May 15, 2010

Worship Spotlight: Galilee Baptist Church, Gorham

ADDRESS: 317 Main St., Gorham.

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WORSHIP SPOTLIGHT is a weekly series focusing on places of worship in central and southern Maine. Information is submitted by the places of worship. For information, e-mail Religion@pressherald.com or rharmon@pressherald.com.

DENOMINATION/AFFILIATION: Galilee is not a member of any denomination or association.

HISTORY: We exist to glorify God by praising Him in worship, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, caring for one another in Christian love, and preparing believers to fulfill His global mission.

Galilee Baptist was formed in 1975 by a cluster of friends who shared a strong commitment to the Bible as God's Word. They lived in Gorham, Standish, Scarborough -- not near neighbors, but close friends with shared values of Christian life and ministry. From the beginning they understood that they were first bound to one another for support and help -- not in a formal, legal sense, but as brothers and sister (and aunts and uncles and nieces and nephews) in Christ.

In those early years, the group might have felt scattered; after all, they lived in several towns. But they were faithful to meet together for worship, for prayer and for study of the Bible.

The Rev. Ron Pinkham became pastor to the flock that had growing young families. He guided them through the first years, meeting in homes and in rented halls. The desire grew for home space. The same desire that fuels our creation of home for family prompted them to look for a centrally located property that would provide a base of ministry to families and neighbors and community.

The current church property was purchased. In 1979, the farmhouse became a parsonage for the new pastor, the Rev. Richard Hopkins, and a building was put up. Much sweat equity went into those walls, and that heritage of pitching in continues to this day. As the need for more space grew, there were changes and additions, including a new Worship Center in 1997 that doubled seating capacity.

But the building is not the cause of Galilee's growth over the years, it is the result. The real church is the people, those who believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the one and only god-man whose death provides the basis for God to forgive sins. And over the years, the commitment of this church family to serve Jesus together has enlivened worship, fostered spiritual growth, and given assurance of love and support through the joys and sorrows of human life.

In 1990, the Rev. Hopkins retired and the Rev. David Christensen became pastor. He is still here to this day, preaching passionately, following the pattern of "holding fast the faithful Word" established by his predecessors. The church family he cares for is much larger, however. No longer can the adults all squeeze into in one large living room for a prayer meeting, so small groups meet in multiple locations to study and pray together.

In the years since 1975, regardless of inflation, or crime rates, or political trends, certain human needs remain: a desire to know our ultimate identity and purpose, a longing to be known by friends who will speak truth and be true, and a need to be absolved of guilt for our sin. We believe that in Jesus we can have those needs met.

WORSHIP SERVICES: Sunday school is at 9 a.m., followed by worship service at 10:30 a.m.

CONTACT: Call 839-6985 or go online at www.galileebc.org.

 

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