Our History
All Saints' History

All Saints' Circa 1910

Our lovely parish, located in Attleboro, Massachusetts, celebrated its 100th birthday in 1990. Throughout these years there has been a lot of history maintained. Read on to see how All Saints' Episcopal Church came into existence in 1890 and how it has grown in God's love throughout the years!

The Reverend George E. Osgood
The Reverend Isaac T. Bagnall
The Reverend James L. Tryon
The Reverend Albert Crabtree
The Reverend Roderick Mooney
The Reverend Alwin E. Worman
The Reverend Alwin E. Worman
The Reverend Shirley B. Goodwin
The Reverend Sydney J. Browne
The Reverend Walter L. Sheppard
The Reverend Elliott F. Gauffreau
The Reverend Elliott F. Gauffreau

The Reverend T. Frederick Airey
The Reverend Bruce A. Young
The Reverend Timothy Loring
The Reverend Gregg D. Wood
The Reverend David Reed
The Reverend Dwight C. Fortune
The Reverend Dwight C. Fortune
The Reverend R. Carroll Travis
The Reverend Thomas R. White
The Reverend Thomas R. White
The Reverend Edwin Outwin

The Reverend John D. Crandall
The Reverend Daniel J. Handschy
The Reverend Doctor Anne M. Minton
The Reverend J.C. Woods
The Reverend Doctor Lance Giuffrida
The Reverend William Underhill
2007 - 2008
The Reverend Katheryn C. Keene
The Reverend Bailey O. Whitbeck
The Reverend Ronald C. Tibbetts
The Reverend Billie Mae Gordon
The Reverend Dr. Meghan T. Sweeney

All Saints' History

Our history begins in 1858 when the Rev. Julius S. Townsend began work in Attleborough. He held services with the assistance of lay readers at Dodge House in Dodgeville from the fall of 1858 until April of 1860. The records are very scant, but the Parish Records of North Attleborough, which contain joint records of the two missions (Trinity Mission, Attleborough, and Grace Mission, No. Attleborough) show fifteen baptisms, seven confirmations, one marriage and two burials.

In June of 1860 the Reverent Edward Crowley took charge of the two missions and, shortly after his arrival, transferred the place for holding services to Attleborough Falls, intending to unite the two Missions. This experiment did not prove successful and Mr. Crowley resigned in June of 1861.

From 1860 to 1862 services were held from time to time. Nothing further appears to have been done until 1872 when the Rev. Mr. Buss came to Attleborough and contacted the remaining members of Trinity Mission. Two or three meetings were held, and finally, on April 8, 1872 it was voted that "Until further arrangements, the meetings of the Church be held at the same hour and place as those of Grace Church, No. Attleborough."

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On July 6, 1890 a third attempt was made to establish an Episcopal parish in Attleborough. This new effort was initiated by the Rev. George E. Osgood, rector of Grace Episcopal Church in North Attleborough. The Reverend J. B. Wicks, General Missionary of the Diocese, held a service in the G.A.R. Hall, located on the corner of Bank and Park Streets. About fifty persons were present. After the service, several people remained and a meeting was called for the following Wednesday at the office of Dr. George K. Roberts on North Main Street, next to Centenary Methodist Church. Mr. Osgood held another service on the following Sunday, at which time the Hall was full. A meeting of interested persons was held on July 23, 1890 and a temporary organization was elected. Mr. George G. Goe, chairman; Mr. W. H. Wade, treasurer; and Dr. G. K. Roberts, secretary. At a meeting held August 26, 1890 it was decided to invite the Rev. Mr. Osgood to hold regular Sunday services for three months. When that time had expired, services having been held in the meantime in the Royal Arcanum Hall, he was asked to become Minister in Charge of the Mission now known as All Saints' Mission.

Mr. Osgood remained three years, holding afternoon services following his own services at Grace Church, North Attleborough. On several occasions the choir of Grace Church came to assist in the services. In September 1891 a hall was leased for 2 years for the exclusive use of the Mission in the Crandall Building at 40 North Main Street across from the Methodist Church. The first service in this new home was held February 14, 1892. The Sunday School was a vital part of the Mission and Dr. Walter King was the first Superintendent. Confirmation classes were held by The Rev. Mr. Osgood and the first confirmation class was confirmed by the Rt. Rev. Phillip Brooks at Grace Church.

