Earlier in the day the ministers and representatives of six churches in near-by towns assembled at John Bradshaw's house, and there the new church, the First Church of Christ, in Meadford, was organized, or, as it was termed, ‘gathered.’
Fifteen men signed the covenant, but no women.
Four bore the name of Hall
, three that of Whitmore
, three more of Willis
, two of Brooks
, and one each of Bradshaw
, Francis and Pierce
After this was done the council adjourned to the meeting-house, where Mr. Porter
was ordained, he preaching his own ordination sermon.
The custom is different today, and so are many other circumstances and environments.
It is recorded that in the winter of 1700 it was ‘so cold in the Medford
meeting-house, that men struck their feet together, and children gathered around their mothers' foot stoves
Fancy that, ye people that growl at the sexton if the temperature of our modern churches, or perchance the ventilation, isn't just satisfactory!
That day they sang the one hundred and thirty-second Psalm, and it wasn't accompanied by any organ music, either.
The old Bay Psalm Book was probably used.
A few months later the minister had a wedding present of one, in ‘turkey leather,’ on which his uncle looked and set the tune, and a little later the town ordained ‘that such Person as shall Read the Psalme Shall Sit
in the deacons Seat.’
This functionary read a line (perhaps two) and the people sang them, then more were read and sung, so the psalms and hymns were said to be ‘deaconed.’
Sometimes the deacon had a ‘pitch-pipe’ to sound, thus assisting in getting the pitch or keynote.
Organs were unknown in New England
, as also hot-air and steam heaters
, and over a century was yet to roll away ere a stove was installed in a Medford meetinghouse.
Our observation is that the taking of the Sabbath collection—offering, we call it now—is something of an art. How was it in ‘ye olde first meeting-house?’
There seems not to have been any table there then, but there may later have been one.