History

Stratham Church Covenant of 1746

(Transcribed from Rev. Joseph Adams’ entry in Stratham Church’s official records 1746 and signed by the church members)

And having now, as we hope sincerely, given of ourselves to the Lord Savior Jesus Christ in an everlasting covenant to be guided and governed by him, we this day renew the dedication of ourselves to him and covenant with one another in manner following:

We so solemnly and sincerely give ourselves to the Lord Jehovah, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost and avouch him this day to be our Father, our savior, redeemer, and leader and receive him as our portion forever.

We give ourselves to the ever blessed Jesus who is the Lord Jehovah and adhere to him as the head of his church and people in the covenant of grace and rely on him as our prophet, priest, and king to bring us to eternal blessedness.

We give ourselves to the Holy Spirit who is Lord Jehovah and rely on him to sanctify us more and more and to lead us into all truth. We esteem it our honor and happiness to the glorified God and be dedicated to him and acknowledge our obligation to deny all ungodliness and worldly lust, to live soberly, righteously, and Godly in the present world, participating in the duties of the church and state as a body of people assembled for an obedience to him in all ordinances of the Gospels depending on his gracious affirmation for our faithful discharge of the duties incumbent on us.

We desire and covenant with dependence on his promised grace to walk together as a church of the Lord Jesus Christ in the faith and order of the gospel so far as the same shall be revealed unto us conscientiously by attending the Sabbath worship, the sacraments of the New Testament, the discipline of his kingdom, and all his holy institutions in communion with one another while our opportunities to be edified together continues and watchfully avoid all sinful stumbling blocks and contentions as becomes a people whom the Lord has bound up in the bundle of life.

At the same time, we do also present our offspring unto the Lord. Purposing by his help to do our parts in the methods of a religious education that they may be the Lord’s.

And all this we do flying to the blood of the everlasting covenant for the pardon of our many errors. Praying that the glorious Lord, who is the Great Shepherd would prepare and strengthen us for every good word and work to do his will working in us that which is well pleasing in his sight. This Jesus Christ to whom be glory forever amen.

THE STRATHAM COMMUNITY CHURCH

        These verses are dedicated to those Clergy who served faithfully and to those men and women who from the first pastor kept the Old Church running.

By JOHN F. EMERY, January 1, 1943

THE OLD CHURCH ON THE HILL

Long years have passed and so have men

Since the Reverend Henry Rust;

Came here to preach to our forebears

That “in god to put their trust.”

These forebears were the pioneers

Who settled long ago,

From Wheelwright’s Creek in Exeter

To Brandy Rock below.

It truly is a long way back

Since the preaching here began;

From the days of Henry Rust,

To those of Stevenson.

Most of these Clergy are

Now beneath the sod.

While here they sowed the seeds of righteousness

As they preached the Word of God.

When Rust became disabled

Joseph Adams stepped right in,

But he had trouble with the Deacons,

About a violin.

Now their voices are hushed forever

From their lips there comes no sound,

For they are buried near together

In God’s consecrated ground.

The third in line was Miltimore

A man of high degree.

A graduate of Dartmouth,

A college man was he.

Now cometh Jacob Cummings –

Not the one who dug the well!

He told how the righteous went to Heaven

And the wicked, shall I tell?

When Cummings went, then Newman came

To preach through snow and rain.

He reached the heart of every one

For not one of them complained.

After Newman, came the Rev. Whittemore

Who led a spotless life.

Although each evening with the Sinclair girls

They smoked tobacco in their pipes.

Some people think it is a sin

For ladies now to smoke.

But the T. D. pipe of long ago

Was used by the woman folk.

Then cometh a man of iron

By the name of John M. Steele.

He, was a man of action

And his preaching quite genteel.

The eight in line was a good preacher

But, somehow failed to get a start

Someone cut the anchor rope

And they drifted Miles apart.

Goodrich stayed for a few years,

Served both the bread and wine,

Until Peabody moved to the parsonage

        In Eighteen Sixty-Nine.

Now Peabody was quite a different man

He wore no frills or frocks

About, the last we truly think –

To preach Old Fashion Orthodox.

Now he and Mother Peabody,

And all their children five;

Of this splendid family,

Not one is alive.

After Peabody came the Rev. Savory

Who bought a giving box;

And asked a tenth of their income

From the members of his flock.

The box, still hangs upon the wall,

Just a memory of the past;

It seldom held the ten percent

That Parson Savory asked.

Rev.  Mr. Foss, a shoemaker by trade

Who the soles of shoes did bend.

But he left this occupation;

To shape the Souls of men.

Now from the pasture of the Lord

Came the Reverend Daniel Green.

His stay with us was cut short by death,

As he passed to the Great Unseen.

The Bible tells us of the flood

And the Ark that Noah did make,

History again repeats itself

Over Stratham rolls a Lake.

The Reverend Bernard Copping;

An Englishman by birth;

He preached most excellent sermons

Intermingled with much mirth.

Then came a gallant Sailor;

Courageous, kind and true.

Like Noah, he got all aboard his craft

But they left him, two by two.

Then called was the Reverend John LeRoy

With his family of note.

He preached, as he would talk to us,

Many poems did he quote.

For many years he stayed with us,

While at last, his life hung by a thread;

He is still with us asleeping

In the city of our dead.

After LeRoy came Marshall Stevenson

Who got the people out;

The monument he left behind

Was the training of the Scout.

Now if you count these parsons,

It will be clearly seen;

That those upon the payrolls

Have numbered just nineteen.

Of this number the Church records

Quite a different story tells;

The supplies added to the regulars

The total number swells.

So we write the names of Smith and Hill

And when this thing is done;

These added to the regulars,

Makes the total twenty-one.

When the church had lost its Shepherd;

And the flock were wont to stray,

It was a good old Parson Thompson

      That turned them to the straight and narrow way.

He was just a Country Parson.

Many a marriage knot did tie,

And he prayed with those in trouble

When men and women died.

In coming down this long list of clergy

Of my memory, I am ashamed;

One preacher I’ve forgotten.

You, may substitute the name.

And if you start to criticize,

May I say this to you?

Remember what the Savior said;

“They know not what they do.”

You, are the last to come among us,

And we wish to have you know;

That we extend a hearty welcome,

Both to you and Mrs. Snow.

And as you toil among us,

May our hearts with warmth o’er flow;

To keep, the frigid icicles

From forming over the “Snow.”

Let us stop, and look and listen

And be sure we are justified.

Before, on the cross of gossip

The minister crucify.

The old church still stands upon the hill,

A monument of trust,

To those pious men who builded her,

Long since returned to dust.

The spire still pointing heavenward,

With its vane, swinging to and fro,

Was placed there by Joseph Emery,

Many a year ago.

Most of the men and women who kept her running,

Like the Clergy, now sleep beneath the sod,

While their spirits rest in Heaven

In the arms of a loving God.

Let us then be up and doing,

With a courage and a will;

To keep, the Old Church running,

The Old Church on the Hill.

 

 

Addendum

By: Lucy Cushman

Recently our old church

Has called the Reverend Jonathan Roach

He has traveled from Michigan and Florida to be

Our spiritual coach; Open and Affirming

Welcome to all; A preschool, a shelter

A sanctuary and meeting house

300 years behind us and; So much more to be done

Welcome to the Roaches

Esther, Grace, and Jonathan

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