Our church traces its roots back to the Puritans and Pilgrims who first settled in this colony in the 17th century. Milton was incorporated in 1662. At the time, the area did not have a settled pastor, but the King granted them a charter because they had visiting preachers leading worship, and the population of the area was growing as more and more people crossed the Neposet river from Dorchester.
Our church, along with First Parish Unitarian, consider the year 1678 as its year of “birth” and founding. In 1680, Reverend Peter Thacher, became our first permanent minister, and served from 1680 to 1727. He was not only the pastor and teacher, but because of some medical training, he also served as the only doctor and veterinarian in town!
The sanctuary, called “the meetinghouse,” was also the site of all of the town’s business meetings. The democratic form of government employed by those early “Congregationalists” had a profound impact on the emerging political structure of the colony, and eventually on the Constitution of the United States.
In 1834, our forebears had an internal theological “disagreement” about the nature of Jesus Christ. When the dust finally settled, those of “Unitarian” leanings remained in the meetinghouse (which is now First Parish, UU), while our “Trinitarian” predecessors moved across the yard and built our present sanctuary, completing it in less than a year. The original building/church was re-named First Parish Unitarian, and we re-named ourselves First Evangelical Congregational Church. For decades the churches lived side by side in silence. Now, the two churches have a very cooperative relationship, and even worshipped together during World War I in order to save fuel. These days, our two churches come together in a “Union Service” once a year, sharing worship and fellowship.
Throughout the past 327 years our church has been blessed with some very fine pastoral leaders and dedicated members. We have been a steady and influential presence in the town of Milton, offering hope, faith in God, inspiration, and challenge. It is our hope that those who follow will say the same about us.