8:15 - Early Worship
10:00 - Worship, Choir, Children's message, Church school, Child care provided during 10am service.
2013 "Somers Seen" Photography Show
The Somers Congregational was gathered on March 15, 1727. Prior to that the people from what is now Somers traveled to the Enfield Congregational Church, which was no easy trip on horseback or in an ox cart. Sunday services lasted most of the day, with a two hour sermon in the morning a short break for lunch and an hour long sermon in the afternoon. It seems as though the Enfield folk did not welcome people from “East Enfield” (as Somers was known then) with open arms and considered them to be the mountain folk. The Enfield church did allow for the Somers people to get in out of the weather inside the nearby school house, as long as they cleaned up after themselves.
A committee of men from East Enfield met together and began to discuss the need for a separate church and parish. After one attempt to Call a pastor, whihc failed, in 1727 Samuel Allis was Called as the first pastor of the new congregation. Our First Meeting House was located on the corner of Springfield and Stebbins Road, where the North Cemetery sits. Following the destruction of the first meeting house, a second was built in very near the same location. Our first two and our fourth pastors, Samuel Allis, Freegrace Leavitt and Charles E. Backus are buried in the cemetery.
The congregation’s third meeting house, still in use, was built in 1840. The present location was chosen as the best site for the new Meeting House as the center of town had shifted to the south. When funds were being secured for the building the Town of Somers agreed to contribute to the cost, with the stipulation that the Foundation Room could be used for Town meetings and other gatherings. This practice continued until the town hall was built in 1940’s. The members of the building committee had apparently set their sites high, because they ordered a tower bell forged by Paul Revere and Sons, Inc. in Boston, but when it arrived in Springfield the church could not afford the freight cost and the Somers bell now sits securely in the steeple of our sister church in Longmeadow, Massachusetts.
Three times over the years the need for space has led the congregation to increase the size of the building. In 1949 Pilgrim Hall was moved from across the street and attached to the existing Meeting House, on a foundation that allowed room for the kitchen underneath. This was part of a major renovation to the Meeting House when the traditional two aisles were replaced by one center aisle in the sanctuary. In 1960 the church added a parish hall, the Bugbee Center, a separate building for church school, office space and a library. Through the 1990’s the congregation experienced another significant growth in numbers and an addition was built which joined the Meeting House and the Bugbee Center together as one facility.
Somers Congregational Church has been home to numerous pastors through the years, each of whom has contributed to the spiritual life of the community in his own way according to the gifts he had for ministry. Samuel Allis, as founding pastor, of course played a significant role in establishing the church here in Somers. His Ordination by an Ecclesiastical Council that included representatives from as far away and Northampton, Hatfield and Hadley, Massachusetts made it possible for Somers to become a town, according to the laws of the colony at that time.
Grave of Freegrace LeavittWe can only begin to imagine the challenges faced by the Rev. Freegrace Leavitt who, as the second pastor, continued to nurture the people of Somers through the pre-Revolution years. Mr. Leavitt faced a challenge from another pastor whose preaching proved to be so unorthodox that he was barred from preaching in the church by civil and ecclesiastic authorities as well.
Dr. Charles E. Backus, a graduate of Yale College, became third pastor of the church in 1773. In the course of his ministry Dr. Backus established a school for training young men to be preachers of the Gospel and pastors to the people that was the first such school inGrave of Charles backus America. More than fifty young men we trained in Somers and scattered through New England and along the east coast taking what they had learned far and wide.
A Sunday school was begun for the children of Somers when Louis A. Goddard was pastor. Another of our pastors, Rev. George A. Oviatt left Somers to serve as a chaplain in the US Army during the Civil War. Rev. Oviatt saw 132 members added to the roles during his pastorate.
For more Information of the History of the Town of Somers, you can contact the Historical Society.