The first religious services in the Parish of Sudbury took place in 1640, east of the Sudbury River in what is now Wayland. The congregation west of the river completed their own meeting house in 1722 and Rev. Israel Loring became their first minister. The current First Parish Church in Sudbury replaced the original structure on the same location in 1797. In 1837, the rise of the Unitarian movement split the congregation and the First Parish became a Unitarian church. According to the History of Sudbury (1889), by Alfred Sereno Hudson,
For a time the old society had different preachers to supply the pulpit. From March 30 to September 22, according to a record book of Capt. Israel Haynes, no less than twelve different ministers preached there. In the summer of 1841, Rev. Linus Shaw was invited to preach, which he did till fall. Soon after, the meeting-house was remodelled, and in 1844, he was invited to preach there again ; he did so, and the result was his settlement as pastor. He was installed June 5, 1845, and continued in the pastorate till his death.