Berkshire Association of Congregational Ministers

Collection History

The Berkshire Association was formed in 1763. Due to its significant size, the association separated into two distinct organizations in October 1852 — Berkshire North Association and Berkshire South Association. The current iteration of the Association is still active and part of the Massachusetts Conference UCC Western region.

The digital collections below include three volumes of general Association records as well as ecclesiastical records, disciplinary records, and missionary correspondence.

For additional information please see the finding aid for the Massachusetts Conference Collection records.


Digital Materials

Ecclesiastical records, 1759-1829

This volume of ecclesiastical records primarily contains written records of ordinations, installations, and dismissions, as well as an index to all of the volume's records. The records of dismissal also occasionally include summaries of depositions and complaints lodged. Also included in the volume are the results of councils. These results include in-depth meeting minutes which include lists of present association members and the results of votes.

Association records, 1792-1830

This volume contains the records of meetings convened by the Berkshire Association. Preceding the minutes is a brief historical sketch of the formation of the Berkshire Association. The rest of the volume is a record of meeting. Also included are two versions of the "By-Laws of the Berkshire Association" and a list of ministers licensed to preach.

Association records, 1830-1851

This volume contains the records of meetings convened by the Berkshire Association. Preceding the minutes is a brief note listing the founding members of the Berkshire Association. The rest of the volume is a record of meeting. Also included are the 1843 "Constitution of the Berkshire Association", a list of members, including deceased members, and the "By-Laws of the Berkshire Association".

Association records, 1800-1861

These materials include the minutes of council meetings and the reports of appointed committees to the Berkshire Association. The meeting minutes contain records of votes and lists of present members and delegates. The committee reports generally offer summaries of findings and official recommendations to the Berkshire Association about issues facing member churches.

Disciplinary records, 1810-1871

These materials contain various minutes, reports, and correspondence about disciplinary matters within the Berkshire Association.

1839 January 10 Case of Mr. Brewer's difficulty with the Board.
1839 January 23 A committee report in relation to the case of Mr. Brewer.
1845 November 4 A written confession and statement of regret to the council and "ministerial brethren" proclaiming their negligence as a minister of the gospel.
1834 May 7 A report of a council meeting where the council recommended that the "Pastoral relation between the Rev. Ebenezer Jennings and the Church & People of Dalton be disjoined…"
1835 October 22 Minutes of a council convened for the case between Samuel Chapman and the First Congregational Church in Windsor.
1844 September 21 A letter from Ebenezer Jennings rebuking a council disciplinary decision in regards to his own conduct in Dalton.
1849 September 25 Minutes of a council convened to discuss the organization of a Congregational church in North Becket.
undated The result of a council called in regards to the establishment of a new parish or society. No town is listed in the council results.
undated A probable addendum to the previous council results related to the topic of taxation in a parish.
1865 November 28 Council reports in regards to the case of A. H. Peltor.
1871 June 20 Minutes of a council convened following the resignation of Rev. H. S. Shapleigh.
1851 November 5 The result of a council convened in Austerlitz to convene in a matter between the pastor and Deacon Barnes.
1845 May 20 The minutes of a council called in Austerlitz to consider "reports against the moral character of Jesse Bristel esq."
1846 April 15 The results of a council convened in New Marlborough South Parish in regards to allegations against Rev. Samuel Netty by the parish.
undated A response to a council from the Rev. Aressis Phelps after being found guilty of excessive drinking among other charges of misconduct.
1856 October 17 Two letters written to the council in support of the Rev. R. G. E. Humphrey.
1856 A letter written by A. E. Humphrey, wife of R. G. E. Humphrey, to the council in support of her husband against "certain rumors affecting his character."
1810 October 16 A letter from the Berkshire Association written to Mr. Judson Phelps, a minister in New Marlborough, informing him of "evil reports" regarding his conduct as a licensed minister.
1815 January 30 A letter of written testimony describing the conduct of Mr. Judson Phelps as "very bad for a minister of the Gospel".
1815 January 31 Written testimony provided to the association against the conduct of Mr. Judson Phelps.
1815 October 7 A letter from an appointed member of the Church of Christ in Lenox to the Berkshire Association asking for information regarding Judson Phelps as he had recently applied to the church for a letter of recommendation.
1815 May 31 The results of a meeting of the Presbytery of Onondaga County, New York, about the conduct of Judson Phelps which resulted in the decision to bar his employment in churches within Onondaga County.
1815 June 12 A letter from the Presbytery of Onondaga to the Berkshire Association informing the association of the previous letter's decision in regards to Judson Phelps.
1815 February 21 A report from a meeting of the Berkshire Association in New Marlborough revoking Judson Phelps's license to preach.

Ephraim Swift papers, 1817-1818

These materials are related to a controversy in Stockbridge related to the appointment of Rev. Ephraim Swift.  Included are letters, council proceedings, written testimony in support and against Swift, and the results of councils and meetings called in regards to the controversy.

Missionary records, 1836-1859

These documents are about missionary work and missionaries within the churches that made up the Berkshire Association.

1837 June 15 Letter from the Berkshire Association to the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions about the return of Rev. Josiah Brewer.
1836 April 28 A letter about Rev. Brewer's missionary work.
1859 November 10 Committee letter to the Berkshire South Association regarding churches and missionary work.
1838 October 10 A long missive by Josiah Brewer in relation to proceedings held by the Berkshire Association and the A.B.C.F.M. in regard to his conduct as a foreign missionary.


Special Thanks

This digital resource has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this resource do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.