First Church of Christ Congregational Clinton, CT.
People and Programs
On September 28, 1666, "the town bargained and agreed with
Nathan Parmelee for forty shillings per year to beat the drum
Sabbath days, for the calling of the people together, and to maintain
the drum at his expense." [For 12 years, until his death in April 1986,
Wolcott Parmelee, a descendent of Nathan and sexton of First
Church, rang the bell "For the calling of the people together,"
"Wally" was expected to maintain the bell, but the church did
assume the responsibility for any bell related expenses!]
Dr. Abraham Pierson was pastor from 1694 to 1707. He instituted
classes in his home in 1701, a school that later became Yale
University. Pierson served as the first president of Yale.

THE 1700s

This was an exciting time for the church and town. The two
couldn't be separated because the church building was used for
town meetings as well as divine services.

In 1700 the second church building was completed. The
building faced west and was 35 feet square. The steeple housed
one of the first bells in the area.
In 1731 the third church building was constructed. This building,
like the previous two, was located on the southwest comer of Loft
19, facing west. The building was 38 feet wide and 60 feet long.

People and Programs
One of Dr. Pierson's students, Jared Eliot, became pastor in
1709 and served for 56 years. Benjamin Franklin was a frequent
visitor to the town when he came to consult with Eliot. It was during
Eliot's pastorate in 1737 that the town divided. The northern part
kept the original name of Killingworth and the shoreline section
became known as Clinton. Dr. Eliot's pastorate benefited from the
revivals of Jonathan Edwards (1734) and George Whitfield (1740).
Achilles Mansfield began as pastor in 1777 and had the second
longest pastorate 37 years. His Sunday message the week of his
death was entitled: "His Rest Shall Be Glorious!"

THE 1800s

In 1801 the building known as the Academy was built. The two
story wooden structure with a cupola on top was built by twenty
public spirited people of the town. They donated both materials and
labor. The building served as both the town hall and a public school
until the original Morgan School was built in 1871. Since then the
building has been used for many other purposes in recent memory
as the location of the Clinton Park and Recreation Department and
currently to house Clinton Social Services.

The major changes in the 1800s were based on the buildings.
In 1823 the parsonage was built to the northeast of the present
church. Most ministers of the church since that time, have resided
in the parsonage, but a few times the building was rented to others
when the minister already had a house or was lodged elsewhere.
The present church was built in 1837. This building established
many firsts which today are taken for granted. This was the first of
our buildings to set on the very top of Meeting House Hill, the first to
face south (toward the Sound   the building can be seen from
Clinton Harbor), and even the first to have a walled basement. In
1892 a daughter of Charles Morgan presented as a gift to the town
a clock which was placed in the only tower in Clinton at that time  
that of our church.


The town clock in the church tower was deeded to the church
for the amount of one dollar in 1972.
In 1976 the church owned Parsonage Meadow at Waterside
Lane was deeded to the town of Clinton. This is at the site of the
Clinton Town Beach.
Since no formal deeds had been drawn at the time of the
separation of church and state, the church gave the town clear title
to the property where Clinton Social Services is located, and the
town gave the church clear title to the land where the church

The parish house was built in 1950, enlarged in 1958, and
extensively renovated in 1999. During the renovation, the Town
surrendered the portion of Church Road on which the existing
fellowship hall is built. The original parish house building, behind
and now connected to the church by fellowship hall, houses church
offices, a chapel/meeting room, classrooms, and two kitchens.

People and Programs
Moving into the 1950s, the need for a full time support staff
became apparent In 1952 Merton Kelsey became the first fulltime
sexton, a position he held for 20 years. His wife, Dods Kelsey,
served as the first full time secretary from 1954 to 1984.
After a series of pastors who served relatively short terms in the
first part of the century, the Rev. Wilson Busick became pastor of
the church in 1969, serving for 20 years until his retirement in
December 1989. His pastorate was the third longest in the history
of this church.
In 1977 a second ordained person was added to the staff to
"organize and coordinate a Christ centered education for all
members youth and adult." The Rev. Tom Burlington ministered in
that position for 12 years, and briefly in a pastoral capacity between
the pastorates of the Rev. Busick and the Rev. Martin Gibbs (1990
2001). Following the retirement of Martin Gibbs, the Rev. Robert
Woodward assumed the position of interim minister until the call of
the church's present pastor, the Rev. Dr. Christopher Horvath.