We are a community of people from the Farmington valley and surrounding towns who have chosen to worship together; equipped to love God and to love others. We are Presbyterian, belonging to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church denomination. Founded in 1960, the church later bought a farm property and converted an old barn into a worship space that we call the Hayloft Sanctuary, and from which we borrow our nickname - The Barn. Years later, Celebration wing of the church was built with an all purpose room that is called Celebration Hall. We gather in Celebration Hall for our 10:30am services.


by Rick Schoenhardt

From earliest days we have worshipped outdoors in the summer.

After the barn hayloft was renovated for worship, it proved to be too hot to use for worship in the summer. A spot was chosen in the field along the edge of woods at the top of the slope going down to Hop Brook. Oaks provided shade in that area. A platform was built for worship leaders. People brought chairs or sat on the ground.


In 1977, it was decided to build a shaded seating area in the slope to the brook. The congregation took on the task of clearing and grading the area by hand, and building the seating.  Raw timber was purchased, creosote applied, and placed to create terraced steps. Sections of telephone poles were cut to support the seating.


The existing worship platform in the field had been recently rebuilt and in good condition, so fifteen men lifted it and moved it down to bottom of the slope, where it sits today.


Additional features were added over the years, including a platform for the musicians, sound systems, storage cabinet for hymnals, and banners to add color and visual stimulation.


At the top right of the seating area is a memorial stone that dedicates the worship area to Martha Hunn, one of the Pastor’s daughters who was killed in an auto-bicycle accident at the UConn Storrs campus. The area had been one of Martha’s favorites. Pastor Hunn had the inspiration to create the area on the slope, and led the effort.


The Outdoor Worship Area overlooking the brook, and shaded by beautiful trees, has blessed us for many years. It has been, and is, God’s good gift.

The Quonset Hut

by Rick Schoenhardt

All the old buildings on the CPC land have a story to tell.


The Quonset hut began life as an equipment and storage facility for the farm. When the Church bought the farm it was emptied, cleaned, and altered for use as a meeting space.  The front wall was demolished and rebuilt using recycled lumber, windows and doors.

While the dairy barn was rented to Lionel Garrard, Sunday worship services were held. One Sunday a cow was attracted and stuck its head in one of the doors. Worship continued.

Some years later, after the main barn had been converted, the hut was used as a youth meeting space, and fitted with a fireplace.  The hood and chimney can still be seen in the relocated building. An attempt to create a skating pond on the south side of the building did not succeed.

As the land expanded and developed, the need for outside equipment storage space required the Quonset hut return to that original use.

Plans for the construction of Celebration Hall in 2000 required the removal of the Quonset hut. A heroic humorous effort was organized. It was relocated by the congregation to a new foundation on the east side of the parking area. The front wall was removed, a telephone pole placed inside at the roof ridge, and a tractor front end loader lifted the building and maneuvered it across the fields to its new location.  Members of the Church took positions around the building perimeter to steady the structure as it was moved. A new front wall was built and the building returned to its traditional role.


The Quonset hut has served CPC well.  Thanks be to God for another of His gifts.

OLd Red Barn

by Rick Schoenhardt

A classic red wooden barn stood on the corner of the property at the south side of the entrance driveway.  It actually was partially on Town property that was originally Hopbrook Road before the road was relocated to the south side of Hop Brook itself.  For many years the upper level was rented to Tulmeadow Farm for hay storage, while the Church used the lower level, accessible from the road on the south side.  Part of the barn’s foundation, painted brown, is visible from the south side.


Frank Cilley, our Church Sexton for many years, lived on the property and used the barn for raising chickens and other livestock.  He taught children how to care for the animals, and helped them raise Nubian goats and heifers for shipment to Central America. One year, a bull was included, and member Bill Cromey flew with them to Nicaragua.


The Hunn family used the east end of the upper level of the barn for the horses their children rode.


Although the barn had a heavy timber structural frame, it was never very sturdy without bales of hay stored inside to reinforce it. Kids loved to explore and play inside, although unauthorized, and it was eventually deemed a hazard.  In 1997, a decision was reluctantly made to demolish. No one knows when the barn was constructed, but it preceded the white barn by many years.


Thanks be to God, for all the ways He gave us pleasure and teaching through the Red Barn.


Life Together

by Rick Schoenhardt

As we grew in our relationship with the Lord and one another, we sought greater understanding of Him and ourselves through sharing with one another personally. A few families experimented with living together, sharing one house. This included the Hunns and Bankoskys, our two Pastors’ families. It succeeded to different degrees. Some difficulties arose over issues related to childrearing and cooking.

A larger plan for communal living was the development of Canaan Village.

In 1969, Clyde Carter who owned 28 acres adjoining CPC land to the east along Hopbrook, offered it for sale to the Church. Although the Church did not accept, 20 families did, with a plan to build a communal living development. Living units would look like today’s condominiums, with much land devoted to open space. Cars, lawn mowers, and other equipment would be shared. The name Canaan Village was chosen in recognition of the Holy Land. The families would be dedicated to serve the Church, and especially retreat ministry. Unfortunately, a Town zone change was not approved, so the plan had to change to typical single lot development.

Another experience of communal living in the sixties was known as The Daily Community. It met daily at the Barn to share in study and serving one another, and those who might come for counseling and other help.

Life together has continued, mostly in the form of small groups. God continues to grow us as “iron sharpens iron”.

THe Architecture

by Rick Schoenhardt

Winston Churchill once observed that we form buildings and then they form us. The character of the barn has had an influence on how we feel and act.

Certain design principles have guided adaptation of the barn, and additions:

1- Preserve the very nature of the barn: welcoming, warm and unpretentious.

2- Use modest materials, and recycled furnishings.

3- Organize spaces to cause people to interact.

4- Avoid the use of crosses for decoration.

Worship space - Place the Communion Table, which joins us together in Christ, in the center for the people to gather around. Suspend a cross above, sized to human dimensions. Let the people be seated to face one another to pray and sing and acknowledge our unity.

The Hayloft - The character of the original structural framing and exterior siding was preserved by insulating on the exterior and providing additional stud framing and wood shingles.

Celebration Hall - The Building Committee directed the architect (me) to design a space for youth and Church social activities. The Hayloft was loved and expected to continue for worship services. However, it became evident that the new area was needed. Some sound absorption materials were added. The windows are high to allow for possible rooms to be added on the perimeter. The principles of the Hayloft worship plan were followed as much as possible.

Welcome Room - As Celebration Hall became our worship space, a gathering space for use before and after was needed. The Jr. High room was converted. The location was convenient for access to parking, and the design created an exterior focal point.

The Lord has been our true guide and I’m grateful for the privilege and pleasure of being the Barn’s architect for these 60 years.

So, What's Next

by Rick Schoenhardt



What we know:

         The Lord has guided and provided faithfully and well.

         We have been challenged, but He provided a way forward.

         He has kept our life together interesting.

         The journey is not over.



         It seems that the call to serve in new ways is upon us.

         Faithful Presence initiatives are opportunities to love and serve.

These include being servants at the Retreat House and its ministries, and community service with Covenant to Care for Children, the Red Cross blood drives, Amirah House, and others.



What we don’t know:


The future is up to you and me and the Holy Spirit. What will we see and hear and do?


What we hope for:


Faith is the essence of things hoped for.


The past has been wonderful and inspirational, but surely there is adventure with the Holy Spirit ahead. He will not leave us or forsake us.

Let’s go for it!


Thanks be to God!