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.