In the early 1600’s with the arrival of Pilgrims and Puritans seeking religious freedom, the town of Reading, comprising what are currently the towns of Reading, North Reading and Wakefield was first settled in 1639. The first church was established in the southern part of Reading in present town of Wakefield in 1645, becoming the 12th church in Massachusetts Bay colony. Services were held in a small wooden building on Reading Common until the early 1800's. Expanded Timeline


In 1713, a second parish was established when residents of the northern part of Reading formed their own Parish in what would in 1853 become the town of North Reading. The first meetinghouse for the third parish of what is present day Reading was a small wooden structure that stood on what is now Reading Common with services first being held there on February 21, 1770. These services were held in this structure for more than 35 years. Expanded Timeline



Many changes took place in 1800’s in the town of Reading. In 1812, the old First Parish withdrew from Reading to form the separate town of South Reading which was later renamed Wakefield. In 1815 felled timber from a hurricane was used to build 

a modern, federal style church at the head of Reading Common and was first occupied in 1818. By the middle of the century, doctrinal differences caused a split within the congregation creating a second Congregational church. This church, dedicated in 1850, was called the Bethesda Church and Society and was built on Woburn Street on the site of the present First Congregational Church. By 1886 differences subsided and the two congregational churches reunited, adopting the name First Congregational Church. Expanded Timeline



In 1909, an electrical fire destroyed the church, which had been remodeled in 1887 in a Romanesque Revival style. The present stone church was built in 1910 in the Collegiate Gothic style. In 1957, the Congregational-Christian Churches and Evangelical and Reformed Churches, after years of discussion formed the United Church of Christ. In 1960 the church voted to join the United Church of Christ. In 1959 an educational wing was added to the church. A majority of the beautiful stained glass windows in the sanctuary, which tell the story of the life of Christ, were added in the 1960’s. Expanded Timeline


Our current church was built in 1910.




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