Congregational Churches began as groups that met for prayer and Bible study in England near the end of the 1500's. Fiercely independent and committed to worship and lives patterned after what they saw in the Bible, they were called Separatists. Some came to Plymouth, in Massachusetts. Joined later by Puritans, they founded what they called "pockets of grace". One such pocket was Saybrook, CT. Settlers from there founded the First Congregational Church in Norwichtown and in 1760 the Second Congregational Church was gathered.
Education for all was part of the church's mission from the beginning. The church's first pastor, Rev. Nathaniel Whitaker, helped found Dartmouth College. By 1815, the church had organized a Sunday School with 47 students, including a class for African-American women. In 1827 Sara Huntington, a daughter of one of the church's Deacons, started a Sunday School for Mohegans at Fort Hill in Montville and later raised funds to construct the Mohegan Congregational Church.
Broadway Congregational Church was organized by Second Church in 1842. After its first meeting house destroyed, the Broadway church built the present structure in 1857. The Rev. John P Gulliver, pastor of Broadway Congregational Church, founded the Norwich Free Academy.