The Community Church of North Orange & Tully has over 225 years of history behind it. The church is located in the northeast region of what is now Franklin County in North Orange, MA. It was originally built in 1781 to answer the need for a localized meetinghouse and place of worship for the early settlers. What is now North Orange was the original center of Orange.
Originally a frontier community, the center of Orange in 1810 was moved closer to the Millers River where the railroad and industry grew. The church building remains where it sits — on a hill surrounded by farms. The Farm School, which is dedicated to educating farmers especially in the way of organic farming, resides just down the road from the 1781 church. The old town green, now a town-maintained park named Goddard Park, is across the street adjacent to the parsonage.
Community Church’s Universalist history runs deep. It was part of the growth of the Universalist movement in the late 1700s-early 1800s. In 1800, the Universalist Church’s General Convention was held at the church, clerked by Hosea Ballou, the most influential preacher of the American Universalist movement. Moreover, Hosea Ballou’s cousin, and Hosea Ballou‘s brother, Levi Ballou, served the church as its minister for nearly 20 years, pastoring from 1843 to 1865, when he passed away.
Community Church’s Congregationalist history also runs deep. Community cooperation resulted in the merging of North Orange’s Congregational church – the Orthodox Congregational Church also known as the “The Chapel” – and The North Orange Universalist Church in 1945.
Community cooperation built the church and to this day is a big part of its ability to thrive. Families in the North Orange and Tully villages plus members from surrounding towns now make up the membership of this small but thriving church. Community fairs and suppers help to support the church, and the former residents and extended family members return to help with these fundraisers.
Today, we are a diverse people with diverse religious backgrounds. We welcome all who choose to journey with us in faith.