P. Lane (1877-1881)
 
Raymond P. Lovell
 
Donald F. MacKenzie
 
Frank A. MacKenzie
 
Nellie M. MacKenzie
 
Peter L. MacLeod
 
Loran A. Malone
 
Levi Moore (1760-1815)
 
William H. Moore (1837-1846)
 
Ralph K. Mongeon
 
Linda G. Morwick
 
Richard H. Morwick
 
Colvin Nelson
 
Oliver W. Nelson
 
Suzanne C. Olsen
 
Marion Olsen
 
Simeon Partridge (1844-1865)
 
Eric B. Pearson
 
Helen R. Pelkey
 
Robert A. Pelkey
 
Robert E. Perreault
Alexander V. R. Prouty 1888
Bertil G. Quist
Frances Scott
Carl M. Sharpe
James B. Stanton
Fred. C. Stark
Joshua Stiles (1809-1827)
Herbert P. Stone
Harvey A. Stowell (1867-1877)
 
Bruce Symonds
 
E. E. Tainter
 
Gertrude E. Viner
 
Lyman S. Walker 1876
 
Shirley Warren
 
Everett Wilcox Jr.
 
Edward B. Wirt
 
Anna M. Young
 
John J. Young


EPILOGUE
Every institution, like every individual, marks the significant milestones in its life with appropriate ceremonies and nostalgic reminiscences. Although this is right and proper to do, we must never lose sight of the principle that the past serves us best when it points the way to the future.
 
The chronicle of the Boylston Congregational Church's 250 years of existence is a fitting remembrance of this auspicious occasion. As you read the names of the people who have served your church and of their accomplishments, you are justified in taking pride in them.
 
In a sermon delivered by your brilliant first pastor, Rev. Dr. Ebenezer Morse in 1769, he used as his text the words of Ezekiel: "And I will settle you after your old Estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings". Since the address was delivered on the occasion of the installation of a new pastor and the gathering of a new church, the text was thought provoking. Morse used the trials and tribulations of the past as a foundation for future hope. He wrote
 

"God promised them (the Israelites) that He would do better for them than at their beginnings - God's people are led to hope for the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit...for such gifts and graces..as should effect a revival of religion and put the present and succeeding generations into a happy state.......".
 
Thus those who have worked diligently on this history offer the same prayer - that the trials and tribulations of the past may inspire all who read these lines to a greater reverence for their Faith and a renewed commitment to the Church of Christ.
 
The future is exciting. It holds the promise of ever closer ties with churches of all denominations and the opportunity for all men and women of faith to bond as one in bringing about the Kingdom of God on earth.
 
The problems that beset society in this your anniversary year, are part of the challenge. Your church, as should all churches, must stand as a beacon for the lost and grieving, for the abused and rejected, for the downtrodden and less fortunate. America's social ills are not restricted to the streets of the large urban centers, but are finding their way into every village and hamlet no matter how remote or isolated.
 
The pride you take in your 250 year history should be the occasion for celebration. But it can also be an unprecedented occasion for all of you to re-state your faith and dedicate yourselves to what Rev. Morse referred to as "the enlargement of the Redeemer's kingdom, that the knowledge of the Lord may cover the earth...".
 
Your pride should embrace all those men of the Gospel, from Dr. Morse to Rev. Ford, who have served you so well - Ward Cotton, Samuel Russell, John Morgan, "Pappy" Craw - all came here to serve and not to be served, to minister, to teach and preach the message of the Good News. No one is perfect, but as Rev. Morse explained, God places the treasures of the Gospel "into earthen vessels" yet into vessels "qualified to receive them".
 
May this history inspire those who read it to re-examine their church and its impact on this community. It has indeed been great!
 
AD MULTOS ANNOS...