The Rev. Abishai Alden was the fifth pastor of
the Montville Center Congregational Church (Montville, CT).
During the pastorate of Reverend Alden, one of the most phenomenal things
to occur to this church happened.
On May 23rd, 1823,
according to the New England Farmer Newspaper, the following event took
“On Sunday afternoon this vicinity was visited by a
thunderstorm which prostrated several barns, fences, trees, &tc, and
occasioned other destruction. At
Montville, while the Rev. Pastor of the church in that place was directing the
attention of his flock to the tempest by reading the hymn which
“Methinks the last great day has come
Methinks I hear the trumpet sound
That shakes the earth, rends every tomb
And wakes the prisoners underground.”
(sung to the tune of “Old
Hundreth” – a.k.a.“The Doxology”)
A bolt of lightning struck the cupola of the meetinghouse,
shattered the belfry, shivered several of the posts and pews in the interior,
and instantly killed Mrs. Bradford, a widow aged 72, and Mary Comstock, a child
of nine years of age, and injured several other persons.”
Caroline Chester Comstock was prostrated by this
stroke, but survived and lived to a ripe old age.
Immediately following this awful event was the most powerful revival ever
enjoyed by this church.
The Montville Center Congregational Church was founded in 1722,
and continues today as the Oakdale Community Church.
Rev. Kenneth D. Beres served as the pastor of the Montville Center
Congregational Church from 1970 to 1978.