Gathered 1712 | Meeting House 1849 | Center for Christian Education 1987

FCCC Historical Documents

A Woman’s Confession

March 4, 1833
To the Church of Christ in the first Society in Coventry I Miranda Fuller of Coventry wife of Josiah Fuller Jr a member of the Church of Christ in the first Society in Coventry having been complained of by sd Church for a breach of covenant in absenting myself from the Communion Table for several Years and now I Miranda Fuller do acknowledge that I have not been present at the communion but three times for four Years last September and one great reason for my not attending the Communion is the peculiar situation in which I am placed living from four to six miles from our meeting with a family of little Children around one with no one to assist me in getting to to [sic] meeting— and now Brethren I do not feel to justify myself in every particular but feel that it is possible that I have not embraced every opportunity to attend the Communion Seasons when I might so done and so far as I have neglected and done wrong to the wounding of the feeling of the brethren and to the dishonour of the cause of Christ so far I confess and ask your forgiveness and the forgiveness of God and ask your prayers that I may be enabled to do what God would have me to do at all times and be resigned to the Situation in which I am placed.

Coventry the 4th day of March 1833    Miranda Fuller

 

A Man’s Confession

October 26, 1835
To the Church of Christ in South Coventry
Dearly beloved. It has become my most painful duty humbly to confess to you and the world; and painful to you to hear: that I have been guilty of most heinous sin against God, and his people; which has dishonored the Holy religion of Christ, and brought reproach upon the Sacred cause of the Blessed Redeemer, and deeply wounded the hearts of His faithful followers.

On account of which I do abhor myself and repent as in dust and ashes, and acknowledge my utter unworthiness to bear the Christian name: Humbly desiring your devout and earnest prayers to that God, who alone can forgive sin that my abhorrence and repentance of Sin may be genuine and daily increased and deepened, and my pardon sealed on terms honorable to God, and the rules of His Church, however humbling and mortifying it may be to me:

That I may never more be left to forget God, wander from Him, neglect my duty, and thus exposed to be led astray by my own corrupt and deceitful heart, and the wiles of the adversary. But that ever more I may sensibly realize my own weakness and insufficiency, and keep constantly near to, and trust in the Lord Jesus, whose grace is sufficient to keep my feet from falling, my eyes from tears and my soul from death.

And that all may be admonished by this scandalous and soul humbling occurrence: not for a moment to give place to the Devil is the earnest and devout prayer of your grossly and grievously offending brother.

And that after prayerful deliberation on the foregoing, the church communicate to me at Brockport State of N York under the hand of our Rev. and beloved pastor the reception with which it meets.

Finally Brethren, pray for me.

So. Coventry Oct. 26 A.D. 1835     Thomas Dike

 

A Formal Complaint of One Member Against Another

September 22, 1838
To the Pastor and Brethren of the first Christ [sic] of Christ in Coventry comes Ashbel Stanley a member of said Church & informs that he has just cause of complaint & offence & is grieved & offended with Dea. Apollos Fitch, a member of sd chh. on account of the following instances of unchristian conduct in sd brother, as specially stated in the following charges- to whit-

Charge 1. His neglect of the publick worship of God on the Sabbath, & other ordinary occasions (with the chh. & congregation of which he is a member).

Also forsaking the communion of this Church at the Sacramental table, for several years past & that too without any just reasonable excuse: which conduct of the sd Dea. Fitch is a direct violation of his covenant with God & this chh. in which he engaged to walk in all the commandments & ordinances of the Lord blameless following scriptures & elsewhere: “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together.” Heb. 10:25 “This do, in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19

2. His slandering the Christian & moral character of the Rev. Chauncey Booth, the Pastor of this chh. & congregation by publickly & repeatedly reporting that he the said Pastor is guilty of falsehood; and also that he is not orthodox in his preaching: which publick & repeated assertions made by the sd. Deac. Fitch are grievously wounding to the feelings of our Pastor, injuring his Christian & moral character, weakening his influence & usefulness in the ministry which the cause of Christ is injured & the chh. deeply wounded: also directly contrary to the injunctions of the Apostle in 1 Thess. 5:12-13 “And we beseech you brethren to know them, which labour among you & are over you in the Lord, & admonish you & to esteem them very highly & love for their worthy sake.” Also in Heb. 13:17 “Obey them that have the rule over you & submit yourselves, for they watch for your souls as they that must give account.” And 1 Tim. 5:19 “Against an elder receive not an accusation but before two or three witnesses.”