On April 16, 1893, The Rev. Isaac T. Bagnall became Minister-in-Charge and ministered to the Mission until April 1, 1897. He was the first resident Minister-in-Charge. Rev. James L. Tryon accepted a call to serve All Saints' Mission in September of 1898 and remained until January 1907. During Mr. Tryon's ministry the vested choir of men and boys was organized under the leadership of James Pearce. The campaign to "Build the Church" was carried out during Mr. Tryon's tenure. The cornerstone of the first Episcopal Church was laid on Christmas Day, 1900 at half past nine o'clock. The Ezekiel Bates Lodge of Masons took part in this ceremony. The vested choir of men and boys sang on this occasion and the service was very impressive. This church building was consecrated November 4, 1906 by The Rt. Rev. William Lawrence, Bishop of Massachusetts.

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The Reverend Albert Crabtree succeeded Mr. Tryon in the summer of 1907 and remained until 1909 when he resigned to become a Chaplain of the State Prison in Charlestown. During his ministry, the church organ was installed in the church on County Street.

The Reverend Roderick J. Mooney came to the parish from Minnesota in 1909 and remained until the latter part of 1915. During his ministry, a rectory was required at 23 Third Street.

On June 1, 1916 The Rev. Alwin E. Worman took charge of the parish, coming from St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Dorchester, Massachusetts. The organization of this mission as a parish took place in January of 1927. At the Annual Convention of the diocese, held in the same year, the parish was formally voted in union with the convention. "The Curate", a parish paper, was founded and published for over 30 years during Rev. Worman's ministry. In 1926 the people of All Saints' voted to purchase the Pilgrim Church property on North Main Street and sold the County Street property to the Christian Science Church. The last Episcopal service in the County Street building was held on April 3, 1927. This building was destroyed by fire Easter Eve of 1966. The dedication of the present Church and pipe organ took place on May 20, 1927 with the Right Reverend Charles Slattery officiating.

The first Sunday service was held April 10, 1927. Bishop Lawrence was the first Bishop to preach in the new church Sunday, May 15th. The Rev. Alwin E. Worman celebrated his twentieth anniversary as rector of the parish on Tuesday evening, June 9, 1936. Mr. Worman served as rector of All Saints' Church for twenty-eight years and, during this period, he and Mrs. Worman made many contributions. All Saints' Guild, later known as the Woman's Auxiliary; the Altar Guild, successor to the St. Francesca Guild in care of the chapel; the Episcopalian Club, a social organization; The Girls' Friendly Society; The Acolytes' Guild; the Church Service League; the Circles; the Junior Auxiliary, recently organized under the guidance of the senior Auxiliary; the Junior Episcopalian Club organized by the younger people; and the Candidates' Class. The Baptismal Font, still in use, was brought from Spain by the Wormans as a memorial to their parents. Mr. Worman retired in June of 1944. The present number of communicants is 437 according to the report of January 1940.

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The Reverend Shirley B. Goodwin came to All Saints' Church a the seventh minister on July 23, 1944. During his ministry the Frank Ryder house and property, which adjoins that of the Church, was purchased. This added a much needed parish house to the resources of the Parish and as primarily for church school and office space. This building later became the rectory and was eventually sold to a group of professionals on June 30, 1978. Mr. Goodwin was a founder of the Attleboro Area Council of Churches and was active in ecumenical work throughout his ministry here. He left All Saints' Church in 1949 to become rector of Trinity Church in Portland, Maine.

The Reverend Sydney J. Browne came to All Saints' Church in the summer of 1949. The Browns moved into the Ryder House and the Third Street Rectory was sold. His was a short but exciting ministry, and he is remembered fondly by many in our Parish. He left All Saints' in 1951 and later served in the Diocese of South Florida.

On January 1, 1952 The Reverend Walter Sheppard came to All Saints' Church to serve as our rector. He came from St. Paul's church in Concord, New Hampshire where he was Curate. During his ministry among us he led All Saints' Church through a great period of growth and building. The parish house was built following a successful building fund campaign in 1957. Over $125,000 was raised and paid over a three year period. The part of the reredos, located directly behind the altar, was given by the Episcopalian Club in memory of their departed members and was dedicated by Bishop Stokes in October or 1959. The part of the reredos encompassing the sanctuary was dedicated on October 3, 1971 by Bishop Burgess on the occasion of the Club's fifty-second anniversary.

