The history of the first 192 years of First Congregational Church in Meredith is the story of the church and the community that surrounds it.
- On February 20, 1815, six ministers and thirteen men and women met at the home of Moses Morse in Center Harbor to form the “Congregational Church of Christ in Center Harbor and Meredith, 3rd Division”, with Moses Morse selected as Deacon.
- It is believed the first meeting place for worship was in a small, 35’x40’ , non-denominational house of worship built in 1812 about one mile west of Center Harbor. The first pastor, Rev. David Smith, was installed on March 24, 1819. He died of consumption in 1824. By the time of his death the church membership had grown to 41.
- In April 1831 the name of the church was changed to First Congregational Church in Meredith. The following March, the
members voted to construct a new 40’x50’ building on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee opposite the old Oak Tree. This location is currently the intersection of Pleasant Street and Route 25. The building constructed serves as the present day sanctuary.
- In 1842, Deacon Furber and his wife, who lived immediately north of the present Fellowship Hall, donated land and requested the church be moved to its present location on Highland Street “for his wife’s convenience”.
- In 1871 the church was remodeled and a bell tower and spire were added. Individual gifts noted in history at this time included the church’s bell, a large chandelier, a new pulpit, pulpit chairs, pulpit lamps, lamps for the pipe organ and a communion
- In 1878, due to the increasing size of the congregation the offices, parlor, and Fellowship Hall were added on to the Sanctuary.
- In 1903 Miss Virginia Ladd donated the steeple clock. Also that year, the interior of the church was completely remodeled with the addition of electric lights and new pews.
- Around 1920, the front of the church was remodeled , changing two single doors to form a central entrance.
- A fire above the ceiling in the sanctuary on December 18, 1938 required extensive repairs to the roof , the heating, and
electrical systems. The Robinson pipe organ, installed in the church in 1868, required a complete overhaul.
- In 1955, the organ was replaced with the present Estey Pipe Organ, built in Bennington, VT.
- During the late 1980’s the interior was again redecorated, pew cushions added, and new carpeting installed in the church offices and fellowship hall. The renovations were to make ready for the 175th anniversary celebration in 1990.
- In March 2000 the restoration of the church’s steeple and E. Howard Tower clock began . After many years of silence the steeple bell once again began chiming the time of day to the town every hour.
- In 2010 serious damage was discovered above the clock and major repairs were made both above the clock and inside the bell chamber.
- 2015 marked the 200th anniversary. Celebrations including a reenactment of the original founding service were included.