3. He the sd. Dea. Fitch is guilty of the sin of endeavoring to “cause divisions & offences” as specified by the apostle in Rom. 16:17-18 “Now I beseech you brethren, mark them which cause divisions & offenses contrary to the doctrines which ye have learned & avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ but their own belly & by good words & fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” By reason of the aforesaid sinful conduct of the sd brother scandal is brought upon the holy religion of Christ, & the guilt of sin his upon him. I have laboured to bring him to repentance by proceeding with him according to the rules laid down by our Saviour in the 18 chap of Matt. But he hath refused to hear: & now as in duty bound I tell it to the chh. I hereby also declare that in bringing this complaint so far as I know my own heart I am not moved by envy or ill will against the sd. brother but by a desire to bring him to repentance that G. may be honored & “his soul be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”

Dated Coventry this 22 day of Sept. 1838

[copy]      Ashbel Stanley

 

Another copy of this document has a preface that makes it a letter to Deacon Apollos Fitch. There is also a note pasted to the end of it that indicates a time and place for the church to meet to deal with the complaint. The Deacon was eventually declared to be excommunicated, though a month or so later this action was reconsidered so that First Church could send a letter of transfer of the Fitch family’s membership to the Willimantic Church. Apparently the Fitches lived only a few miles away from Willimantic and had been attending church there for some time.

 

 

A Complaint by Eliphalet Hale Against Joseph Robinson

November 30, 1833
To the Pastor & Brethren of the first church of Christ in Coventry: comes Eliphalet Hale a member of said chh. and informs that he has just cause of offense, & is grieved & offended with brother Joseph Robinson a member of said church on account of the following instances of unchristian conduct in said brother: To wit-

Charge 1st His wholly absenting himself from the Sacramental Communion for a considerable time past; contrary to the express command of the Lord Jesus Christ: “This do in remembrance of me.”

Charge 2nd His sinful conduct in making too free unnecessary and excessive use of ardent spirits.

Charge 3rd His unlawful & sinful conduct for a long time past in harbouring & living in intimacy with a female of a bad character, the consequences of which with the attending circumstances have been the occasion of suspicion that his conduct has been immoral or at least unbecoming the Christian.—-

By reason of the aforesaid sinful conduct of the said brother scandal is brought upon the holy religion of Christ, and the guilt of sin lies upon him. I have laboured to bring him to repentance by proceeding with him according to the rule pointed out by our Saviour in the 18th chap. of Matt. but he hath refused to hear & now as in duty bound, I tell it to the chh. I hereby also declare that in bringing this complaint so far as I know my own heart I am not moved by envy or ill will against the said brother, but by a desire to bring him to repentance that God may be honored & “his soul be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”

Dated at Coventry this 30th day of Nov. 1833

Eliphalet Hale

 

 

Letter of Invitation from the Village Church to First Church

April 22, 1850
The Village Church in So. Coventry

To the First Church in Coventry

Sendeth Greetings

This Church and the Society connected therewith having given to the Rev. Henry B. Blake a call to settle over them in the gospel ministry and he having accepted said call This is to invite you by your Pastor and Delegate to attend an Ecclesiastical Council to be convened at the house of Dea. John Boynton on Wednesday the 15th day of May next at 9 o’clock A.M. to assist should the way be clear in his Installation.

Marvin Root, Jared Clark, William Coleman- Committee of the Church

John Boynton, Alvin Kingsbury- Committee of the Society

So. Coventry April 22, 1850

Churches Invited

Churches in Mansfield, Rockville, Church in North Coventry, Vernon, Andover, Willington & Willimantic & Rev. J. S. Judd of Whateley Mass

 

The interesting thing about this invitation is that Rev. Blake had been the pastor of the First Church from 1845 to Sept. of 1848. He stayed at the Village Church until April of 1855.

 

 

On the back of another invitation, the recipient, possibly Rev. Blake, apparently used it to make notes on the local school. The notes read:

No. registered 37, average 26. No. under 4- 0, over 16- 4. Reading- 32, Spelling- 32, Writing- 19, Arithmetic- 11, Grammar- 7, Geography- 10. teacher Laura White.