Hello, I'm Margaret Myers, and I'm a Simmons library & information science grad student, volunteering at the CL to look over the Bradford church records and create metadata about them.
The records I have been reading most recently involve the Church Meeting Minutes from around 1824 to 1901. Usually, the term of a pastor ends at his death or ill health. Prior to the 1830s, Bradford's pastors had terms from 15 to 46 years (with an average of 28.4 years) and only one of those was dismissed – the rest passed away. Starting in 1824, there is a series of three ministers in 10 years, all of them dismissed. Reverend Ira Ingraham from December 1824 to April 1830, dismissed due to some opposition with the parish; Reverend Loammi Ives Hoady from October 1830 to January 1833, dismissed due to poor health; and Reverend Moses C. Searle from January 1833 to March 1835, also dismissed due to poor health. Another pastor is not installed until February of 1836, nearly a year later, though the church finds three pastors that either have teaching duties or are not willing to be candidates at that time. However, the church clerk, Jesse Kimball, continues recording the proceedings of the church in the interim and a couple of ongoing disciplinary cases are discussed. The congregation also commissions a new meetinghouse. In the end, Reverend Mr. Nathan Munroe, who apparently had "supplied the desk for several Sabbaths to the general acceptance of the Parish, and edification of the church, ... it was voted unanimously that an invitation be extended to Mr. Munroe to become our pastor." The parish clearly gives a great deal of consideration to the pastors that it chooses, and is willing to make a change if the pastor does not fit with the congregation, such as in the case of Reverend Ingraham.
The most interesting change of pastor is with the dismission of Rev. Ingraham, which appears to be at his request due to some ongoing issue with the parish. An Ecclesiastical Council is convened, and voted to dismiss Rev Ingraham, stating "The Council deeply lament that the state of things in this Parish is such as to render it expedient for them to come to this result." Jesse Kimball, clerk, notes that the church resolved "That we have ever regarded him as a faithful ambassador for Christ and notwithstanding the opposition that his ministry has received, which renders the dissolution of the connexion expedient, our confidence in him as such remains unimpaired." Additionally, they hope that Rev. Ingraham has "continued and more extended usefulness and happiness" elsewhere. No explanation is given for the opposition or issues surrounding this decision.
Reverend Hoadly is found relatively quickly, but he leaves the parish due to his poor health. Rev. Mr Searle is installed the same day that Rev. Hoadly is dismissed, despite some objections from members of the church, which are not recorded. These are resolved since the expediency of having a new pastor is important. However, Reverand Searle's health requires him to move to a warmer climate and he also leaves the church.
A List of Pastors
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