The History of Bridgeport Presbyterian Church
In the the spring of 1971, five families met with Steven Reppert, a representative from Grafton Presbytery, to express their desire to establish a Presbyterian Church in Bridgeport. Several meetings were held with various Presbytery representatives who provided advice for the correct procedures of a church development. Later, those families met with Mr. J. Grotenthaller, a representative from the Synod of the Trinity. By this time, several more interested people had joined the original group and it was decidedto move forward with starting the church.
On September 22, 1974, the first open meeting took place at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church on Hall Street. After securing 100 names on a petition, Grafton Presbyterian appointed an Administrative Commission to assist in the establishment of a church and on December 22, 1974, the Bridgeport United Presbyterian Church was chartered with 96 members.
In December of 1974, a Pastor Nominating Committee was elected to secure the services of a full time pastor. In January of 1975, the church elected a Session of ten men and two women, organized a church school, and continued conducting services each Saturday at St. Barnabas EpiscopalChurch.
On September 7, 1975, the Reverend E. Merlin Withrow was installed as the first pastor by the Grafton Presbytery. On October 12, 1975, the Session and congregation gratefully accepted the conveyance of a tract ofland from Mr. and Mrs. C.E. Compton as a site for its future home. A building committee was elected and began planning for a permanent structure that would house this growing and vibrant new Church family.
After months spent developing a master plan for building, ground was broken on July 25, 1976, and on August 20, 1978, the church family took part in the laying of the cornerstone. The first worship service in the new church took place on Sunday, October 22, 1978, with 141 members and friendsin attendance.
March 25, 1979, was set aside for a Service of Dedication. Grafton Presbytery conducted a morning service, and open house was held during the afternoon, and the day was concluded with a Service of Thanksgiving.
Another groundbreaking ceremony took place on May 7, 1989, for the Manse. The new home for the Pastor and his family was completed in the fall of 1989.