(Our original church community worshiped in a small meeting house built in 1793 by a special town meeting vote. That first one was the town church and was supported by the taxpayers for the next 17 years. That co-mingled church and state existence will be the subject of another Back Story in the future.)
In 1810 a small Bradford group banded together and organized the Calvinistic Congregational Church of Christ. The name would change a couple of times but we have always carried the title of Congregational Church.
That first name, however, indicated the theological seriousness with which the society took its faith. The showy “high church” traditions were not what they wanted. John Calvin, a great conservative theologian, maintained that only what is found in the Word of God may be introduced into the worship of God.
The Introit now sung by our choir every Sunday to start our worship service would not have been a part of the worship in our original Calvinistic Congregational Church. Such a song would have been considered “Lutheran” because Lutherans believed that what is not strictly forbidden in the Word of God may be allowed in the worship of God.
*A careful yet very important distinction to our church’s theologically-conservative founders*
“Introit” comes from the Latin Introitus meaning entrance and was the musical introduction to the liturgical (scripted) celebration of the Catholic Mass and was retained by the Lutherans after the protestant reformation sparked by the priest Martin Luther.
Introits were also retained by the Anglicans and were common in the time of Elizabeth I. Our Puritan ancestors (called Separatists in England) dropped the Introit and any rituals not explicitly defined as pure and genuine and permitted.
It would take another 100 years before our faith family relaxed enough to let in the beauty and spiritualism of the ancient Introit.