Bridgewater United Methodist Church traces its’ roots back over 100 years. The church was founded by young Abbie Lawrence of Bridgewater who wrote in her diary, “Converted at Raynham, Massachusetts” on February 1, 1874. The next entry dated February 3 states, “Came home to Bridgewater.” Less than a week later Abbie wrote, “Went out and talked with the people about starting a Methodist Episcopal Church in town.” And so she did!
Abbie wasted no time. She went door-to-door raising $400 to pay for a pastor. On May 3, 1874, just three months later, the first service was held in the old Swedenborgian Church. Today this church serves as the parish house. Abbie later married a successful Bridgewater businessman, Ferdinand C. Gammons, who purchased the land at the corner of Cedar and School streets. The home that had been located there was moved, and the stone church structure, that to this day serves as the home for Bridgewater United Methodist Church, was built for $35,000.
It was sold to the church for $1.
The building has many fine features but the focal point, both inside and out, is a soaring stained-glass window designed at the time of construction depicting Christ the “Good Shepard” in a flowing red robe cradling a lost sheep in his arms as the rest of the flock looks up. The window was designed in memory of Abbie’s mother, with money set aside to assure that the window would always be illuminated at night.
In 2013 Bridgewater United Methodist Church celebrated the 100 year anniversary of the church with special music and gatherings. Across all these years the church has continued to work for social justice, to reach out to others in need, and to connect the community to God, love, and hope. And the beautiful stained-glass window continues to shine its light, serving as a beacon to the community with its powerful message of redemption.
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