BATH — As many people have heard, the Neighborhood United Church of Christ has made a bold decision to sell its current church building on Congress Avenue and to relocate in downtown Bath.

The congregation’s consensus emerged after a year of prayer and research. The decision to sell the current property and to seek a new location closer to the center of the city was motivated by both practical and spiritual considerations.

The congregation sees the move as an opportunity to restore the presence of a vital faith community in the heart of the city, in keeping with the New England tradition. The church relocated to Congress Avenue in 1972, when the Central Congregational UCC (currently the Chocolate Church) merged with the Winter Street Congregational UCC. Historical records show that the current location is the congregations’ sixth building since it was gathered in 1765.

In addition to the location, the size of the building on Congress Avenue is a practical concern. The 20,000 square-foot facility has more space than the faith community currently uses for its worship, education, weekly Neighborhood Café, Bath Area Food Pantry, and numerous recovery and community groups. Since 2006, in order to maintain the building, the church has been renting space to New Meadows Day Care and the Midcoast School of Music. A key factor in the decision to relocate was the desire to let go of the property management business in order to focus more clearly on the church’s spiritual mission.

One of the core spiritual values of the congregation is to be open to “faithful risk.” Partners in the congregation commit to “let love and grace change our lives.” The church has a vision of an expanded Neighborhood Café which would be open daily as a place for people to gather together to serve, to be fed, and to develop friendships. A modern worship facility is planned, as well as a facility in which numerous recovery and community groups may continue to thrive. The church hopes to offer a welcoming spiritual home in the heart of Bath.

For the Neighborhood United Church of Christ, this is an exciting and challenging moment of opportunity to find new ways to serve and to offer a blessing to the Bath community in the spirit of dignity, respect, loving-kindness, and faithful risk. More information is available at www.faithinbath.org, or by calling (207) 443-2187.



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