Schedule of Events
January 10, 2020 Kick Off Event: Parish House Supper and Program included the showing of a banner of the first 100 years, debut of a new hymn, a dramatic historical presentation and commemorative items for sale.
February 23, 2020: First One Hundred Years Sermon by Rev. Liz with the first 100 years banner and sale of commemorative items during coffee hour.
April 19, 2020: Second 100 Years Sermon by Rev. Liz with two banners and the sale of commemorative items during coffee hour.
June 24-28 2020: UUA General Assembly here in Providence,
Walking tours of the Meeting House and sale of commemorative items and showing of all three of the banners.
Two Summer Services dates TBD with tours of the Meeting House, sale item available and banners displayed.
September 20, 2020: Third hundred years sermon by Rev. Liz with all three banners and sale of commemorative items during coffee hour.
October Weekend Celebration dates and details TBD
Looking ahead to our 300th Anniversary year
by Cheryl Bartholomew, Prudential Committee President
In October of 2020 we will celebrate the 300th anniversary of the founding of this church community. In the months leading up to that event, there will be many opportunities to explore the milestones that brought us to where we are today.
We began in the fall of 1720, when a group of Providence-area residents gathered to form a church of the “Congregational persuasion.” Over the course of three centuries, our religious views and affiliations have evolved. From our beginning as a Congregational Church in the Calvinist and Trinitarian tradition, but by 1819 we were openly aligning ourselves with the distinctive beliefs of Unitarianism. Between its founding in 1720 and up through to the present day, our congregation has been steadfastly committed to and involved in “damnable good works.”
Throughout our existence, our members have sought to involve themselves in the life of the greater community. Along the way we have not always gotten it right, but we have continued to evolve, grow, and stretch our thinking around a host of social issues. One of the areas we are currently looking into is the relationship of our church and its members to the slave trade and abolitionist movement. We know that many prominent members of our congregation were merchants and business people. Some of them most likely were involved in the Triangle Trade through Rhode Island’s boat building, rum distilleries, and textile mills which all supported the slave trade. We are currently working on engaging a Brown graduate student to research the question of how members of our community may have been involved.
We know the Reverend Enos Hitchcock, our fifth minister, was an active abolitionist. We know that he and John Howland, a prominent member of our congregation, were instrumental in bringing public school education to the city of Providence. We know that the Reverend Robert Schacht established the first racially integrated Boy Scout troop in the city of Providence. We know that our congregation was heavily involved in bringing Marriage Equality to our state. We know that we have been a Sanctuary Church since the summer of 2018. Social Justice work has a prominent place in our history.
There is, of course, more to our history, and the History Committee and the 300th Anniversary Committee are looking forward to sharing it with you as the year unfolds. We are also looking forward to seeing where the next 300 years will take us.
We are very excited about our 300-year anniversary, which we will celebrate over the course of the year through presentations, sermons, and, yes, through commemorative items such as hats, T-shirts, tote bags, aprons, stained glass suncatchers made from our 19th-century stained glass windows, and sterling silver pendants and pins with the church weathervane logo. We are also planning an October 2020 Weekend Celebration. Please stay tuned for more details on this weekend-long event!