In the United Church of Christ, no special body of belief is or required and no historic creeds presumed. All we ask is a sincere desire to know and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, a commitment to worship regularly as part of our faith community, and a willingness to hold your heart open to the divine action of God's creative and loving spirit in your life. As we say in the UCC, "Never place a period where God has placed a comma: God is still speaking!"
The First Congregational Church
United Church of Christ 
Dunbarton, New Hampshire    

6 Stark Highway North ▪ Dunbarton, NH ▪ 03046 ▪ 603-774-4601 ▪

About Us

An Open and Inclusive Church
   Perhaps the most central element of Jesus' ministry was his practice of open table fellowship. As we live and grow in faith, as we learn to embrace our differences, we proactively welcome diversity, opening our hearts, minds and doors to members and non-members, baptized Christians and those who simply seek to know the love of Christ. At DCC, we embrace persons of all faith backgrounds, race, ethnicity, physical abilities, sexual orientation and gender identity. 

A Christ Centered-Church

   In a shrinking and multicultural world, Christians today face a unique challenge: how to claim our identity as followers of Jesus Christ while respecting the values and religious traditions of others. As we explore and celebrate the depths of our faith, as we test and clarify our own historical beliefs, we at DCC strive to strengthen God's vision of a just and peaceful world through open ecumenical and interfaith relationships.

A Youth-Centered Church
   The psalmist writes, "Children are a gift from the Lord!" As we fulfill our covenant to love, support and nurture those in our midst, we continually celebrate our children, empowering them as full and active participants in worship and mission. At DCC, we appreciate the vitality children and teens bring to congregational life!

A Spirit-Led Church
   For too long, traditional mainline churches have become centers of intellectualism, places where logic and reason inform our theological beliefs. But God is not a consequence of reason! As we worship together, as we learn to feel God's presence in our lives, as we explore spiritual practices and disciplines, and deepen our connection to God through prayer, we make room for God's spirit to fill our hearts and take us to places that logic cannot go!

A Mission-Focused Church
   In the Protestant Reformed tradition, the freely-given grace of God demands an active response. As we deepen our appreciation for Christ, as we strengthen our commitment to Christ, we continue to labor in Christ, embracing our world through ambitious, hands-on mission and outreach programs.

A Community Church
   The "church on the common" is how most people describe the Dunbarton Congregational Church to friends and visitors. As we continue our strong tradition of community leadership, we seek ways to open our buildings and extend our programs and services to all the residents of our community regardless of spiritual belief or religious affiliation. At DCC, we are equal opportunity caregivers.

A Learning Church
  At DCC, God's presence in our lives is something to be nurtured and shared. In this spirit, we are a learning community, seeking creative ways to pass on our faith to our children, increase our biblical literacy, and develop our own understanding of who Jesus was and why he matters. As we discover, challenge and critically explore the teachings of our faith, we strengthen that faith, clarifying our beliefs and transforming the grace of God into abundant lives.

A Singing Church
   It is said, "one cannot frown and sing at the same time." Music is the soul of worship, perhaps the single most evocative element in the liturgy. As we work to repair our organ and celebrate the gift of our baby grand piano, we invite the voices of adults and children, guest musicians, and special performers to fill our sanctuary and spill out onto the Town Common for everyone to enjoy!

A Financially Viable Church
   Good financial health liberates a church to express itself in diverse and creative ways. As we grow in membership and generosity, we continue to balance vision with fiscal responsibility, preserving the legacies we have been given, just as we invest boldly and enthusiastically in our future.

A Caring Church
   The greatest expression of Christian love is compassion. As a covenant community, we pledge before God to love, honor and care for the people in our midst. In all that we are and do, we ground ourselves in the love of Christ, incarnating that love in our relationships---with each other, our community and our world.

The Dunbarton Congregational Church (DCC) worships in a relaxed, traditional and comfortable manner. Despite our casual appearance, however, you will find a church devoted to Jesus Christ, our children, our historical role in the community, and the spiritual development of our members and friends.

About the United Church of Christ

   Founded in 1958, the United Church of Christ (UCC) combined the mainline Congregational and Evangelical and Reformed traditions into one body under the banner "That They May All Be One!" This broad ecumenical vision has always included a commitment to openness and diversity. Indeed, the UCC and its forebears ordained the first woman, the first African American and appointed the first openly gay pastor in America. The Congregationalists' support for the Amistad "mutineers" in 1839 established our denomination's identity an as early and ardent leader in the anti-slavery movement.

   Today, the United Church of Christ continues its rich heritage of openness, diversity, empowerment and social action on behalf of peace and justice. UCC Global Ministries supports disaster relief, education and the eradication of poverty throughout the world.