In 1959 The Reverend Elliott F. Gauffreau came to assist Mr. Sheppard as Curate and Director of Religious Education. His work was marked by enthusiasm and dedication, which complimented Mr. Sheppard's pastoral and administrative abilities. Mr. Sheppard left All Saints' on December 31, 1960 to become senior assistant to the Rev. Dr. Samuel Shoemaker at Calvary Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Mr. Gauffreau served as interim minister until May 31, 1961 at which time he left to serve as associate rector at Martha's Vineyard working primarily at St. Andrew's Church in Edgartown.

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The Rev. T. Frederick Airey, who came to us in June of 1961, continued his ministry at All Saints' Church until his untimely death on November 11, 1976. Father Airey was assisted by a series of younger men who acted as Curate or Assistant Minister, including:

  • The Reverend Bruce Young came to All Saints' in 1962 and his ordination to the Priesthood on Whitsunday, 1963 was the first to take place at All Saints' Church. He left in 1966 to become rector of Trinity Church in Woburn, Massachusetts.
  • The Reverend Timothy Loring began assisting Father Airey in the summer of 1966 but gave up his work for health reasons and left at the end of that year.
  • The Reverend Gregg Wood became curate the following summer and stayed until the summer of 1969 when he left for a similar position in the diocese of Long Island, New York.
  • Merrick A. Danforth, who for many years had been organist and choir director, left All Saints' Church to study for the priesthood and was ordained to the Diaconate on June 26, 1965. After his ordination into the priesthood The Reverend Merrick A. Danforth took a position in Concord, New Hampshire.
  • The Reverend David Reed came to us in midsummer of 1969 having recently graduated from Andover-Newton Theological Seminary. He as ordained to the Diaconate in December 1969 and to the Priesthood one year later. He continued to study for an advanced degree while working in our Parish on a part-time basis. He and Mrs. Reed worked very closely with the members of the parish and Mrs. Reed formed a Sacred Dance Group within the Parish. Mr. Reed left to take a parish, St. Paul's Church in Huntington, Connecticut.
  • At about the time Mr. Reed left, The Reverend Dwight C. Fortune moved into the area. He acted as our Assistant Minister for the remainder of 1974. He left active work with our Parish to take employment in a local industrial firm. His continued interest in All Saints' Church was a saving feature for the Parish as later events prove.

During Father Airey's service at All Saints' Church the Parish experienced a number of changes. Father Airey (affectionately known as "Father Fred" and famous for his Clam Chowder) contributed to the growing ecumenical movement with enthusiasm. He acted as head of the Attleboro Area Ministerial Association and also served as president of the Attleboro Area Council of Churches. He did much to bring about closer relations with other churches in the area, particularly with the local Roman Catholic churches and the local Order of LaSalette.

Father Airey was a highly regarded member of the community of Attleboro, as was demonstrated by his active participation in various organizations, both Church and community oriented. He also served as Chaplain of the Attleboro Fire Department, National Chaplain of the Guild of St. Barnabas for Nurses, Wheaton College, and many other organizations.

After the death of Father Airey, the parish was particularly fortunate to have the Reverend Dwight C. Fortune as interim minister. As a result, the regular church services and the visitation of the sick and shut-ins continued. Mr. Fortune was assisted by our lay readers.

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The period from 1965 to 1975 saw our endowment funds continue to grow. Although the growth was not spectacular, it was steady and by the end of 1975 the All Saints' Memorial Endowment Fund totaled almost $67,000.

A major change in the financial structure of the Church took place in the 1975-1976 period. Our fiscal year was changed from a calendar year to a July 1st to June 30th year. This also meant a change in our Annual Meeting date. It was expected that this would ease the work load in preparing an annual budget and in conducting the annual church financial canvas.

The Parish had the services of many fine property chairmen who kept the physical property of the Church in good repair. During this time, major boiler repairs were accomplished, aluminum siding was put on the rectory, storm windows were added to the parish house. The kitchen in the undercroft and the outside grounds were also improved.

The Church organizations continued their steady progress. A working library was built and, with the assistance of several women of the parish, a lending library was maintained. Our annual Parish Fair has been a good source of income as well as an excellent social event.

