February 26, 2010

FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH EAST BALDWIN

— ADDRESS: 26 School St.

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DENOMINATION/AFFILIATION: National Association of Congregational Christian Churches

HISTORY: Records dated Baldwin, May 16, 1821, show that an ecclesiastical council convened at the house of Capt. Artemas Richardson for the purpose of the formation of a Congregational Church of Christ in Baldwin.

The Rev. Noah Emerson was one of the first pastors, and the first formal building of worship, erected on the bank of Meadow Brook in 1833, was called the Emerson Meeting House.

The Emerson Meeting House collapsed under heavy snow about 1872. A stone was erected to mark the site on the northerly side of the Pequawket Trail, about two miles west of East Baldwin village.

The new church was dedicated on June 13, 1877, and was built in East Baldwin at a cost of $3,000 on land donated by Joshua Chadbourne of California, the son of a pioneer of Baldwin. A parish hall was built in 1911 with funds raised by the Ladies Circle.

For many years, the church belonged to the Sebago Lake Regional Parish and was yoked with other churches in the area, which all shared a minister. In 1979, the church became a one-church parish. It recently joined the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches.

Mr. and Mrs. Everett Giles deeded land to the church on the west side of the buildings in 1980, providing a much-needed parking area. In 1984, Baldwin town officials gave the defunct American Legion William-Goodwin Post 144 building to the church to be renovated for a parsonage, Sunday school and meeting rooms. The building was dedicated as the J. Gordon Warren Memorial Hall.

In 2002, Harold Warren presented a plan to the church body for an addition that would connect the church and parish hall. The addition would house a church office, Sunday school rooms and a restroom, and allow handicapped accessibility to the complex. The Memorial Hall was sold to provide funds for this addition, which was completed in 2004.

WORSHIP SERVICES: 9 a.m. Sunday, with Holy Communion celebrated on the first Sunday of the month.

FUTURE PLANS: The church's Mission Program supports many local nonprofits such as the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, the Good Shepherd Food-Bank, the Bruce Roberts Toy Fund and the Protestant Hospital Ministry at Maine Medical Center, along with Congregational missionaries, St. Andrews Society (a program for ending hunger) and Smile Train, a charity that provides cleft lip and cleft palate surgery to children in need.

The Bread Ministry/Food Pantry serves many in the local area and is open one day a week to anyone who needs food. The church also has clothing in the winter and occasionally small appliances and furnishings.

Other upcoming plans include further painting on the outside of the building; reopening the Sunday school; providing entertainment with local musicians, and for children, a summer reading time; and programs of liturgical dancing and special music on fifth Sundays. (All dates are listed on Lake Region Television, Channel 5.)

CONTACT: 675-3284

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