ADDRESS: 20 Jenkins Road

DENOMINATION/AFFILIATION: United Methodist

HISTORY: On Sept. 9, 1793, Jesse Lee delivered the first Methodist sermon in Maine in what was then the province of Saco. The early years saw many moves from one site to another as Methodism grew.

1838, the growth of membership progressed to the point that a “real” church building was needed. A lot at the corner of School and Middle streets was deeded to the Methodist Episcopal Church trustees. On Oct. 13, 1840, dedication services were held for the newly completed church.

In 1996, the Rev. Irvin E. Koelker was appointed to serve School Street Methodist Church. On July 1, 1996, the Foss Street United Methodist Church of Biddeford closed and merged with Saco, becoming one congregation. It was felt that a name was needed that would reflect one church under one roof and a new beginning.

On Nov. 3, 1996, a new name was adopted by the congregation, a name to reflect things to come: Cornerstone United Methodist Church.

Many problems still existed. There was a lack of parking and the building was old, but membership was increasing and more activities were added. It soon became obvious that the little church on the comer was no longer sufficient to fit the needs of the congregation.

The decision was made to build a new church. On July 23, 2000, parishioners and friends of Cornerstone United Methodist Church gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony at 20 Jenkins Road. On Sunday, June 17, 2001, the first service was held at the new location.

The 8,500-square-foot building is handicapped-accessible. It has seating for 200 in the sanctuary, a nursery, an education wing with seven classrooms, a fellowship hall, a kitchen, and offices for the minister and church secretary, as well as three bathrooms and several storage areas. The paved parking lot has 100 spaces.

While Cornerstone is well-known for its monthly roast beef dinners on the first Saturday of the month from May to November, the church is also active in many mission projects.

It provides food for the Saco Food Pantry and for Stone Soup in Biddeford. There is a prayer shawl and lap-blanket ministry; a clothing drive will be held again on Labor Day weekend to provide clothing for those seeking jobs or needing suitable clothing for work.

Plans are being made to participate in the Habitat for Humanity project in Limerick in September. Recently, more than 100 health kits were assembled for Haiti and sent there by the United Methodist Community on Relief.

Thanksgiving baskets are given to those in need, and at Christmas the church decorates a mitten and hat tree for the Saco schools and Sweetser. An evening women’s group, Women Together, meets for study and fellowship, and each year provides help for a homeless teen at Christmas and at graduation. The daytime group, E&L, standing for “early and late,” supports a family at Christmas and provides much help through yard sales and gifts to other organizations.

A newly formed men’s group is active and raising funds to help provide programs to the community.

WORSHIP SERVICES: 10 a.m. Sunday. From September to June, Sunday school for children is held at the same time, with children participating in worship for the opening and then going to their classes. Vacation Bible school for children ages 5 to 12 is being held July 19-23 from 5:30 to 8 p.m., with supper provided.

CONTACT: Call 286-9829 or e-mail [email protected] The church office is open 8:30 a.m. to noon Tuesday through Friday.