By: Cathy Richards – October, 2011

Fall is here!!

This is my favorite time of year, as it is for many of you. Dracut started this fall with two spectacular events that are worth reviewing and appreciating as a reflection of the kind of community she is proud to be.

The first noteworthy event was Dracut Old Home Days on 9/10/11. The weather was perfect. There were over 200 booths, and 13,000 attendees from all over the Merrimack Valley. The day included the very popular train ride, entertainment all day at the gazebo with a welcome return of Snow White and the Dracut High School marching band, and the expansive antique car show. Dracut Firefighter Activity day is also included. It is nice to see such community support for local vendors and entertainers.

This year the private group that organizes the event did decide to eliminate any political groups from having booths.

Normally the Dracut Republican Town Committee and the Dracut Democratic Town Committee have participated however last year seemed to be highly political for some of the attendees due to the inordinate number of candidates who had booths.

Last year, the political climate leant itself to many candidates running for various offices and they chose to make themselves visible in events like Old Home Days. I am hopeful that the town committees, as elected bodies of the town, will be able to again participate next year.

The event is held on (public) town property. Some have commented that the organizing committee’s decision to not include political entities is a violation of free speech. Although I do understand that the organizers were trying to address concerns by attendees who were vocal about their displeasure, I also do feel the elected groups who work in town should be able to participate in town wide events.

The other noteworthy event is the 300th anniversary of “The Old Yellow Meeting House,” now known as Christ Church United. This congregation hails back to an origination by Thomas Parker, who, at age 19, started a small congregation where now Lowell General Hospital stands. At that time, local Native Americans still fished at the falls and Dracut’s boundaries extended to the banks of the Merrimack River where the ferry crossings were eventually built before the bridges.

I am sure that little band of Christians could tell us incredible stories of their day.

This church has an interesting history, including the eventual merger in 1969 with the Hillside Church in Dracut. It has been a landmark to its residents and travelers for many generations and has been a beacon of hope throughout the town’s history. It has been in continuous service for 300 years which is a testament to the congregation and the pastors who have served.

Rev. Larry Zimmerman most recently retired from CCU after 30 years of service and the congregation has welcomed a new pastor, Rev. Vanessa Bostick, who hails all the way from Texas. The church serves the community annually with a Christmas Dinner that is open to the public, and is especially for those who do not have family to share the day with.

The organizers of the 300th anniversary events are putting together a historical book that will highlight many of this year’s anniversary events and will be available for purchase in time for Christmas in 2012. This is good news for those of you who start your Christmas shopping in the summer!

I have a special fondness for CCU as my Richardson family’s roots have always been in that church. The cathedral chimes in the sanctuary were donated by my father, Roscoe Richardson, Jr., in honor of my grandparents, Roscoe and Euphemia Richardson, in 1983 and the renovations and addition to the church in 1989 were funded in part by a gift from my father’s estate after his death. My father was a person who took his faith seriously and was generous to those in need without any recognition, fanfare or accolades. The good people of CCU are like him and do the work of angels in our town without a lot of reward. Thank you to the congregation at CCU and congratulations on your 300th birthday!