First Church History

On the far northern edge of English settlement, this church was gathered on November 23, 1757 as the Church of Christ at Hopkinton, and the Reverend James Scales was ordained as its first pastor.

The new church provided a center for many settlers along the Contoocook, Warner and Piscataquog Rivers and across the hills of Dunbarton as Pastor Scales rode out preaching and baptizing and receiving people into the care and under the watch of the Church.

In time, the Church participated in the gathering of new congregations in towns to the south, west and north.

The first meetinghouse, built by the Town of Hopkinton in 1766 on the site of this building, was destroyed by fire in 1789 and replaced the same year. That new house, acquired by the First Congregational Society, was significantly remodeled and formally dedicated on December 26, 1839.

Except for extensive renovation of the chancel and additional decorative changes in 1963, the present building and sanctuary remain the same. In the tower hangs a one-half-ton bell cast by Paul Revere & Son of Boston in 1811, still ringing today.

A large and active village church during the first half of the nineteenth century, First Church served a thriving agricultural community and the small but busy commercial and professional center of Hopkinton. As the population of the town diminished during the nineteenth century so did the membership of the church, and it joined with the Hopkinton Baptist Church in 1929 to form the United Parish of thirty years standing.

Since 1959, First Church has grown steadily, true to its Congregational heritage as a fully independent, self-governing church, a member of the United Church of Christ since 1969 and of the New Hampshire Conference.

We acknowledge Jesus Christ as our Head and look to the Word of God in the Scriptures and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to lead, direct and prosper the work of redemption and reconciliation in the community and the world.