Two hundred years after the first settlers arrived in Andover, the abolitionists established a new church that was not affiliated with any particular Christian denomination.
“They held prayer meetings and acted boldly to help the fleeing slaves,” Jon Paul, senior pastor of Free Christian Church, said at Sunday’s anniversary event marking the 175th anniversary of the founding. from the church. “God has blessed their cause, including this church.”
Over the past weekend, over 100 people came to the outdoor church anniversary celebration.
The church was founded in 1846 by city businessmen, including John Smith, owner of the Smith and Dove flaxseed mill. They were committed to “biblical justice” and said everyone should be free, Paul said.
He said the founding principles of the church are that “people in their daily lives and in their work can live their faith. They can make an impact and do a good job.
“We hope that our historic legacy will inspire our current and future work,” said Paul.
The church has seen a drop in attendance over the past year due to the pandemic, Paul said. The church’s schedule has, however, been extended to three services per week because people are returning to services even though the church is at around 30% of capacity due to pandemic regulations, he said. declared.
The church had grown before the COVID-19 crisis.
Over the past two decades, the number of people in the church congregation has more than doubled, Paul said. The church recently bought a neighboring property which has an apartment building. The church is renovating the apartments so that people can use them.
The purchase of the property will also allow the church to expand over the next decade to have a ministry center in this area, Paul said.
“This ensures that we are in downtown Andover for the foreseeable future,” he said.
“We are very honored to have this noble legacy of abolition and we carry these questions of justice with us today,” said Paul. The mission “looks different today, but we still carry it.”