History Corner: Where is it Wednesday
And now for this week’s Where is it Wednesday, brought to you by the Weston Historical Society.
Your clue: The building, since its first inception in 1784, has undergone three rebuilds. The second building was constructed in 1833, the third in 1881, and the last one in 1924. The picture in this post is the 1881 build.
The history of the Baptist Church in Weston goes back to 1772, when Oliver Hastings was baptized in Framingham. He brought the new faith back to his home on the south side of Weston, where the “reformation,” as it was called, gradually took hold. In 1784, a crude frame meetinghouse on South Avenue, east of Wellesley Street, was built to accommodate the tiny congregation. The Baptist Church of Christ in Weston was officially formed in 1789.
Baptists were the first alternative religion in Weston. According to church histories, members of the early church were generally “poor in this world’s goods” and ”subject to their full share of opprobrium” because of their beliefs. The congregation gradually increased and by the late 1820s the church purchased a quarter-acre lot on the more convenient Boston Post Road and built a 44’ x 55’ church in 1828 [posting note – this date was erroneously entered as 1833 yesterday]. By 1867, the church experienced a revival called “one of the most extensive, powerful and uplifting revivals of religion this town has ever known.” By 1881, the church was “thoroughly renewed” and enlarged to include an indoor baptistry. Previously, adults were baptized by full immersion in the “Baptismal Pond” located behind what is now the DPW building. A 4-ton boulder called the “Baptist Rock” marked the ceremony spot. It was moved to the church grounds in 1986 and reportedly still showed faint markings from its previous use.
In the early 1920s, the church building committee wanted to move the church closer to the Town Center. Horace Sears offered a lot on Boston Post Road, near Wellesley Street; however, the congregation preferred its location and politely declined the offer. The new church was dedicated in 1924.
The First Baptist Church of Weston closed its doors last year; the church records and histories were given to the Weston Historical Society and are safely a part of the Historical Society collection. The church was bought by a Buddhist organization so let’s see what’s next!