The Unitarian Church

    The church in the top two pictures was built in 1860, replacing the school/chapel of the
    Hopedale Community. This, in turn, was replaced by the present church, built in 1898
    by Eben Sumner Draper and George Albert Draper as a memorial to their parents,
    George and Hannah Draper.

    Rev. Adin Ballou, prior to the days of the Hopedale Community, had been a Unitarian
    minister, but during the Community era, he and the members referred to themselves as
    Practical Christians. After the end of the Community in 1856, (for all practical purposes,
    that date marked the end of the Community) the makeup of church and village
    changed, so that by 1867, the church was reorganized.

    "Three months after the inauguration of the new ecclesiastical regime, in January
    1868, the Hopedale parish, with myself as pastor, was formally admitted to 'The
    Worcester Conference of Congregational (Unitarian) and other Christian Societies,' at
    a meeting convened in the neighboring town of Westboro. Our application had been
    fraternally received at a previous session and we were cordially welcomed to the
    fellowship of the body. As the Unitarian polity imposes no creed, covenant, or stringent
    conditions of affiliation upon either its individual members or associated co-laborers,
    recognizing only a general loyalty to Christ and his religion on the common basis of the
    fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man, we entered this new alliance on easy and
    satisfactory terms -- neither giving nor exacting specific pledges of any kind. I was
    personally in no wise embarrassed thereby. I was not required or expected to renounce
    or modify any of my favorite beliefs, nor did I expect or require others to renounce or
    modify any of theirs on my account. There was mutual freedom, tolerance, friendliness.
    On many points of theology and morality there was entire harmony, theoretically,
    between me and my new allies." Adin Ballou, Autobiography of Adin Ballou, p. 457.

                    The Hopedale Parish - A history by Peter Hackett.     Parish Centennial   

                                
Now and Then - The Unitarian Church      Star Island, 1939   

                       
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Timeline by John Butcher

    * In the paragraph from Ballou's autobiography further up this page, he
    gives 1868 as the year of joining the Worcester County Conference of
    Congregational (Unitarian) and Other Christian Societies.