DOVER — The Dover Bible Church will celebrate 175 years of serving Christ in the small village of Dover on Sunday. Originally known as the First Congregational Church of Dover, the name was changed to Dover Bible Church in 2011.
The Dover church was organized in 1838 by the Rev. Lucian Farnham,of Princeton, who was prevailed upon by nine members of Princeton Congregational Church to secure a separate charter for Dover members. The original charter, which was drawn up at the home of Joseph H. Brigham, two miles west of Dover, was signed by Eli O. Thorp, Lydia Thorp, Lyman Stowell, Sylvester Brigham Sr., Eliza Brigham, Joseph H. Brigham, Amanda Stowell, Wealthy Poole and Oramel A. Smith.
For 10 years, church was held in a school house located near the east corner of the park in Dover. In 1850, a new brick building was built. The Rev. Edwin G. Smith was the first pastor in the new church, and it was under his leadership that the church became self-supporting. Eighty new members were added during the first few years of service in the new building.
The church has seen many repairs and changes over the years. In 1905, the church was enlarged and changed to much what it looks like now. In 1927, a basement was excavated under the church to accommodate a furnace and space for a kitchen and dining room. In 1977, they added Fellowship Hall which has a big kitchen and dining room upstairs and Sunday school rooms and the pastor’s office in the basement. And in 1995, they started another project of remodeling and repairing some much needed work that resulted in a beautiful facelift.
The physical work of the church is ongoing, but that isn’t the focus of the church body. The focus is to win souls for Christ. That is what the church’s forefathers desired, and that is what the church still desires. Through the 175 years of existence, the torch was passed from one generation to the next to keep the love and faithfulness of God glowing. It is a rarity in this day and age to cherish and cling to the foundation that one’s forefathers built so that the Word of God could be heard throughout the generations.