Dedham’s church community has made significant contributions to the town’s and nation’s history.

Allin Church

Built in 1818 by conservative breakaway members of Dedham’s First Church and Parish.

Allin Church, named after its first pastor, the Rev. John Allin, was founded as one of the oldest congregations in New England.  First gathered in November of 1638 as one church with, what is now, First Church UUA, our joint history runs back to the Puritans who came to the new land in pursuit of religious freedom.  In 1818, as an out growth of the rapidly increasing diversity of religious and political opinion among New England Congregationalists, the more conservative membership of the First Parish Church of Dedham (as it was called at that time) moved their meetings across the street to the former house of Jason Haven, a former pastor of the original united church.

As the Allin Congregation grew the Haven house became inadequate and, in 1819 a smaller version of the current building was constructed. The sanctuary was built, minus the bell tower which was added later. Over the course of decades more additions were added to accommodate the needs of a growing congregation, the most recent of which being the Bullard St entrance including an elevator to make us all accessible.

St. Paul’s Church

An Episcopal Church established in Dedham in 1758.

St Paul’s began on July 12, 1758 when the frame of a wooden church was raised in Dedham for a small band of about a dozen Church of England families. The church was made of rough boards, measured only 30 x 40 feet, and had no seats. Although the small band of Loyalists had been worshiping in houses in Dedham and Stoughton, the building of the church here was made possible by Samuel Colburn’s generous bequest of land for the founding of an Episcopal Church in Dedham. The new church was initially supported by Old North, Boston, Trinity Church, Boston, and Christ Church, Quincy, all Loyalist churches.

St. Mary of the Assumption

An Episcopal Church established in Dedham in 1758.

The history of St. Mary’s Parish goes back much farther than 1866. Town history records the presence in 1758 of 11 Catholics – “Acadians” – who were allowed harbor in town as “French Neutrals.” They were indeed homeless, because Acadia, or Nova Scotia, had become a British Colony and many Frenchmen had been deported by the British because of grave doubts regarding their loyalty to King George II. There was no Catholic Church in Dedham where these Acadians could worship, and no priest to offer them solace, but the town recognized their religion and gave them refuge.

Church of the Good Shepherd

An Episcopal Church established in Dedham in 1758.

On June 8th, 1873, The Church of the Good Shepherd was started as a Sunday School mission of St. Paul’s Church in Dedham. Three weeks after the Sunday School, an evening service was held with 100 people in attendance on the first day.

Mrs. Chickering, a Dedham resident, was instrumental in starting the church sewing society. One evening, Mrs. Chickering asked everyone at the sewing society to suggest a neame for the church and asked them to bring a slip of paper with a suggested name. The following week, women in the group brought names on unsigned slips of paper. Mrs. Chickering began reading the names on the slips of paper. She read the name St. Barnabas and there was some consent from the ladies that St. Barnabas was a good name. Another slip of paper read “Good Shepherd”. At once, Mrs. Chickering said that Good Shepherd would be the most appropriate name for a Church built for people who had no pastor or shepherd. In May of 1877 the church became a self supporting parish and was admitted to the Diocese of Massachusetts.

The Church of the Good Shepherd was built in 1876 and still maintains some of its original architecture, which includes a bell tower. The sanctuary features a high ceiling lined with beautiful stained glass windows depicting the life of Jesus and the parish history. These include the Good Shepherd window located behind the alter and an original Tiffany window. There is a beautiful, intimate chapel. All of these inspire us with their beauty and scope.