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The history of Second Church goes back to October 24, 1713, when the Colonial Council in Boston approved a petition, setting up the Precinct of Salem and Beverly. At that time, Danvers was part of Salem, and the new Precinct included Ryal Side and the Burley Street area. A year later, on June 8, 1714, the new building was "raised" on its present site and in the geographical center of the Parish. In spite of the many changes in and additions to the building, the portion comprising the Sanctuary still bears the original timbers. These may be seen when the panels on the cemetery side are opened. There was still no pastor, but on March 29, 1715, the precinct called Rev. John Chipman, who graduated from Harvard in the Class of 1711. Finally, on December 28, 1715, Rev. Chipman was ordained, and fifteen men signed the Covenant with him; thus the Church was established.


The most significant development affecting the Church in the early nineteenth century was the rise of Unitarianism. Differences of opinion brought about the division of our Church in 1834, with a Fourth Church occupying a building across the street from the Conant-Chipman house.  For many years there was a succession of student ministers; Edmund M. Wylie, called in 1901, was the first settled pastor in some time. The separate Parish House, now part of the enlarged Church plant, was built in 1908.


World War I saw a pastor, Rev. Don Ivan Patch, leave for service as a chaplain, as Rev. Hitchcock had done during the Revolution.  The Depression years of the 1930s saw the budget sink to a low of under $5,000. At the conclusion of World War II, Dr. Robert L. Rasche, who had served as a Navy Chaplain, was called as pastor.

Then began the rapid growth of the North Beverly community. To meet this challenge, the pastor and church members in the 1950s carried through the doubling of the physical plant. The breaking of the ground, the laying of the cornerstone, the setting of the new steeple, and the 300th celebration are events fresh in the memory of many of us.




For a more detailed description of the church history click here

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