"Her father, Roger, and her mother, Rosalie, got involved in this church and this community," the Rev. Samuel Schreiner said.
"We believe that Roger Hull, her father, was the chairman of the 100th (anniversary) committee, so when we were looking at the 150th, I couldn't think of a better chairperson than Rosemary," he said.
As part of her work and research for the upcoming anniversary, Mace shared a fascinating presentation on the history of Noroton Presbyterian Tuesday. More than 100 people watched her 45-minute presentation, which traced a story closely woven to the history of the town itself, as well as the nation.
"It was 1863," Hull said. "Our nation was in the middle of the Civil War. Our church was founded between the Battle of Gettysburg and the delivery of the Gettysburg Address."
Just before that battle, she said, "The 17th Regiment from Connecticut was formed. Thirty-eight men from Darien enlisted and fought in the Battle of Gettysburg. Only 10 survived. This is still the largest percentage of Darien men who were lost in a war."
On Nov. 4, 1863, the church was officially formed as the First Presbyterian Church of Darien. At that time, there were only 1,705 residents.
"It was primarily a farming town," Mace said, noting, however, that there were 77 shoemakers, as well as an array of blacksmiths, tanners and oystermen.
The church was the original idea of Benjamin Weed, who was born in 1821, and whose father had fought in the Revolutionary War at the age of 17 in Trenton, N.J.
"Benjamin Weed's vision was to build a church to serve the people on the west side of Darien to serve the people of Noroton," Mace said.
"It was a long ride on horseback to the Darien Congregational Church," she said.
The Noroton church began with 21 members, a third of whom were Weed's relatives, along with some other familiar local names, including Ballard, Bishop, Clock and Waterbury.
Louis Clock, a charter member, sold an acre to the church from his corner property at Noroton Avenue and the Post Road for $720, $200 of which he contributed himself.
Frederick W. Bruggerhof, Darien's second wealthiest man at the time and later a state senator, also played an instrumental role in its founding.
"The early years of the church were very difficult," Mace said, with money difficult to collect.
A little-known period called the Long Depression lasted from 1873 to 1896, during which 10 states declared bankruptcy, a time when the congregation was not able to pay its pastor's salary.
"The times did get better," Mace said. By 1898, $2,000 was raised to put a Sunday school addition onto the building.
Later additions, as well as land expansions, were the result of some especially generous patrons, including Bessie Weed Shaw and the former Kerry Bruggerhof.
"They not only gave generously, but they served generously," Mace said of the early members, who played a number of key roles in the church's community for many decades.
"It was the great heritage and the great faithfulness of the generations before us that allow us to worship in this space," Schreiner said.
"I loved it," church member Sara Zagrodzky said of Mace's presentation.
"I thought it was very good, very interesting," member Linda Swanson said. "We thought she did a great job."
Jarret Liotta is a freelance writer.