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The History Of The Nahant Village Church

Nahant Village Church History

We are the oldest church in Nahant. Sunday services were held as early as 1820 in a small stone school-house.


The first church, called the Nahant Church, was built in 1832 as a "Summer Church" for those from Boston who spent their summers in Nahant. Services were held from the first Sunday in July through Labor Day. Ministers from the Boston area came to preach, including Rev. Phillips Brooks, rector of Trinity Church in Boston and author of a favorite Christmas Carol, "O Little Town of Bethlehem." 


The Nahant Church was badly damaged in a storm in the 1850s and was replaced in 1868 by the granite and wood main sanctuary that is in use today. Worship services were held in the newly built Village Church during construction.

In 1851, the year-round Protestant families built the Village Church under the name of the Independent Methodist Society; and in 1905 it became a Congregational Church affiliated with the Essex South Association of the Massachusetts Congregational Conference. 


The Nahant Church and the Village Church merged in 1959 as The Nahant Village Church. and in the same year the church affiliated with the United Church of Christ. 


The "new" church continued to use both buildings until the mid 1960s when the old Nahant Church building was renovated and enlarged to include new Christian Education rooms, a fellowship hall (Swansburg Hall, named after beloved pastor Rev. Ed. Swansburg), a kitchen, pastor's study and a chapel that includes much of the furniture and the stained glass memorial windows from the old Village Church building. As Stanley Paterson put it in his book "Nahant On The Rocks," "This was a suitable grafting of a Nahant limb onto a Boston tree." 


Today, the Nahant Village Church is an Open and Affirming congregation, and continues to be a vital congregation open to people of all faith backgrounds, offering worship, Christian Education for all ages, vocal and bell choirs, and mission and outreach programs to the community and the world. 

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