Our youth activities continued to grow over the period from 1965 to 1975. Our own Church School was active with a very devoted group of teachers and leaders and we were fortunate to have several professionals in our membership who worked with the Church School program.

The church facilities were used by our Boy Scout troop and Girl Scout troop, as well as by their related organizations. The church is also used by a number of civic groups. These organizations took an interest in the activities of the Parish and assisted our Church groups periodically.

The ten year time span of 1965-1975 was not without difficulty, however. The continually rising operating costs during the inflation period rose and took its toll. Although we operated on a budget totaling about $60,000 it was necessary to cut back in staff activities and, as a result, we did not have full time staff people. Although pressured financially, the growth of our ministry continued.

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The Reverend R. Carroll Travis was called from the Diocese of North Carolina in February 1978 to serve as Rector of All Saints' Church He arrived during the "Blizzard of '78". He brought with him a great deal of enthusiasm and a desire to have the Parish become truly the body of Christ.

His early programs dealt primarily with the renewal of the Parish and a development of community. Shortly after his arrival he began Koinonia, a series of groups of parishioners who met monthly for a shared meal, informal Bible study, prayers and sharing. One of the major thrusts of Koinonia was for members of the Parish to share their experience of Christ and cultivate a relationship with Christ within a supporting community. Mr. Travis also initiated other programs that focused on our personal relationship with Christ both in Adult Bible Study and in developing weekend in-church retreats with outside speakers. He also initiated an adult education program during Sunday mornings. By vote of the parish, our fiscal year went back to a calendar year of January 1 to December 31 with the Annual Meeting to be held in January.

Another of the major thrusts of Mr. Travis' ministry was to encourage the laity to take their place in the body of Christ. This broadened the lay leadership beyond the small core group that previously existed. It also led to their definition of the authority and responsibility of the vestry, giving vestry members the responsibility for the leadership to guide the parish to proportional giving, leading to tithing. Mr. Travis helped parishioners identify talents and gifts, and then provided support for the individual and corporate ministries which began to emerge.

Renewal continued to be a major theme in the Parish, folding into other renewal programs outside the parish, primarily Marriage and Engaged Encounter and Cursillo. A healing ministry was started, which became centered in a Wednesday evening Eucharist and healing service.

After the renewal programs had taken hold, Mr. Travis encouraged the Parish's growth in Evangelism and Outreach. He and the vestry added two new commissions: Parish Ministry, chaired by the Junior Warden; and Evangelism and Renewal, chaired by a vestry member. Also at this time the important outreach ministry of Judy McCurdy, that had been going on for year, really began to blossom. The parish encouraged its growth and it became a full time job for Ms. McCurdy in serving the Hispanic poor of the Attleboro area. The ministry "Crosslight, Inc.", became an important focus for the outreach of the Parish, which along with the Diocese provided the majority of funding for this ministry. In addition, the Parish ran a number of workshops, mini-retreats, and classes on outreach and evangelism. The priests in the parish began services at nursing homes to broaden their outreach into the community.

It is never as easy to describe where we are going as where we have been. But our purpose is not to drift or even to meet faithfully the crises that come from time to time. We intend (as Bishop John Coburn put it) "to pursue that vision which emerges from the people of God working together".

Another of the major impacts of Mr. Travis' ministry was a revitalization of the spirit of worship in the Parish. Informal song was added to services. They were personalized and a much greater level of lay involvement was encouraged. An Intercessors' Guild was developed to add strength and support to the prayers of the parish.

Shortly after Mr. Travis arrived it became apparent that there was a need for increased spiritual leadership in Christian Education. As a result, with the Vestry's approval, Reverend Thomas R. White was called in June of 1979 as a full-time Curate. He was ordained in December of 1979. Under his leadership, the entire youth and Christian Education programs flourished Youth Groups developed and became an important part of our Parish life. Renewal programs outside the Parish-Youth Encounter Spirit, were started and grew. Under the leadership of Mr. Travis and Mr. White, the Parish grew in numbers as well as spiritually.

Mr. Travis left All Saints' in September of 1983 after accepting a call to become Rector of a Parish in Rochester, New York. Mr. White accepted the position of "Priest in Charge" during the interim period and left in September of 1984 to become Rector of All Saints' Church in Whitman. Mrs. Linda Wall was hired as Christian Education Director.

