NORTH SMITHFIELD â€” The first church service ever held in the Slatersville Congregational Church took place on Sunday, Nov. 2, 1838. That year, Martin Van Buren was president, Samuel Morse's telegraph system was demonstrated for the first time and the population of North Smithfield's Slatersville village was less than 500 people.
Since then the picturesque church, located on the common in the center of Slatersville, has been the spiritual home to thousands of area residents, a cherished town landmark, and a community gathering place hosting a variety of local groups and public events.
To commemorate the 175th anniversary of the church building, the congregation is carrying out a much needed exterior facelift to kick off a year-long celebration of activities open to the public. As an historic building, the churchâ€™s exterior has weathered many a storm, including the hurricane of 1938, which toppled its steeple.
After a great deal of research the church selected a permanent paint-like product called Rhino Shield to restore and preserve the appearance of the historic building for many years to come.
With that process now complete, attention has turned to replacing the large 50-pane double-hung windows that were last replaced in 1938.
â€śWe have spent the last several years beautifying our church from the inside out by growing the congregation and expanding its outreach, missions and caring programs,â€ť said Rev. Eileen Morris. â€śThis is the year to focus on beautifying the church from the outside in and we welcome the broader community of North Smithfield to join us.â€ť
The churchâ€™s Capital Campaign Committee has set a goal of $175,000 for 175 years and is inviting residents and community groups who utilize or appreciate the facilities to join with the congregation in helping to preserve the historic landmark for future generations.
Interested parties can learn more about the renovations at the churchâ€™s website at www.slatersvillechurch.org. They can also send tax deductible donations to the church office at P.O. Box 808, Slatersville, RI 02876.