Nashua’s United Methodist Church celebrates 150th anniversary with event

NASHUA – One-hundred and fifty years ago in 1868, the United Methodist Church first opened its doors to the Nashua community. According to its 1895 directory, the church was active with 700 members 27 years after its establishment.

A century-and-a-half later, the church is still active, with members celebrating its opening at an event on Saturday. Dozens of church-goers filled its pews, eager to listen to musicians perform. Among the instruments being played was an organ which has made music in the church for nearly seventy years.

Rev. Rich Cullen, who has been the church’s pastor for more than six years, said he hoped people attending the New England Roots Festival would “wander into the church” and see their concert.

“Throughout this year, we have been celebrating our 150th anniversary as a church here in downtown Nashua,” Cullen.

Cullen added that the anniversary wasn’t the only thing the church was celebrating. He said the concert also was celebrating the completion of a construction project that took about five years. The project expanded the space in front of the church, creating what Cullen calls a “green space.” Cullen called the completion “historic.”

Among the musicians was clarinet player Dale McDonald; pianist, organist and singer Emily Adams; and pianist Kara Comparetto. Adams said she has been going to the church since she first moved to Nashua in 2016. She said she wants to keep the tradition of using organs in churches alive.

“I think it is very important to continue the tradition of organ music. It’s a tradition that is dying out, and it’s very sad because there is so much beautiful and wonderful music written especially for the instrument.”

During the concert, Adams told the onlooking crowd what the organ, piano and singing pieces meant to her.

Nancy Long, who was among dozens of church-goers, said she enjoyed the concert.

“I thought it was awesome (and) outstanding.” Long said. “It’s so amazing to have this kind of talent locally, let alone in our own church.”

Daniel McDonald, son of Dale McDonald, was another person who attended the concert. He said he grew up listening to his dad play the clarinet, and that he enjoyed Saturday;s concert.

“I loved it. I always love hearing Emily play … and, of course, I’ve grown up hearing my dad play, so it was nice to hear them together. Some of the pieces I’ve never heard of before, so it was nice.” McDonald said.

Cullen added that he wants the church to continue creating milestones within the Nashua community.

“We hope that as the church and community continue to grow together that there will be a good give and take of opportunities to really celebrate,” Cullen said.