November 26: The Oldest Congregational Church in America

  As the oldest continuously active Congregational church in the United States, the First Congregational Church of Windsor, Connecticut has celebrated more anniversaries than nearly any other church in the country. One of the most memorable anniversaries in the congregation’s existence was its 275th anniversary, celebrated on November 26, 1905. That year, the church organized…

October 23: The First Protestant Missionaries to the Hawaiian Islands

  During the first quarter of the 19th century, the tidal wave of Protestant Christian revivalism known as the Second Great Awakening transformed Connecticut’s social and cultural landscape. New Protestant denominations finally gained a foothold in the once exclusively Congregational state, church attendance among all sects dramatically increased, and scores of young Connecticut men and…

August 4: Connecticut Radio Stations Ban the Beatles

  On August 4, 1966, several Connecticut pop music radio stations joined a nationwide boycott and refused to play Beatles music in response to perceived anti-Christian remarks made by John Lennon. The offending interview actually took place in March of 1966, when journalist Maureen Cleave asked John Lennon a series of questions about the rock…

July 22: Mohegan Minister Samson Occom Preaches Up An Ivy League College

  Samson Occom, one of the Mohegan tribe’s most famous members and a direct descendant of the great 17th century tribal leader Uncas, was born in 1723 in southeastern Connecticut. As a teenager, he converted to Christianity after attending one of the many revivals held throughout Connecticut as part of the first Great Awakening religious…

July 20: Leader of the “Moonies” Reports to Danbury Prison.

  Sun Myung Moon, the late 20th century Korean evangelist whose Unification Church once claimed over 3 million members worldwide, was a figure dogged by controversy throughout his entire life. Born in occupied North Korea in 1920, Moon developed strong anti-Communist views as an adult and founded the Unification Church in Seoul, South Korea, so…

July 8: One of History’s Most Powerful – and Terrifying – Sermons.

  In the early 1740s, New England was in the midst of a sweeping religious revival now known to history as the Great Awakening. Charismatic ministers – inspired by the internationally-famous George Whitfield, who toured New England in 1740  – traveled from town to town on a mission to invigorate congregations with a renewed sense…

June 7: Earning the Rights to Both Privacy and Birth Control.

  Today in 1965, the U.S. Supreme Court established a constitutional “right to privacy” for Americans by overturning a 92-year-old Connecticut law that outlawed the use of birth control. Back in 1873, during the apex of the Victorian era in the United States, Congress passed the Comstock Law, which outlawed “the circulation of obscene literature…

May 31: Rev. Thomas Hooker Declares “the People” the Foundation of Government

  To many students of Connecticut history and colonial America, Thomas Hooker is considered the “founding father” of Connecticut.  A Puritan minister who journeyed from England to Holland to Massachusetts in search of a place where he could preach his message of reformed Christianity free from persecution, Hooker served with distinction as the first established…

March 29: Knights of Columbus Incorporated in New Haven

  Late-19th century Connecticut was marked by the growing prevalence of fraternal benefit societies, hostility toward a recent influx of Catholic immigrants from Europe, and dangerous working conditions in factories that left many families fatherless.  In response to these societal pressures, Father Michael J. McGivney, the 29-year-old Irish immigrant and assistant pastor of St. Mary’s…

March 25: America’s First Episcopal Bishop

  At a meeting held in Woodbury, Connecticut on March 25, 1783, ten clergymen concerned with providing for the future of the Episcopal Church named Samuel Seabury to be the first bishop of the new United States of America.  Seabury was born near New London on November 30, 1729, and had lived in Connecticut for…

March 8: Connecticut’s 19th Century Vampire Panic

  On this day in 1845, 24-year-old Lemuel Ray died in Jewett City, a borough in the rural Eastern Connecticut town of Griswold.  The young man, one of several children born to the Ray family, had died from tuberculosis, a disease then commonly known as “consumption” because of the way its victims would lose weight…