The church has been a place for members to share their memories. Couples were joined in matrimony, lives celebrated, children baptized and tears shed.

It is a place where people felt safe over the years.

At 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 27, the congregation will hold its last worship service.

Members voted on Oct. 24 to abandon the building and disband the Eaton Memorial United Methodist Church. The New England United Methodist Conference will take ownership of the church building and next-door parsonage.

“Our assets will go them and will be set aside from a period of time with the goal to redevelop a United Methodist presence in this community,” said Trustee Pam Newton of Jay. 

When she started attending church here in 1979 or 1980, there was nearly standing room only and an active congregation, including a very active women’s group.

Through the years, the number of attendees dwindled.

There are 97 people on the membership roll but only 10 to 12 people attend services, said member Karen Mitchell, chairwoman of the Leadership Team.

The church is the victim of an aging and diminishing congregation.

“It used to be amazing when the church pews were full,” Newton said. “There was such a spirit here.”

The amount of upkeep and building repairs needed are just too much for a small congregation to support, Mitchell said.

Trustee Bob Jones has worked hard to keep the building going.

“Money has been tight for years,” she said. “We have had people move away. Some have passed away and some have found other places to worship. Our children were raised in this church.”

They grew up and now live elsewhere as is often the case, she said.

Methodism has had a presence in Livermore Falls for decades.

“It’s sad,” Newton said. “We’ve done a lot of stuff here.” 

They have helped a lot of families through the years and touched a lot of lives. 

For the past 15 years, Mitchell and Newton along with the late Betty Richards have put on a free Christmas dinner. They hold it at the American Legion Hall in Livermore Falls. 

They used the church as their base to collect donations, supplies and food. Up until earlier this year, Eaton Memorial had housed the local food cupboard so if they ran low on a food items they could borrow it and replace it later.

“We’re still looking for somebody who will take (the dinner) over,” Mitchell said. “We always had a lot of people come for the socialization.”

There have been a lot of high points. One of them was the late service on Christmas Eve.

“It was quiet,”  Newton said. “The lights went off and we sang ‘Silent Night.'” 

Another favorite was when Margaret Emery of Livermore Falls would bring in bands to play at the church.

Tad Jewett, a student at Spruce Mountain High School in Jay, will be doing a video on the church and taking still digital photos.

“He’ll put it together so we have a memory” of it, she said.

Congregation members have been trying to return Bibles and hymnals to people who may have donated them in memory of someone or who may be a family member of those who donated them.

The Puppet Ministry organized by Maggie Houlihan of Jay will continue in some form at another location.

They have been cleaning out old records no longer needed. Specific records will go tot the conference.

“It’s heartbreaking,” Newton said. “We’ve seen it coming and I think we’ll find on Nov. 27, the closing worship, we will be very emotional about this closing.” 

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