Milford church continues speaker series

MILFORD – In the 19th century adults in the Milford area who were hungry to learn more about the world didn’t need to go further than the First Congregational Church.

At that time the Milford church was part of a flourishing lyceum movement that had spread through New England.

Lecturers, entertainers and readers would travel the “lyceum circuit,” from town to town.

Milford’s original lyceum was co-founded in 1831 by the Rev. Humphrey H. Moore, Milford’s first settled pastor, and the church featured some of the most interesting speakers of the day.

The church’s lyceums continued until 1857, with speakers who included Henry Ward Beecher, William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Russell Lowell, Theodore Parker and Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Two years ago the church brought back the lyceum in honor of its 225th anniversary, with speakers who focused on the history of First Congregational Church and the influence of Congregationalism on New England towns.

In 2015 it is doing it again. The first speaker will be on Tuesday, Jan. 13 when David Palance, president of the Milford Historical Society, will speak on “Hits and Misses: Looking for Lost Graves.”

All the lyceum programs will be held on the second Tuesday of the month at the church’s Parish House, at 10 Union Street, beginning at 7:30 p.m. and they are all free and the public is invited.

On Tuesday, Feb. 10 the church’s interim pastor, Dr. Alex Gondola, will speak on “Temperance Advocacy in the Life and Career of The Rev. Humphrey Moore.”

Here is the First Congregational Church Lyceum schedule for 2015:

? Jan. 13, David Palance, “Hits and Misses: Looking for Lost Graves.”

? Feb. 10, Dr. Alex Gondola, “Temperance Advocacy in the Life and Career of The Rev. Humphrey Moore.”

? March 10, Scott Whittier, “Great Churches of Europe”

? April 14, Judy Zano, “The Choices We Make: Reflections on the Holocaust.”

? May 12, Dr. David and Permilia Sears, “The Flow of Hymnody through the Ages.”

? June 9, Ross Whittier, “Ancient Engineers of the Andes.”

? July 14, Polly Cote, “American Indians in Milford.”

? Aug. 11, Andrea Guidoboni, “Apro’Poe’s: Highlights from the Life of Edgar Allan Poe.”

? Sept. 8, Joel Mitchell, “Pilgrims and Puritans.”

? Oct. 13, Brian Whittier, “Gaudi and La Sagrada Familia.

? Nov. 10, Karl Dahlen, “Shanghaied: Impressions of a 21st Century Traveler.”