Since St. Philip’s Episcopal Church conducted íts first service on January 8, 1871 in the lower Easthampton Town Hall, this small community parish has been blessed with a long, rich history shaped over the past 140 years by a congregation dedicated to worshipping together as one church family united in the Episcopal tradition and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. The first service was presided over by the Reverend B. F. Cooley of Westfield and the following Sunday the congregation present decided to take steps to form a parish.
The parish was legally organized effective April 10, 1871 with the Reverend Benjamin Cooley in charge of a total of 20 initial parishioners; the parish was admitted into the Western Convocation of the Diocese of Massachusetts a year later in 1872. During the initial 17 years, the congregation conducted services at numerous locations throughout the town including the lower Town Hall, Pomeroy Hall on Main Street (rented from Thomas J. Pomeroy for $200 a year), Union Chapel on Chapel Street, and the Union Street Church which was built in 1885 and designed to become the chancel of a larger church. St. Philip’s would call the Union Street Church its parish home for 13 years until it finally moved into its current church on Main Street where the congregation of St. Philip’s still worships today.
The present location was purchased in 1899 and the cornerstone of the newly built church was set on December 25, 1901. In addition to the church itself, the original property included the building which currently serves as the parish hall and a large house that served as the rectory until it was sold in 1999. On July 24, 1902, the church was dedicated by the first Bishop of the new Diocese of Western Massachusetts, the Rt. Rev. Alexander H. Vinton. For over 110 years, this is where the St. Philip’s parish has worshipped and flourished in the love and grace of Christ.
SOME OTHER HISTORICALLY NOTABLE EVENTS IN THE LIFE OF THE PARISH ARE AS FOLLOWS:
The first organ used by the church choir was a small pump organ brought over from the Union Street Church in 1902. It is still functional and remains in the church today.
A new pipe organ was consecrated and dedicated to WWI veterans from the parish in 1920. This pipe organ was replaced in 1975 by the current, and historically significant, Hook and Hastings organ that continues to play gloriously every Sunday.
On May 1, 1946, the beautiful Art Glass Window above the Altar was presented to commemorate the church’s 75th anniversary.
In 1957, the parish hall was remodeled and enlarged to double its original size.
In 1995, the sign in front of the church was dedicated in memory of Sidney Cole.
The former Rectory was dismantled, sold and relocated where it still stands today as a residential home in Hatfield, Massachusetts.
To learn more about the Episcopal Church, visit: episcopalchurch.org
Visit the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts: diocesewma.org