History of Middlefield Federated Church
In The Beginning
Let us tell you about our beginnings. As was common for early New England
settlers, the construction of a meeting house was one of the first
orders of business. The first meeting house in Middlefield was built in 1745 by the
Middlefield Society and stood on what is now the town green.
Two years later,this structure housed the newly founded Middlefield Congregational Church,
comprised of 33 members, 9 males and 24 females. The second Congregational Church was built in 1842 on the site of the meeting
house and was added to and improved in 1882.
The Middlefield Methodist Church held its first meeting in 1790. In June of 1791, Bishop Francis Asbury, one of the principal founders of American Methodism, preached here. Thereafter, services were held in the Middlefield Meeting House serviced by circuit riders. By 1834, Methodism had gathered such strength that a brick church was constructed across the road from the town green. From 1849 to 1852, professors and students from Wesleyan University supplied the pulpit. In 1866, the same year Middlefield was incorporated as a town, the brick church was deemed inadequate and a new church was built - the one in which we worship today.
Around 1900, as the number of parishioners in the Congregational church was dwindling, Middlefield's Methodist and Congregational churches decided to form a federation. The Reverend Mr. Hawkes, the last minister to preach in the Congregational Church, resigned to forward the Federation that he had urgently advised. The Reverend Mr. Dalton of the Methodist Church served until the next conference when he too resigned, insisting that the Federation should choose a minister, not simply endorse one who happened to be here.
The Methodist and Congregational churches federated on December 8, 1921,
and Reverend Huffer was chosen as the first minister of The
Middlefield Federated Church. For approximately ten years, each church
building,Congregational and Methodist, was used for worship on alternate
months, but this arrangement proved impractical. Since the Methodist church was the more
usable building, the Federated membership settled permanently in the Methodist Church
building, where we worship today.
Although the two churches federated in 1921, they federated in name only, and it became
apparent there was a need for a reorganization that would create a central authority
representing both churches. Out of this need grew the Articles of Federation, the by-laws
by which we continue to conduct the church's business today.
The first annual meeting of the Middlefield Federated Church, Inc.was held on
January 14, 1954.
As a Federated Church, we maintain denominational ties to the United Methodist Church and the United Church of Christ We participate in programs and contribute financially to both denominations. We look to both denominations for assistance and support. In our worship, we make an effort to accommodate Methodist and Congregational traditions. We alternate our method of Communion,receiving the elements at the rail one month (Methodist), and in the pews the following month (Congregational).