Church History

The Wildermere Beach Congregational Church dates back to 1895, at which time it was a community meeting place for religious and legal meetings. In 1923 it became the Walnut Beach Union Chapel Society, Inc. In 1943 it was accepted into membership of the Connecticut Conference of Congregational Churches and later changed its name to Wildermere Beach Congregational Church.

The original structure was simply the "meeting house" building, but in 1924 a kitchen was constructed with a furnace room in between. The furnace room also was used as a Sunday School teaching area along with the church proper. In the late 1940's a raised ranch style parsonage was built next to the church. This was one of the first raised ranch style homes in the area. In 1950 an addition was erected to the church creating a parish hall. In 1967 a building program was instituted for another addition. The addition was finished in 1968 and added a small chapel, a congregational living room and a church school nursery on the first floor, an office and pastor's study on the second floor.

During the early years of WBCC the church was served by visiting pastors and students from Yale Divinity School. One of the earliest preachers was The Reverend Howard C. Meserve who later became Head Librarian of the Taylor Library, in the building housing the Chamber of Commerce in Milford center.

The Wildermere Beach Congregational Church has always been community involved. The Good Shepherd Day Care Center had its birth at this church as a church-related outreach program. The original Board of Directors were all members and friends of the church. For the first years it was entirely supported by church donations and volunteer staff, but the need was greater for a full time center and it became state-funded and remained meeting at the church until the child population became too great for the size of the building.

For several years the church provided free Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for anyone who wished to attend. This ministry became a part of the outreach of the Berean Assembly of God Church on New Haven Avenue in later years.

Reference- Kelsey, Virginia. 2004. Sand In Our Shoes: A Narrative and Pictorial History of Walnut Beach – Myrtle Beach, Milford Connecticut. 1st Edition. Photo Restoration & Design. P382-84.

Church Leaders

1895 Visiting pastors from neighboring towns

1905-1928 Rev. Howard Meserve

Nov. 1928 - Jun. 1929 Rev. Paul Keckley

Jun. 1929 - Oct. 1929 Rev. Donald Salmon

Oct. 1929 - Aug. 1930 Rev. C. G. Christensen

Aug. 1930 - Dec. 1930 Rev. J.E. Walters

Dec. 1930 - Jun. 1932 Rev. F. B . Loper

Jun. 1932 - May 1934 Rev. Walter Moore

May 1934 - May 1936 Rev. Curtiss Jones

Jun. 1936 - Sep. 1936 Rev. William Henderson

Sep. 1936 - Sep. 1937 Rev. Russell Compton

Sep. 1937 - Apr. 1937 Rev. Howard Mumnia

Apr. 1937 - Oct. 1937 Students from Yale Divinity

Oct. 1937 - Jan. 1941 Rev. William West

Jan. 1941 - Jun. 1941 Rev. E. C. Rowand

Jun. 1941 - Sep. 1943 Rev. Bryan Eshelman

Sep.1943 - May 1944 Rev. Avery Lee

Jun. 1944 - Aug. 1945 Rev. E. Weldon Keckley

Sep. 1945 - Jan. 1946 Supply Pastors

Feb. 1946 - Sep. 1951 Rev. William Knox

Oct. 1951 - Apr. 1952 Dr. Warren W. Pickett

May 1952 - Aug. 1955 Rev. Howard 0. Steams, Jr.

Sep. 1955 - Jun. 1958 Rev. William B. Bradshaw

Summer 1958 Rev. Robert Watson

Aug. 1958 - Jan. 1959 Candidates

Feb. 1959 - Mar. 1964 Rev. Elmer Patterson

Apr. 1964 - Aug. 1964 Rev. John Smith

Sep. 1964 - Jun. 1973 Rev. Robert H. Anderson

Jun. 1973 - Aug. 1973 Supply Pastors

Sep. 1973 - Jun. 1974 William C. Matthews

Jun. 1974 - Jul. 1985 Rev. Hartford C. Inlow

Aug. 1985 - Jun. 1986 Rev. L. Randall Thompson

Aug. 1986 - Jan. 1993 Rev. Douglas P Lyon

1993 - 1995 Rev. David Colton (Interim)

1995 - 1996 Supply Preachers

Sep. 1996 - Aug. 2001 Rev. Arthur F. White

Sep. 2001 - Apr. 2012 Rev. John B. Thursby

Jun. 2012 - present Rev. L. Kenneth Fellenbaum