Happy Anniversary to Us!

A vestige from earlier days when the Meetinghouse served both the town and the congregation: The clock in the steeple is still owned and maintained by the Town of Wayland.

A vestige from earlier days when the Meetinghouse served both the town and the congregation: The clock in the steeple is still owned and maintained by the Town of Wayland.

2015 marks two important milestones for our congregation: 375 years since our gathering in 1640, and 200 years since the completion and dedication of our beautiful Meetinghouse, the fifth one in our history.

Throughout 2015, we will create ways to celebrate our history, honor our predecessors, and express our gratitude to the Town of Wayland.

The early history of First Parish and the Town of Wayland are intertwined. Prior to the separation of church and state in 1833 — Massachusetts was the last state to sever the ties — the First Parish minister was selected and hired by the town, and the First Parish meetinghouses were home to Town Meetings and other public business as well as Sunday services.

Rev. Wight was the last minister to serve both the town and the parish. He went on to become superintendent of schools.

Rev. Wight was the last minister to serve both the town and the parish. He went on to become superintendent of schools.

The Rev. John Burt Wight, ordained in 1815 at the same time that our current Meetinghouse was dedicated, was the last minister to serve both the town and the church. You can read or hear all about this era and the changes that took place in the years that followed, in a sermon delivered by the Rev. Ken Sawyer, First Parish’s Minister Emeritus, on January 25, 2015.

Our minister, the Rev. Dr. Stephanie May, invited Rev. Sawyer to join her in the pulpit to kick off our anniversary year. Ken Sawyer served First Parish for 38 years, retiring in 2012.

During the coming year, we look forward to learning more about our history, and how it reflects the history of our town and nation. We are grateful that, just like our predecessors did, we are able to share our joys, our sorrows, and our questions with a vibrant and loving community, and worship in the exquisite Meetinghouse that once served as a place of both civic and religious life in Wayland.

For more detailed information about the five meetinghouses that have served First Parish and the Town of Wayland since the first one was built in 1642, click here