Ellington: A Place Of Great Religious Diversity

May 2, 2009

Author: Jesse Leavenworth

Source: The Hartford Courant


Soon after Russian Jews settled here a century ago, a congressional panel on immigration set out to study the newcomers' progress and assimilation with the mostly Yankee population.

The Jewish farmers of Ellington were among the immigrant communities studied throughout the nation as part of an alarmed reaction to the swelling alien masses. Despite an ingrained prejudice against Jews among some locals, the commission's investigators acknowledged in 1911 that "the most amicable relations seem to exist between the Hebrews and the rest of the community."

Religious assimilation has been a constant in Ellington. Congregationalists were joined by Methodists and Baptists, Jews and Catholics and a conservative Christian branch still uncommon in the Northeast. Mormons also have built their house of God here, and most recently, Muslims set down roots. Few small towns in the state or nation can claim such a diversity of faith.

"I think people of all faiths and backgrounds are searching for a place to call home in their own particular journey to God — to understand what God is calling them to be," said the Rev. Don Bailey-Francois of the Ellington Congregational Church. "We all come at it from different perspectives. I think Ellington is blessed to have a variety of faith communities."

See also: Interfaith