The Early Church in Jackson (nee Adams)
The first church organization in what is now Jackson was the Church of Christ, a Free Will Baptist Church with a building at the intersection of Wilson Road and Route 16B within the area known as the triangle. It was founded in 1803 and lead for many years by Elder Daniel Elkins of Gilmanton. The church was served by elders and lay preachers who were licensed locally and regionally.
However, all meetings from 1804 to 1844 were held in homes or in schoolhouses. Several references are made in various meeting minutes to the evils of strong spirits. In fact, two members, including Elder Elkins, were admonished for actions resulting from their use. It is ironic that the church building in the triangle should be moved to the Perkins Cottages, now the Christmas Farm Inn, where it housed a bar and lounge.
Protestant Chapel Association
On February 28, 1846, “A number of the citizens of the Town of Jackson assembled at the school house in District No. 1 for the purpose of consulting on the best method of erecting a house for religious worship.” After being called to order, they elected a chairman and a clerk. They then voted to erect the House in the ensuing summer and to divide it into 42 shares, each to entitle the owner to one vote. At the next meeting on March 7, the amount of a note on each share was set at $20.
Two weeks later, the group met and the planning committee presented a plan for the proposed House with the recommendation that the Methodist Chapel at Fryeburg be the model. This building still stands on Route 302 as the Grange Hall. There is no evidence that those who formed the Protestant Chapel Association broke away from the church at the triangle. Instead, it appears that the congregation for a time alternated between the two places of worship.
The House was constructed during the summer and fall months. Lemuel Perkins was paid $78 to erect the frame of the building, while Ozum Davis and Daniel Smith received $777.50 for finishing the house. Joseph Elkins paid $36.63 for the underpinning, and F.C. Ayers made and hung the blinds for $44. The total cost of construction was $1,003.90.
A public auction of pews was held on December 19 with an average price of $27.57 being paid for a pew. A change in the Association’s By-laws in 1996 eliminated the public auctioning of pews owned by the Association. This change brought the By-laws into agreement with the vote of the owners that these pews were to be offered by the Directors to members of the Jackson Community Church.
The first recorded meeting of the new Free Will Baptist Church in Jackson, which succeeded the church at the triangle, carries the date of April 7, 1855. On April 14, it was voted to dissolve the church in the triangle. The new record book referenced in the meeting of April 14 is the record book for the Free Will Baptist Church in Jackson, which used the Protestant Chapel until 1951.
In 1950, however, the Directors of the Protestant Chapel Association sought a change in direction for the Chapel with respect to the Baptist Church. At a meeting of pew owners on January 6, 1951, eighteen owners voted four and two voted against a motion that, “the PCA (Protestant Chapel Association) allow the Jackson Church and parsonage to be used by a Community Church Organization, organized under the direction of the New Hampshire Council of Churches.” Thus, the Jackson Community Church was duly authorized to enjoy a home, which enjoyment continues to the present day.
The first action of the new congregation was to appoint a committee to recommend the denominational affiliation for the new community church. Four denominational representatives were heard – Unitarian, Universalist, Congregational, and Baptist. Having just displaced a Baptist Church, this last could well have been a public relations action. True to the spirit of self-determination, the Congregational “affiliation” was selected. This continued until 1981 when the adoption of the current by-laws established the Jackson Community Church as a member church of the United Church of Christ.
A parish house addition was constructed at the rear of the church in 1983 according to plans drawn by Bill Browne. The building was dedicated on December 19, 1983.
Adapted from, "Jackson Community Church, 150th year Celebration of a Protestant Chaapel in Jackson"