MINOT — Members of the Minot United Methodist Church are inviting friends and neighbors to join them in celebrating the church’s 150th anniversary Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 23 and 24.

The weekend event will include special music, food and services at the church at Minot Corner.

“We very much want people to join us in celebration,” member Paul Fournier said. “The music will be enjoyable and it will be an opportunity for people to be enlightened about the history of the area.” 

Fournier, with his wife, Sally, and other members, have put together a booklet that not only recounts important people and events associated with the history of the building, but goes all the way back to church-related events during the settlement of what was then called Bakerstown.

According to church records, in 1793, circuit preacher Jesse Lee, who introduced Methodism throughout this part of Maine, preached the first Methodist sermon in Bakerstown in the kitchen of N. Strout. In 1795, the first Methodist church, with the Rev. Joel Ketchum as pastor, appeared in neighboring Poland. This opened the area to the early 1800s era of the circuit riders.

“Interesting characters back then,” Fournier said. “Moses Emery, first settler of Minot Corner, became a Methodist and his family as well. It all goes back to them.”

The current church building was constructed in 1864 during the Civil War on land purchased from Oliver and Rebecca Marble in 1859 for $75. It replaced the first Methodist church building built in 1835 on Old Woodman Hill Road.

The handwritten church records contain such tidbits as: in 1886 Arthur Wight repaired the furnace; in 1887 a sink was installed in the vestry and the stable was built; and in 1913, when the Rev. Charles E. Brooks was pastor, “the steel ceiling was put up in the auditorium.”

The listing for the Memorial Organ Committee, formed in September 1952, contains names that many people in the area would recognize to this day: Earle Damon, chairman; Hobart Kilgore, secretary; Merwyn Gary, treasurer; and Robert Davis, Roland Downing, Wilfred Gary, Roger Gowell, Ansel Harris, Kenneth Johnson, Kenneth Kilgore, Roy Kimball, Harold Lothrop, Charles McKinley, Donald Mills, Wilfred Mixer, Hartwell Pratt, Harold Quimby, George Rowe, Peter Setford, Robert Shaw, Stanley Spooner, Deane Sturgis, Everett Trask, Gale Torrey, Glen Torrey, James Whiting and Ardelle Yeaton.

The committee also shared that on Jan. 13, 1953, the church dedicated a two-keyboard Hammond electric organ. It cost $2,532, according to records.

A special service was held Sunday afternoon, Dec. 11, 1949, “to dedicate the redecoration and new furnishings, the Rev. Lawrence W. Hathorne, pastor of the church, conducted the service, (the) Rev. Gerry Plummer preached the sermon.”

Roger Goodwin, a member of the church since 1945, remembers Hathorne well. “The Methodist conference usually assigns the minister, is apt to make a change every two to five years, but he was pastor for years and years. He was a good man.”

Hathorne served from 1948 to 1970.

A posting for July 17, 1994, notes that the Mechanic Falls United Methodist Church and the Minot Corner Methodist Church became one, “the Mechanic Falls church being in disrepair and the cost too much to bring it up to standard.”

“The stained glass over the two front doors came from the Mechanic Falls church, as did the stained glass in the lamp over the sanctuary,” Goodwin said.

“We’ve had some good times and some bad times, like most churches, but we made it through,” he said.

The celebration begins at 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23, with two free musical presentations. Ralph Cheney and his band, Heavenly Sound, will perform old-time hymns and original Christian music. Sandy Nisbet will lead the Highland Avenue U.M.C. Choir with selections from the Winsome Souls Anthem Collection.

A turkey supper, served family style, will follow the entertainment, from 5 to 6 p.m.

The celebration continues on Sunday, Aug. 24, with a hymn sing at 9:45 a.m. and a special memorial service at 10 a.m.

After church, all are invited for snacks, treats and beverages. They are also invited to meet Cheryl Decker, who became the church’s newest pastor in July. She is in a line of about 49 others who have served in that position since 1864.


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