History

The First Congregational Church, established in 1639, coincident with Yarmouth's founding, was Yarmouth's official church during colonial times when a church was required for a community to be incorporated.  Originally located in what we now call Ancient Cemetery on a site presently marked by a large rock, the church was constructed of logs, measured 30 x 40 feet, with a thatched roof and windows made of paper soaked with whale oil.  Members were called to service by the beat of a drum as there was no bell.

This is a newspaper photo of the church that was built in 1830.  When the church moved to a new location, this building served as a general store and post office until it burned to the ground in 1902. 

Soon the congregation outgrew this small building.  In 1716 a larger church was built near the first one, but again in 1766 more space was needed.  Rather than constructing a totally new building, the church was cut in half and a section 15 feet long was inserted.  Improvements included glass windows, a communion table, a deacon's bench, and a new steeple.  Reverend Timothy Alden, a descendent of John Alden of the Mayflower, was minister at that time. Serving the congregation for fifty-nine years, Alden, who lived to age 92, started the first Sabbath school and ministered to Native Americans.

Yarmouth continued to grow as did the Church's congregation.  To meet needs of the expanded congregation, a new church was built in 1830 at the intersection of Route 6A and Church Street in Yarmouth Port [now a playground].  As the congregation continued to grow, yet another church was erected in1870, this time on Zion Hill -- our present location. 

Today our church is 70 feet long, 45 feet wide, and has a 135-foot-high steeple, which can be seen from Cape Cod bay and which served as a navigational aid for clipper ship captains. "God's Light on the Hill," The First Congregational Church of Yarmouth continues to be one of our area's outstanding landmarks.

 


From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.

                                  Acts 17:26