On 11 December, 1834, 40 persons gathered for the first worship of the First Congregational Church of Riverhead. The service was held in the lecture room of the Women’s Seminary building located on Main Street, Riverhead.
During the years from 1834 to 1841 the church increased to 83 members and it was decided to build a new structure. On 1 December, 1841, a new church building was dedicated, located on property next to the Seminary. It measured 46 x 34 feet, had a gallery on three sides and cost $2,475.00. The sermon theme at the dedication was “This is none other than the house of God.”
Twenty years after completing that building , the congregation built a comfortable home for the minister adjacent to the church. Fourteen ministers and their families lived in this parsonage until its conversion into office and Sunday School rooms. Today it houses offices, meeting rooms and the Thrift Shop.
A growing congregation needed more space so in 1909 our current sanctuary was built. The original structure was incorporated into this expanded facility and today provides our Parish Hall and kitchen as well as Sunday School facilities.
Our music oriented congregation installed a three-manual pneumatic pipe organ in 1929 and carillon bells in our steeple in 1950. The bells announce the daytime hours and play five minutes of selected music twice a day.
We are a downtown church with a membership that strives to maintain a caring Christian family while reaching out to service others in our community. We offer a hot dinner three times a week for all comers; we house AA meetings (including one in Spanish); we provide space for an English as a Second Language course.
The members of First Congregational believe that everyone is equal in God’s sight. In 1999, the church formally bolstered that belief by declaring itself an “open and affirming” church where all those who come are welcomed.