Our History

Warren was settled in 1797 and people had religious meetings in private homes. In the early 1800s, Warren was served by itinerant preachers. Rev. Nathaniel Steams, a Methodist Episcopal, was installed as Warren’s first settled minister in 1825.

The Warren Meeting House Society was organized by a union of Universalists, Methodists, Congregationalists and Baptists to build a meeting house in East Warren. The Society built the East Warren Methodist Church in 1833 at the four corners or Old Stage Coach Road from Warren to Roxbury. It closed in 1928, was abandoned and collapsed into ruins 15 years later.

In 1838 a group composed of four denominations formed the Warren River Meeting House Society (2 Methodists, Congregationalist and Baptist). The meeting house was built in 1839 and used for gospel services, town meetings, shows and singing schools. Membership was at a low point by the early 1880s.

Calling itself the United Church of Warren, it was reorganized in 1885 by uniting Free Will Baptists, Methodists and Congregationalists. Twenty-two people joined the newly organized church which affiliated with the Congregational denomination.

In 1905 repairs were made to the building and a chandelier was purchased. Electric lights were installed in 1922 and the 12-light kerosene chandelier was removed. A new furnace was purchased in 1926 and the stained glass windows were installed. Between 1954 and 1956, major remodeling and repairs were made on the church – painting, restoring memorial windows, new carpeting, redecorating the altar, new reed organ, improved lighting and heating restoration work. The old chandelier was located, converted to electricity and rehung.

Between 1927 and 1978, Warren and Waitsfield shared one minister. Summer-student pastors also served Warren from the mid-1880s to 1972. The Centennial of the church was celebrated in 1939. In 1941, a chapel, which was a small building in the back of the parsonage, was moved and added to the church complex. The Altar Guild was organized in 1957. In the 1960s, mostly women attended church. Warren United Church joined the United Church of Christ in 1960 with other Congregational churches. In 1982 a controversy over control of the church arose. A public meeting led to the resignation of the pastor and 8 of 9 executive board members.

A new, part-time minister served from 1982 to 1986. In 1987 a new, full time pastor, Michael Caldwell, arrived and served until 1991. In 1987 a new addition was added and dedicated to Emma Ford. An interim minister, Anne Hancock, served until April 1993. From June 1993 until June 2000, David Westcott was the full time minister. In June 2000, interim pastor Chris Heintz arrived and served until August 2001, when Rev. Susan McKnight was called to serve the church.

Rev. Susan McKnight retired from her pastorate in December 2016. Interim Pastor Kurt Shaffert led the church from that point forward while the in-house Search Team conducted a two year search for the new settled pastor. It was clear from their initial interactions that Rev. Erin Reardon would be a wonderful fit for the congregation. She began as our settled Pastor in December of 2018.

In 1993 Emma Ford, a long time, faithful member of the congregation, bequeathed a large portion of her estate to the Warren United Church. That bequest has benefited the community and church programs.

Over the years many local hands have been involved in the stewardship of the historic Warren Village Church on the knoll. As an Open and Affirming congregation, it serves an integral role, embracing the community in an intentional way for worship, celebrations and needed comfort. Long standing members and a growing congregation of new members and families continue a tradition of worship and ministry, honoring the past, serving in the present, and planning for the future.