ADDRESS: 350 Route 1

DENOMINATION/AFFILIATION: Episcopal Diocese of Maine

HISTORY: The church started in 1988 when a handful of people formed the Episcopal Church Group of Scarborough to create an Episcopal Church presence between Portland and Saco. The diocese offered them a home in St. John’s-by-the-Sea, an unused summer chapel in Old Orchard Beach. The group met there through one winter.

The growing church, now named for St. Nicholas, the patron saint of seafarers and children, began to rent space at Blue Point Congregational Church in Scarborough. A vibrant vicar, the Rev. Gil Birney, came to lead the flock, and it grew steadily over the next 10 years.

Finally, a Route 1 property came on the market, and the church bought it. The Sunday school children made a banner that hung behind the altar: “God’s Spirit Lives Here.”

The current church building was completed in 2004. Members had a hand in all aspects of it, from the design to the decor.

The vaulted ceiling is reminiscent of a ship’s hull. Over the doors in the sanctuary and in the cupola, crosses of wood join the windowpanes. Above the altar, a triangle window draws the eyes to the sky and reminds people of the Trinity: God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

The weathervane on the roof was designed for the church, and shows a boat from St. Nicholas’ time. In the Episcopal tradition, the front doors are painted a bright, welcoming red.

In 2008, the Rev. Eckart Horn became the church vicar. In 2010, Sandpiper Child Care Center opened. St. Nicholas has become the visible, vibrant Episcopal Church its members envisioned.

There are several fellowship groups at St. Nicholas, including a men’s group and women’s group, a Friday morning women’s group, the ELVES (September through December) and the Dream Group.

WORSHIP SERVICES: 9:30 a.m. Sunday Holy Eucharist, church school and nursery, followed by coffee hour. Contemplative Morning Prayer is held from 7 to 8 a.m. Tuesday, and Holy Eucharist is at noon Tuesday.

At 7 p.m. Nov. 23, the church will host a Scarborough Ecumenical Thanksgiving service, and at 9:30 a.m. Dec. 12, there will be a celebration of the Holy Eucharist and confirmation of candidates.

Christmas Eve will feature a celebration of the Holy Eucharist and a children’s pageant.

Other annual services include beach baptism at 9:30 a.m. at Scarborough’s Ferry Beach on the Sunday after Labor Day, and the Blessing of the Animals in early October.

Upcoming activities include Christkindlsmarkt, an Austrian-style Christmas fair, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 11. The Don Martin Classic Golf Tournament and Auction will be held at the Prout’s Neck Country Club on June 16.

PLANS: Responding through community outreach and Island Ministries to assist our companion diocese in Haiti.

CONTACT: 883-9437; e-mail: [email protected] yahoo.com; website: stnicholasme.episcopalmaine.org/index.html