c 1890 post card shows Town hall of Norfolk (which was the North Parish Meeting-house
from 1801-1862, then became the Town Hall until 1922).
Union Congregational Church and Central School are below the town hall.
BICENTENNIAL FEDERATED CHURCH OF NORFOLK HISTORY BOOK AVAILABLE
This hardcover limited edition was researched and written by Aaron and Emily Nicodemus and Phyllis Payne
and includes historical documents and color photos.
Price is $35
Contact the church office 508-528-0262 to order yours today!
In 1795, the North Wrentham Church (now Norfolk) was organized when the Wrentham minister, Rev. David Avery, came to establish a new church. The first meetinghouse was built in 1796 on what is now known as the Town Hill. The building later became Norfolk’s Town Hall, which unfortunately was completely destroyed by fire on December 5, 1922.
In 1832, our present building was started. The church records of September 24, 832 read-"It was voted that the Society build a meeting house 48 feet long, 38 feet wide with 18 foot roof to be built on the same form as the Universalist Meeting House in Dedham except the cupola which is to be like the Meeting House in Medfield."
The name of the building has changed through the years. It has been known as The Orthodox Church and The Union Congregational Church. In 1918, under the leadership of Dr. William J. Lowstutter, the congregation united with the Norfolk Baptist Society and became The Federated Church of Norfolk.
In 1950 the vestry was enlarged and the pastor’s study was added and a new church parlor called "The Lowstutter Room" was built. In April of 1961 a fire destroyed much of the interior of the vestry. The rebuilding of the vestry began and at the same time a new educational building was erected. The old vestry now emerged with many improvements, such as new coat rooms and a serving room opening to the kitchen. In 1964 a clock and steeple were added and the carillon was dedicated in 1976 in a special Bicentennial service.
The Federated Church of Norfolk today is a community church representing many Protestant denominations, and holds full membership in the United Church of Christ and the American Baptist Churches of the USA. In 1995, we recognized our 200th anniversary with a yearlong celebration. Services each month focused on each decade leading up to a celebration dinner. As we enter our third century, we look forward to growth and continuing service to the residents of Norfolk and the surrounding communities.
From prior years the church had received donations for work on the kitchen from the Weeber family and from the Holmes family for work in the vestry. In 2009 the church received a large cash disbursement from Highland Congregational Church. We also sold a portion of our land to the town so that new emergency facilities can be built in the future. With that funding we took on the challenge of renovating a building over 200 years old that was in dire need of work.
The vestry, kitchen and bathrooms were gutted to the frames. What we found most interesting is that the trees that were in place during the initial construction of the church were still there. Apparently when they cut down the trees they saved them for their wood. They had be stripped of their branches but the bark is still on them. They are the construction foundation installed, whole. We also found a perfect skeleton of a mouse that had expired at one point.
Everything had to be brought up to the codes as they were established in 2009. That meant adding fire stops everywhere, adding rock wool insulation, adding 19 new sprinkler heads, boxing in all of the sprinkler system piping and removing the old staircase that had 6 steps a platform and 6 more steps that jutted out into main floor. The new staircase runs up the front wall of the church, unfortunately we had to add three stairs to meet the run and rise codes which everyone notices every Sunday morning. The stage had to be reset as it too came out into the floor. A new rubber roof was installed. New 200 amp service for the vestry was brought in; new 200 amp service for the kitchen was brought in. The kitchen is now state-of-the art and is comparable to a kitchen found in any commercial restaurant.
During the construction we added a bank of closets that have been assigned to designated groups. A new fire control system was installed so that everything was tied into the fire department as well as the agency providing the system. We have 24-hour surveillance in the church, the vestry and the school. A sound system capable of simulcasting to the vestry and Lowstuter Room was installed and has been used for many large overflow gatherings.
Concurrently the parsonage was in a rebuild or remove state. The church members voted to salvage the parsonage and Pastor Scott and Renee agreed to live there. Again we had a very old structure that required near gutting and starting over. The bones of the building are sound but the livability of it was not. We installed a new roof, all new windows, new siding, a complete rework of the interior with a new bathroom on the second floor. We still have more work to do in the parsonage but it will be done when funds are available.
From spring of 2009 to spring of 2010 we accomplished quite a bit.