WILTON — The new church Grace Assembly of God will begin services Sunday, Sept. 18, in the Lion’s Club building, 864 Main St.

The Rev. James Hatch of Wilton will welcome the public to three gatherings each Sunday at 8 a.m., 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Maine ranks as one of the least religious states in the country.

There is a need, he said.

“Look at society, people have no patience. There is road rage and even the political process is not very civil or gracious. It has been going on for a long time,” Hatch said.

The church will gather under a mission to grow in gratitude and graciousness, he said.

“Gratitude is what God has done for us and grace is what we do for others,” he said.

Hatch felt called to go back into ministry after being out since 2008. He sought sponsorship from his church, Living Waters Assembly of God in Farmington. The church agreed to assist the new church until it reaches 20 members and is financially solvent. Then Grace Assembly becomes its own entity, he said.

Hatch and his family moved here in 2004 when he became pastor of Mt. Blue Assembly of God Church in Farmington. He also started working for Verso Paper in Jay, where he is still employed.

After four years, he left the church but continued to stay busy teaching as a full professor of Bible and theology on an adjunct basis. While he teaches at the graduate level, teaching college doesn’t appeal to him as much as being a pastor.

Hatch enjoys the engagement with people and the congregation and especially bringing children into the church, he said.

After each service, Hatch plans on a coffee time where people can take the time to talk and ask questions about the sermon or life. He has found people want that time for discussion and to be able to ask questions.

“They have questions and so do we,” he said. He invites them to join him and a core group “to wrestle with our questions,” he said.

Children at Grace Assembly will participate in Bible quiz teams at Living Waters. A teen Bible quiz team memorizes scripture and competes with other churches. A junior Bible quiz team for children in grades one through six focuses on more basic questions about the Bible.

“Kids involved in quiz programs … 95 percent stay involved or return to the church compared to 40 percent of children who attend a church youth group,” Hatch said.

Perhaps the scripture memorization becomes a part of who they are, he said.

Hatch grew up in Howland, north of Bangor, and attended the University of Valley Forge. He worked for a church in New York City before joining the Navy for four years.

During those years in the Navy, he taught Bible studies and filled in for the chaplain services. He continued his theological studies in Bangor and served as a Navy chaplain for eight years.

FMI: [email protected], tinyurl.com/gtosr4b.

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: