When minister Abiel Holmes of the First Church of Cambridge began preaching, he was very tolerant of all beliefs. Unitarianism was becoming popular, but he was not threatened by it until the 1820′s when its hold became clear. His sudden resistance to Unitarianism alienated much of his congregation. He realized too late that they had abandoned him.
Not all was lost, though. As the Church confirmed a new, Unitarian friendly minister, Holmes (father of famous author Oliver Wendell Holmes) formed the Shepard Congregational Society, in honor of the first minister in Cambridge, Thomas Shepard. The Society morphed into the First Church Congregational, now a United Church of Christ congregation.
The stained glass windows in the church are particularly beautiful, and the golden rooster atop the church is the work of the famous weathervane-artist Shem Drowne. Quite a claim to fame for a man with quite a name. Shem Drowne also made the Grasshopper flying over Faneuil Hall in Boston.