   In the Puritan "Free Church" tradition, each UCC congregation is autonomous. We truly operate from the "bottom up." United in covenant with sister churches in the Merrimack Association, we are part of the New Hampshire Conference, United Church of Christ. Volunteers and staff in these organizations authorize trained and ordained clergy for ministry and provide invaluable resources to pastors and congregations to assist them in their work.

   The UCC is a non-creedal church: no special body of belief is required and no historic creeds presumed. All we ask is a sincere desire to know and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, a commitment to worship regularly as part of our faith community, and a willingness to hold your heart open to the divine action of God's creative and loving spirit in your life. As we say in the UCC, "Never place a period where God has placed a comma: God is still speaking!"

Let is know how we can help you. We welcome your questions!

How would one describe the Dunbarton Congregational Church?

What unique combination of  beliefs and values distinguishes us as a community of faith?

O U R C H U R C H ' S  H I S T O R Y

“We whose names are hereunto inscribed, think it our duty and for the honor of Christ’s kingdom to embody. We do now take the Lord Jehovah Father, Son and Holy Spirit to be our God, and relying alone on him for strength, do in a public manner give up ourselves to the Lord, in an everlasting covenant to be for him, and for none other, to love, obey and serve him forever.”

Preamble to the Church Covenant

June 18, 1789

  In Colonial Dunbarton, public worship was held in a variety of settings. Townspeople met in the open, in homes and in the one story, thirty-foot square meeting house erected on the town common in 1766. Itinerant preachers were hired when money was voted for preaching at town meeting.

  The town called The Rev. Walter Harris to be its first settled minister in January, 1789, and in May it voted to build a bigger meeting house. Our church was gathered on June 18, 1789 when ten men signed the Covenant. The minister’s salary was paid by a tax on residents, but in 1796 some protested. Eventually, residents holding certificates of membership in other denominations were exempted. In 1819 the Toleration Act separated church and state.

 The Rev. Harris preached at DCC for forty years. His respected presence had a remarkable influence on the whole town. The Congregational Society was formed in 1830, as his forty-year pastorate came to a close. The Rev., John Putnam began a thirty-year pastorate in that year.

 Our "Vestry" building was constructed in 1832 on the east side of the Town Common, and moved in 1873 to its present location. In addition to providing a place for weekday meetings, Church School and Youth Fellowship, it has housed a singing school, high school, Treasure House, dance school and pre-school.

 The control of the Meeting House became a subject of disagreement among several denominations in the 1830s. The Congregational Society’s solution was to erect our present church building in 1836 with money raised from the sale of sixty-four pews. Their owners were assessed for repairs and upkeep, and pew deeds were a valuable inheritance.

 Music was provided in our church with the formation of a choir in 1842. Later music was furnished by an orchestra and then an organ. The pipe organ we now enjoy was purchased from the Baptist Church in Poultney, Vermont; it was installed and dedicated in 1987. In 2008, a bequest of a grand piano began a tradition of holiday concerts. Spireside coffeehouse opened in the Vestry to rave reviews in 2011.

 Our present bell, cast by the Meneely Bell Company of Troy, New York, was installed in 1898.

 Two parsonages have been built by the church, in 1883 and in 1947-48. The second parsonage was sold in 2001. Two additional homes in town have been used as parsonages. Our church has been redecorated a number of times, in 1884, 1940, 1964, 1995, 1998, and in 2010, the church floor was repainted, new carpeting was laid, pews painted and the altar chairs were recovered.

 In 1903 the Congregational Society was incorporated into the First Congregational Church of Dunbarton. By-laws were adopted and were most recently revised in 2003.

 In 1961 our church joined the United Church of Christ, a 1957 union of the Congregational and Evangelical and Reformed Churches.

 The Church School planted the flowering crab tree in 1983, dedicating it “The Giving Tree.” In 1989, the gift of a maple honored a church member who gave much of herself. And in 1996 the flowering Dogwood was planted in honor of church school superintendent. These trees symbolize the spirit of growth and vitality our church strives to achieve. 

In 2004, our handicapped accessible ramp was rebuilt and dedicated to former trustee chairman, L. Robert Tucker. That same year, the brick Arabell Caudill Memorial Walkway was built to connect the church to the vestry  including a beautiful granite bench that graces the church lawn.

A number of initiatives followed the installation of Pastor Cindy Bagley in 2003.  Stewardship at the Edges helps us better manage our finances and empower everyone's creative involvement in church life. Our "Living the Promise," church school program, introduced in 2005, involves the participation of over thirty teachers each year in the education of our children. Started in 2006, a seasonal farm stand now draws many passersby each summer.

 In 2013, a new roof was installed, the north wall of the church was painted, and we marked Pastor Cindy Bagley's 10th anniversary as our pastor with a big celebration. In 2014, we celebrated our 225th anniversary as a congregation and refurbished the entire front of the church.

We look forward to "making more history" as the days unfold in service to Christ at our sensational church!

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