First and South Congregational churches have a long history in Granby and are now collaborating to potentially write a new chapter. What is known as First Church was established in 1736 as the Salmon Brook Society, and originally met in the home of Daniel Hayes. In 1834 the congregation built the current building on Route 189—the geographical center of town.
In 1872 a group of church members organized themselves as the Congregational Society of Salmon Brook, now South Church, and began worshiping in a building on the site of the present day VNA. That building burned in 1917 and the congregation built a new church to the south in 1918.
Now 149 years later, the two congregations are considering reuniting to form a new church.
In February, the congregations of the two churches voted, in separate meetings, to consider joining the congregations to form a new church in Granby. For many years the two churches, both members of the United Church of Christ denomination (UCC), have shared occasional worship services, church staff and various programs. Now some 35 members from each church are working together in six teams to envision what a new church might look like.
The congregations are seeking ways to broaden outreach into the greater Granby community. Both churches have groups actively working to carry out the mission of celebrating the lives and dignity of all people; lifting up the lonely and down in spirit; welcoming the stranger; treating others as we would want to be treated; and feeding, clothing and sheltering neighbors in need, both near and far.
A tag line of the UCC is “Everyone is welcome, no matter who you are or where you are on your life and faith journey.” The two churches are “open and affirming,” a designation that affirms that all services and sacraments are available to individuals regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, race, mental or physical ability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
A vote by the two congregations on whether to legally form a new church is expected to take place in 2022. In the meantime, folks are working together to consider how to best use existing properties, what programs will initially be offered, what staffing needs might be and perhaps most important, how a new church can fulfill some of the many needs in our community. If any of this sounds interesting, contact either church office (First 860-653-4537; South 860-653-7289) to learn more about these two historic churches in Granby and their growing vision for the future.