The present Congregational Church was built in 1831, the same year as the old Meetinghouse was removed from Meetinghouse Hill on now Dayton Road. Much of the material from the old building was incorporated into the new building. The Church was designed by Ira Atwater, but it has been said that David Hoadley, the distinguished architect, sat on the advisory committee.

It is a typical New England Meetinghouse, airy and simple with eight windows on each side. The bell was installed in 1851 and in the renovation of 1866 the wide portico across the front was enclosed to enlarge the vestibule, the interior galleries were lowered, the windows in the back removed, and the old pews with doors were replaced. Some of the pew doors are preserved in the wainscot of the present choir loft. The handsome chandelier incorporated an early kerosene lamp wired for electricity. The lantern hanging outside the main doors is said to be original and a string of dog-tooth moulding appears in the frieze on the facade.

The steeple was repaired in 1930 and in 1931 the church was moved back a number of feet when Amity Road was widened. Redecoration of the interior and the installation of central heating in 1949 was followed in 1963 and 1970 by further renovations.

Church History

The histories of Bethany and the Bethany church are intertwined, which is to be expected of a Connecticut town and a church whose origin goes back to pre-Revolutionary times.

The territory of Bethany was included in a purchase made from the Indians on behalf of the town of Milford and New Haven.

A petition to the General Assembly in 1762 by the people living in the northern part of the Woodbridge Parish says that “by reason of the length of the parish from the north to the south, those living in the northern part of the parish were much inconvenienced to attend public worship on account of the great distance to travel.” They prayed for the parish to be divided. Permission was granted that same year and Bethany was incorporated as a parish. It became a town in 1832 and the present town of Bethany boundaries follow the same lines as the old parish lines.

A meeting house was built in 1769 about one mile south of the present building. Between 1762 and 1769, winter services were held in a school house. The present house was erected in 1831 and has been kept much as it was originally built. A fine parish building was attached to the rear of the church in 1954.

The church has not been without the usual old parish difficulties. In the early 1800’s there was a split and about half the members left to become Episcopalians. In 1830, a number of Congregationalists and Episcopalians left the old churches and started a Methodist Church which was abandoned in the 1950’s.