1790: Jesse Lee, a Methodist circuit rider, came for the first time into Connecticut. He preached in many places and in some, not all, was successful in initiating a Methodist society. Among those was Tolland and Square Pond (an early name for Crystal Lake), and thus a group of people, gathering together to pray and worship, founded our Church.
1792: The people worshipping together form a Church and they feel the need of a place to worship. John Carter, whose house still stands below the Conklin residence on South Road, donated a flat piece of land on Sandy Beach Road and the Church builds a meeting house.
1794: The circuit riders come and serve the needs of the community, but it is a long journey. At Square pond, our people build a parsonage to house the circuit riders when they are in this area. It is the first Methodist Parsonage built in New England and many authorities say the first in the East. (This building can be seen today across the street from our Church.)
1829: The meeting house at Square Pond burns to the ground. It must be rebuilt, but the congregation quarrels as to how it should be done.
1835: A split in the congregation has not been healed, so two Churches are formed. Two meeting houses are built, one on each side of Sandy Beach Road. A time of rebuilding and joy, but a time of sadness as well.
1863: Our country is divided by a great "Civil War", brother against brother, father against son. At Square Pond, our people are still divided into two congregations. Both are small and neither congregation can do more than barely survive.
1887 - 1896: Neither congregation has the strength to continue. The doors of both meeting houses are closed. There is no Church at Square Pond except in the hearts of a few.
1897: The presiding elder, Mr. Bates, attaches the Crystal Lake Church to the Stafford Springs charge. The Reverend J. L. Bartholemew holds a service at the meeting house on June 27, 1897. Both congregations respond as 75 people attend. A Sunday School is organized; a board of Trustees is elected and Ladies' Aid started. Average attendance for the year: 70 during the summer and 50 during the winter. A rift has been repaired. Our Church is rebuilt.
1951: The old Adventist Church is now used as a Community Building. It is moved across the street and placed next to the Church building.
1966: The First Parsonage, long in other hands, is purchased and moved onto Church property, adjacent to the parking lot. This building is cared for by the Historical Society.
2010: This is an exciting year for us. We will be making final plans to expand our Community Building and join the Church to it. This will make the Church handicap accessible for all. Our hope is to expand our congregation and our food pantry to meet the need of our community.
2011: The church was one, then broke into two after not being able to decide how to rebuild from a fire. Now after many, many years of the churches being divided with two separate buildings, they will once again become one whole church. This is an exciting time for all of us!
2015: The church is now 225 years old. We will celebrate in September (and throughout this year) with special events highlighting her history. In September the Bishop of the New England Annual Conference will be joining us for celebrating worship, and a wonderful fun filled weekend.