375 Years of History in Short
Two years after the town of Dedham was settled (1636) the First Church and Parish in Dedham was founded on November 8, 1638. It was established as a completely independent or Puritain Church without any affiliation to a religous organization. First Church is closely intertwined with the history of Dedham. The first tax-supported, free and public school in the United States was built in 1644 and stood on the Church grounds, while the town's first public library was in the minister's office (and later the church vestry) from 1795 to 1855. During the 1918 influenza epidemic the Parish House was converted into a temporary hospital for the town.
As any attorney who has studied in Massachusetts knows, "The Dedham Decision" was based on whether the First Church and Parish or Allen Congregational Church (at that time First Church of Christ) owned the church property including all assets and the sliver. The 1820 State Supreme Court awarded all property to First Church and Parish, however the church silver was hidden until 1969 when it was given to the Dedham Historical Society sighting The Historical Society as the only non-biased representation of the History of Dedham.
The Dedham Food Pantry was founded after a 1989 sermon at First Church inspired parisioners to address issues of hunger in our town. In 2010 the First Church and Parish in Dedham became an offical Welcoming Congregation. And in 2010 First Church and Parish in Dedham became the home for the Dedham Farmer's Market.