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The Federated Church of Willington: Two Churches, One Body of Christ

In June 2011 the Federated Church of Willington celebrated the 100th Anniversary of its formation in 1911 from two older churches. The Congregational Church of Willington existed from 1727. From its beginning, the church has nurtured children and taught them the Bible. The first deacon of this church was John Merrick, who began a Sabbath School in June 1815, the first one established in Tolland County.

The Willington Baptist Church was organized on December 18, 1828, and came into being as a result of loyalty to conviction. The Rev. Hubbel Loomis, the fourth pastor of the Congregational Church, was prominent both as a minister and an educator. During his pastorate in Willington, Mr. Loomis had strong tendencies toward Baptist sentiments. The result was that he and several of his members came out from the Congregational Church and formed the nucleus of a Baptist Church in Willington. This church has had a noble record in the work of missions, especially in Burma (Myanmar). Starting in 1834 Justus and Calista Holman Vinton, from Willington and Union, Connecticut, respectively, began their lifelong mission to the Karen people of Burma, founding many churches and schools. In 1866 Dr. Truman Johnson and his wife Jennie, members of the church, also went to Burma and established churches, schools, and medical centers.

The two churches continued their separate ministries until 1911 when they united in worship and service as “The Federated Church of Willington.” In that year the Clara Hall Elliott Memorial Church was completed, enabling the Federated Church to worship in two locations, thus expanding its ministry within the town of Willington. In 1924, the Old Congregational meeting house, erected in 1877, was sold to the Town of Willington to be used for public meetings.

Since its founding in 1911, the Federated Church has reached out to people in times of crisis and ministered to the spiritual and physical needs of the community, the nation, and the world.