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Farmington: Franklin County's Shiretown

North Church

Center Meetinghouse, Farmington, ca. 1860
Center Meetinghouse, Farmington, ca. 1860Item Contributed by
Farmington Historical Society

Early settlers, representing five denominations, met their religious needs in their homes with traveling ministers. Upon the town's incorporation in 1794, residents could not agree upon one minister, therefore it wasn't until 1803 that the multi-denominational meetinghouse was built. Established denominations were awarded time in the new building according to the size of their congregation.

In 1830, the Unitarian Society was established, and in 1836, the Society formed a church by admitting eight members to fellowship, six of which were women. The Unitarians joined the Universalists in 1868, forming the Liberal Christian Association, and neither had an established place of worship. They purchased the lot on the northeast corner of High Street and Court Street and built the North Church in 1973. Keeping ministers was problematic and the church ceased services before 1930. The Church lost its steeple in a 1947 storm.

Founded in 1898, the Women's Alliance held an annual May Day fair, which raised funds to maintain the church until it was passed on to the Farmington Historical Society in 1971.

Aerial View of North Church 2020
Aerial View of North Church 2020

There is a beautiful stained glass window in the North Church, dedicated to the Belcher family. The rose window is high above where the original altar was located in the sanctuary. A minister who studied Greek said the words are not of the Christian Era he studied. The window shows black hands passing/receiving a torch and some weapons of war which might have something to do with the Civil War, which ended just five years before the window was installed. It took a while to track down a translation. Finally, Art Dimopoulos, Executive Director of the National Hellenic Society, gave the translation and had this to say: "Our Lord said ’Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’ John 15:13. Christ’s torch is the light passed on as reflected in Samuel Belcher’s life and the beautiful and inspiring message which adorns your Church."

Greek inscription on the window:
λαμπαδια εχοντες διαδωσουσιν αλληλοις

Translation:
Those having torches will pass them on to the others. ~Plato’s Republic I.328a

Resources:

  • Farmington Historical Trail sign in front of North Church
  • Translation of Plato's Republic: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0167%3Abook%3D1%3Asection%3D328a
  • Art Dimopoulos