Jean Wiman, Susan Beaman and Kathy Perkins, trustees and members of the Popham Chapel fundraising committee, are selling 1,400 bricks as a fundraiser to complete repairs at the church. Kathleen O’Brien / The Times Record

PHIPPSBURG — For more than 100 years now, Popham Chapel, otherwise known as the “Little Church by the Bay,” has kept vigil over Popham Beach and the ocean beyond.

Today, a group of the church’s parishioners have banded together to organize a fundraising effort to have some much-needed work done next year in time for the celebration of the chapel’s 125th anniversary.

“We don’t want the church to go into disrepair,” said Kathy Perkins, a member of the Drive to 125 committee, which is organizing the fundraiser.

Work that needs to be done includes interior painting and reinforcing the church’s foundation. To help fund those and other repairs, donors can purchase a brick engraved with a personal message for $75 or $150, depending on the size, to be added to a walkway outside the church. Perkins said so far, the committee has sold 140 bricks, and wants to sell a total of 1,400. To learn more about the chapel, or to purchase a brick, visit

Susan Beaman, another member of the committee, said the chapel’s history dates back to 1893, when a small group of local ladies decided a local church would be a good idea and organized an ice cream social to start fundraising. Their meager efforts only earned $12, but it was a start, and, with additional donations, including the offer of a parcel of land by the Vickery family, the church was completed and opened on Oct. 8, 1896.

The church has seen its ups and downs, suffering heavy damage due to a hurricane in the 1920s and falling into disrepair in the years following World War II. But according to the chapel’s website, well-meaning volunteers, led at the time by local residents Ernest Oliver and Fred Spinney, worked to repair the damage and restore the chapel. Beaman said volunteers have continued to donate time and funds to restore and preserve the church, an effort that continues to this day.


“It’s an ongoing project,” Beaman said.

Today, the church is still open, active and available for weddings and other functions. It’s designated as non-denominational, but still holds services administered by officiants from multiple religions, including Catholic and Episcopal. Perkins, who attends services at Popham Chapel, described it as “a country church.” She noted that the pews came to Phippsburg via steamship from Boston, but the chandelier came from the old Perry’s store, where Reny’s is located in Bath today.

Sean Murphy 780-9094

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