Roslindale, Massachusetts. Highland Congregational Church. Church Records, 1869-2006.
Highland Congregational Church is affiliated with the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America and the Boston Area Council of Churches. Its days began as a Sunday school operated by Eliot Church in 1853. With the steady growth of the Sunday school, members of the community felt the need of a church in their locality. In 1868 the subject was discussed in many informal meetings. On February 23, 1869, at a meeting of those interested in the matter, it was voted "that in their opinion the time had fully come for the organization of another church and society in this section of the city." A council met in the chapel, March 3, 1869, and proceeded to organize the church, which numbered fifty-two members. At nearly the same time the Eliot City Missionary Society adopted a resolution that whenever a church is duly organized in connection with the Parker St. Chapel, the executive committee will recommend to the Society to transfer the property on that street to the new enterprise. Thus in 1869, the Highland Church was formed. In 1871, a new church was occupied on Parker St. In 1883, the Chapel school further down Parker St. was taken under their wing and in 1897 was merged with the Highland Congregational Sunday School. In 1978, the church on Parker Street caught on fire, damaging its steeple (and some of its records). In 1980, Highland left its Parker St. location to share the use of the church sanctuary and rooms of the Trinity Lutheran Church on Centre St. in Roslindale. Highland Congregational Church remained at the Centre St. location until it closed in 2006 due to lack of membership. It has had five pastors in its 136 years, with the Rev. W. Arthur Rice having served for almost 51 years.
Most of this material was taken from various newsletters in Series V, Box 13. Refer to those items for more complete information.
|Rev. Charles L. Mills||1869 - 1870|
|Rev. A. E. Dunning||1870 - 1880|
|Rev. William R. Campbell||1881 - 1935|
|Rev. Ferdinand J. Loungway||1930 - 1942|
|Rev. William Arthur Rice||1943 - 1993|
|Rev. Deryck P. Mason||1994 - 2006|
Scope and Content
|Series I: Church Records, 1869-1981
This series includes church manuals (with articles of faith, rules, bylaws, and early list of members), meeting minutes, annual reports, special meetings, correspondence, and church maintenance and organ records. Annual meeting minutes from 1869 to 1942 are extensive. Important correspondence was dutifully copied into the reports, such as the letter "To the Congregational of Church of Christ" from "The Committee of those proposing to become a Church" (1869), and the dedication of the Highland Church on September 28, 1871 [found in Box I, Folder 2]. The Annual reports only go to 1979, right before the move to Trinity Lutheran Church in 1980.
|Sub-series – Financial Records
This series can be found in Box 3 and includes meeting minutes, annual reports, and correspondence from the treasurer, the Prudential Committee, and the Highland Society of Trustees. There are also documents pertaining to the 50th Anniversary Fund and members' will donations.
|Series II: Members and Vital Statistics, 1869-1994
This Series includes the birth, marriage, and death records of members, as well as church and Sunday school attendance, list of communicants, bibles given, and sermons. Of bound ledgers, book #3 is missing (1900-1910). Because of the large quantity of loose notes and correspondence pertaining to membership and vitals, the items in Box 6 have not been put in order. Folders in Box 6 have been given rough dates and labeled "General Membership and Vital Statistics". The items in this box include the pastor’s quick notes to himself, letters of transfer and memoriam. Researchers should expect to spend extra time sorting through this box.
Three ledgers, including church records (1888 – 1899), Church meetings (1915-1932), and church meetings and membership (1932-c.1945), were quarantined and destroyed due to excessive mold from water damage (possibly from the fire in 1978).
|Series III: Auxiliary and Social Groups – including Sunday school, 1909-2006
This series includes the minutes and treasury reports of the Women’s W.R.C. Club, Women's Union, Women's Missionary Fund, and Union Mother's Club. It also contains records pertaining to the Sunday school, the Mount Holyoke Bible School, and Men's clubs. One highlight in this series is the Highland Booster newsletter produced by the Highland Y.P.S.C.E. [Young People Society Christian Endeavor] Club (c.1910-1920) [found in Box 9, Folder 5], which illustrates the active participation of the youth at Highland.
|Sub-series: History, Programs, Activities, and Memorabilia
This sub-series highlights the history of the Church, as well as its active life in the community. The Church's history can be illuminated by the celebrations and correspondence marking the 50th, 75th, and 100th anniversaries of the Church and Sunday school. There are also programs advertising Church fairs, picnics, lectures, musicals and plays. Some of the memorabilia include a scrapbook (1870-1880), a birthday calendar from 1948, photographs, wooden printing plates of the church and its ministers, and a recipe book dating back to the late 19th-early 20th century. Sunday Service pamphlets dating from 1909 to the 1980s (with gaps) are included in this series, as well as books and publications. Books of interest include The Christian Life in Scripture Language (1910) written by Rev. Campbell, pastor of Highland Church from 1881 – 1935, and Charles I. Ziegler (trustee of Highland Society); A Story of Eliot Church by Walter E. Davis; and "New England Churches Decorated by H. W. Foote & Co" (c.1950s), in which Highland Church is pictured.
|Series IV: Ministers, 1881-1981
The records of Rev. William Arthur Rice, pastor of Highland Church from 1943 to 1993, make up the majority of this series. In addition to his sermons, there are items for auxiliary groups for which he was a member. Rev. Rice was very active in the Suffolk South Association, Boston Seaman Society, and Congregational Club of Boston. He was also Chaplain of the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services while serving Highland. This series also contains records pertaining to Rev. Rice's school life before becoming ordained as a pastor.
|Series V: Newsletters, 1891-2000
The Highland Light was the church's monthly newsletter. There is a copy for each month in chronological order from 1891 to 2000, with gaps.
|Series VI: Bibles
There are two bibles included in this series. One of the bibles commemorates the founding of the church on September 28, 1871.