A year and a half after Westbrook Methodists decided to sell their church on Main Street, church members are still looking for a permanent home.

The Westbrook United Methodist Church, which has a more than 200 year history in the city, has been meeting at the Legion hall on Dunn Street since 2003 when members decided to sell the building. Mission Possible purchased the building in March of 2004.

While the congregation misses having a church building of their own, members are making the best of it. The church continues to hold services at 10:45 a.m. every Sunday at the Legion hall.

Geraldine Guitard, who grew up in Westbrook, but now lives in Portland, is a life-long member of the church. She said, while the move has been difficult, there have been some positive things as well. Leaving the old church and moving into the Legion hall has brought the congregation closer.

“We’re a church family,” she said. “We would just love to have a home.”

While the Legion post has served the church well for the time being, the Methodists still want a permanent home for the church that has been a part of Westbrook since the middle of the 18th century.

The church had been interested in moving into one of two Catholic churches being sold in Westbrook. Unfortunately, Rev. Gary Akeley, pastor at the church, said the church couldn’t afford to pay the price the Catholic Church was asking.

One of the most important things the Methodists want for a potential new home is space for churchgoers to park, something that was lacking at their old building.

The church also wants to stay in Westbrook. “We definitely want to be in Westbrook,” said Akeley. “There’s quite a heritage here. I don’t want to see it end.”

While one of the reasons for selling the building on Main Street was a lack of parking, the congregation also felt they could no longer support the building.

“They had fallen in numbers,” Akeley said. “They had this big church, and it was costing them a lot of money. It was getting very expensive to heat and maintain.”

Wanting to use the church’s resources to concentrate more on its ministry rather than building maintenance, the congregation voted to sell the building. Since then, the church has looked at a wide variety of properties for their new home, but hasn’t found a suitable one yet.

While the congregation agreed the church had to be sold, that didn’t mean the decision came easily. Even though Guitard voted in favor of the sale, it was extremely difficult to give up a building that had played such a big role in her life.

“It was really hard to vote to get out of that church,” she said. “There were a lot of tears at the time.”

While the church would consider buying an existing building, it would also consider a parcel of land where the church could design and build a new building. The church wants to build a contemporary-style building that will be suitable for the next 100 years.

Once the church finds a suitable building or piece of land, Akeley said it would use the money from the sale of its old building as well as holding a campaign to raise more money.

Guitard is confident a solution will present itself, and the Methodist church will soon have a new home in Westbrook. “I guess we’re just waiting now to see what God wants us to do next,” she said.

For more information on the Westbrook United Methodist Church, call the church office at 854-2654.

Rev. Gary Akeley of the Westbrook United Methodist Church says the church, which has been in Westbrook since the 18th century is looking for a new home. Last year, the church sold its building on Main Street and is currently meeting at the American Legion hall on Dunn Street.


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