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The Rev. Edwin Outwin served as interim until the arrival of The Reverend John D. Crandall on the first Sunday in December, 1984. Father Crandall came to us from Christ Church, Albert Lea, Minnesota. Mrs. Wall remained as Christian Education Director until May of 1986.

In July of 1986 The Reverend Daniel J. Handschy, following his ordination to the Diaconate in the Diocese of Vermont, was hired as full time parish assistant. Reverend Handschy was ordained at All Saints' Church by The Right Reverend Robert Shaw Kerr, Bishop of Vermont, on January 17, 1987. Considerable reorganizing of the Vestry has taken place under Mr. Crandall's guidance and a second Vestry Retreat was added to the fall schedule. The Christian Education Program and Worship Commission has involved the young people in many aspects of the Sunday 10:00 A.M. Service. In January of 1988 the First Parish Epiphany Dinner and Service was held. Spiritual Retreats for both men and women began in 1988 along with an increase in Koinonia Groups. The Reverend Daniel J. Handschy left All Saints' in 1991 for interim ministry in the Diocese of Rhode Island.

In the Fall of 1991 the first Lay Eucharist Ministers took Holy Communion to parishioners at home on Sunday mornings. The Reverend Doctor Anne M. Minton was hired as a part time parish assistant in June of 1993 to work with our Christian Education Programs. She was ordained to the priesthood on Friday evening, January 7, 1994 in the middle of a snow storm by The Right Reverend Douglas E. Theuner, Bishop of New Hampshire. In April of 1993 the first youth "Happening" Weekend was held in the Diocese. While it follows the Cursillo format, it is for High School students and is run by them. On July 3, 1994 All Saints' participated in the town's tricentennial parade with Noah's Ark as our float and won First Prize. The Reverend Doctor Minton left us on All Saints' Day 1994 to accept a position on the Staff of the Diocese of New Hampshire.

From 1985 to 1994 considerable work was done on the church property. The Guild Room was refurnished as a living room. The underscoft floor was replaced after it was flooded, new wallpaper was hung and walls were painted. The furnace was replaced with two small gas-fired furnaces and the 4,000 gallon underground oil tank was removed. The church office entered the twentieth century with an IBM computer. A handicap ramp and elevator were installed. The outside of the church and parish house were completed while the fire alarm system was brought up to meet code. At the same time, a security alarm system was installed and was later enlarged to cover the entire Church property in the Fall of 1994. The last and most notable change was new carpet which was installed in time for the 1994 Pentecost Service.

During the Fall of 1994 the construction of the Memorial Bell Tower was begun and was completed in time for Palm Sunday 1995. The bell had been given in Memory of Alice Metcalf Lees on November 28, 1948 and had not been in use for over 30 years. At the same time an outdoor speaker was installed for playing the chimes and hymns outside. During Holy Week in 1995 and 1996, members of All Saints' and St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church in North Attleboro performed the musical "His Last Days". A Liturgical Dance Group called "Sacred Dance" was begun in 1994 and continues as a special part of our worship on special feast days and occasions.

Father Crandall retired on December 31, 1999.

The Rev.J.C. Woods started Jan. 2000 as interim and he lives in Rosindale. Under the new direction of Father Woods, All Saints' Church continued to thrive. He had just finished an interim in Walpole as they had called a new clergy there. He has been to other parishes as well, that is what he does. He goes where needed and uses his gifts until the parish calls someone. In May of 2001, Father Woods took another position at a parish closer to his home after the Search Committee found a permanent priest.

The Rev. Doctor Lance Giuffrida began his tenure at All Saints' in May and was installed as Rector on June 10, 2001. In January 2007 he was redirected.

The Rev. William Underhill served as interim priest from February 4, 2007 through 2008.

The Rev. Katheryn C. Keene served as Priest-in-Charge from 2008-2009.

The Rev. Bailey Whitbeck served as Priest-in-Charge from 2009-2012.

The Rev. Ron Tibbetts served as Deacon from 2010-2014. His ministry focused on Thursday evening “Prayer and Praise,” and the “One Family: A Mission of Unity” outreach program.

The Rev. Billie Mae Gordon served as pastoral care associate from 2012-2015.

The Rev. Dr. Meghan T. Sweeney first served as Deacon-in-Charge in 2012 and became Priest-in-Charge in 2013. In January 2019 she was installed as rector.


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