WILTON — The Wilton Congregational Church, UCC, began a yearlong celebration of its bicentennial on Friday night with a dinner prepared by members of the Bicentennial Committee.

“Welcome to the beginning of our celebration of the 200th anniversary of our church,” Church Council Moderator John Backus said.

Backus and the Rev. David W. Smith were presented a Legislative Sentiment by Sen. Tom Saviello, R-Wilton. The sentiment recalled the church founding on Feb. 19, 1818, and the congregation meeting in members’ homes. Services were later held in the Old White Meeting House. In 1870, the church moved to its present location. A vestry was added in 1882.

Judy Upham said the cranberry chicken recipe used for the meal came from a church cookbook. The recipe was contributed by Betty Shible, a church member who was active in the community.

Alan Hutchinson of Jay provided piano music during the dinner.

Bicentennial Committee Chairman Sally Smith introduced committee members Dawn Girardin, Kim Fast, Upham, Sharon Rainey, Christine Couture, Margaret Proctor, Ferna Girardin and Gwyn Sewall.


“Nancy Cureton and Sarah Chamberlain were in charge of decorating the parlor and vestry,” Sally Smith said.

In preparation of the bicentennial the church organ was refurbished and several rooms painted. The couch in the parlor was re-upholstered and new chairs added.

Wilton resident Ferna Girardin joined the church in 1959. At 97, she is one of the longest living members. She was asked to blow out the candles on the birthday cake, which featured a replica of a painting created to celebrate the church’s sesquicentennial 50 years ago.

Upham said she and Kim Fast are working on a new church cookbook. They are looking for recipes and stories about why the recipe is a favorite or why it would be brought to a church supper. Those wishing to submit recipes should do so as soon as possible so the cookbook can be available in time for the Wilton Blueberry Festival, which began as a church fundraiser.

Sally Smith said a different event is planned each month. On March 17 at 6 p.m. a corned beef and cabbage meal is scheduled. At 7 p.m. the Sandy River Ramblers will perform. Donations will be accepted at the door.

“We were lucky to get them on St. Patrick’s Day,” she said.


For more information call the church, 207-645-2535.

[email protected]

State Sen. Tom Saviello, R-Wilton, right, presents a Legislative Sentiment to the Rev. David Smith, left, and Moderator John Backus at a dinner Friday night celebrating the Wilton Congregational Church, UCC’s 200th birthday. (Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser)

Alan Hutchinson of Jay plays at the piano at the Wilton Congregational Church, UCC’s bicentennial celebration and dinner Friday night. (Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser)

Ferna Girardin, 97, of Wilton cuts the bicentennial birthday cake at a celebration and dinner Friday night. She joined the church in 1959. (Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser)


Celebrants of the Wilton Congregational Church, UCC’s bicentennial enjoy dinner Friday night. A yearlong commemoration is planned. (Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser)

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