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The Yankee Express

‘Tee it up’ in support of Sutton First Congregational’s 300th anniversary

Stately looking, the First Congregational Church on Boston Road in Sutton is celebrating a 300th anniversary with a fundraising golf tournament at Blissful Meadows on September 11

of a three-phase “renewing, restoring and rejoicing” fundraising campaign in 2019 by a committee consisting of Glenn Anderson, Russ Kassatly, Todd Mitchell, Scott Paul, Marty Shaw and Gary Verrill.
Throughout its storied life, First Congregational has benefitted from such gifts as stained-glass windows and a communion table; its pipe organ was a dream of Grace Mills Jordan, a former church organist and teacher, who, in starting a bank account in 1939 for eventual purchase of the instrument said “not in my day but perhaps in yours.” The pipe organ became a reality in 1971.
As Rick Stockhaus and Bruce Smythe related to the Blackstone Valley Xpress, the push is on to raise monies in order to continue enhancements that have already been done to the church, or that are underway, such as a freshly painted ceiling and a rebuilt steeple.
To realize its fundraising goal, and to commemorate the church’s 300th anniversary, First Congregational is hosting a golf tournament at Blissful Meadows in Uxbridge on September 11. The event was supposed to be held last year but was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Mr. Stockhaus and Mr. Smythe are on the Golf Committee, along with Hope Stockhaus, Judy Allison, Doug Reid and Brian Cornwall.
The tournament provides companies with “a unique opportunity” to reach clients in multiple ways including through local media recognition and signage, networking, and dinner and socializing after play is concluded, Mr. Stockhaus and Mr. Smythe said. 
“We have done rather well with sponsorships so far,” Mr. Smythe said on July 8.
Businesses that have stepped up in support of the campaign include UniBank, for $750; Mulhane Home for Funerals, $750; Benjamin Insurance, $500; Direnzo Towing, $500; Goretti’s Supermarket, $500; Judy Allison, a parishioner who is a franchisee of three businesses (Got Junk?, Men in Kilts and Merry Maids), who contributed $300 on behalf of each of her enterprises; AJM Realty, which is paying for the hole-in-one insurance; and “a ton of hole sponsors,” he said.
The Golf Committee has left no stone unturned in the number of sponsorships it is making available to businesses that want to help: 300th Anniversary sponsor, dinner sponsor, ball-drop sponsor, outing sponsor, hole-in-one sponsor, gift-bag sponsor, tee-box sponsor, driving-range sponsor and putting green sponsor.
To further augment its restoration initiative, First Congregational is also hosting a Labor Day Pancake Breakfast and Ball Drop featuring prizes of $1500, $1000 and $500.
Each golf ball purchased will be assigned a number and dropped from a Sutton fire truck on the soccer field behind the church after the breakfast. First, second and third prizes will be awarded to the golf balls that land closest to the hole. Participants do not have to be present to win.
Ball-drop tickets may be purchased at the church, 307 Boston Road, by calling 508-865-6914, or by going to
Those interested in playing in the golf tournament can also register to do so at that web address.
Committee members “have done a phenomenal job” in promoting the church’s anniversary and fundraising efforts to support “the overall mission of the church,” which is “community-based,” Mr. Smythe said.
Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.By Rod Lee
Think of the preservation of important historic sites around the country and what almost immediately comes to mind is work done in recent years on Old Ironsides in Boston, the Statue of Liberty in New York and the Washington Monument in the nation’s capital—for instance.
Of no less significance in the town of Sutton is the First Congregational Church on Boston Road. Now three hundred years old (as of 2020), “First Church” was organized by ten members, all male, just sixteejulyn years after the town’s founding and just three years after it was settled.
First Church’s initial home, built in 1720, was located on the west side of the Common. Its second, built in 1751, was situated on the south side of the Common (that structure burned in 1828). Its current building was constructed in 1829 and has stood as “a light on the hill” ever since, with additions in 1965 and 1985.
An icon in the community as a meeting house and place of worship, First Congregational is obviously an asset that members of the church and residents of Sutton want to keep secure and hold onto. Hence the launch