Tuesday, November 13, 2018

 

A BRIEF HISTORY

With thanks to Betty Ellison and Rev. Ruth Geurette -- updated as required by Rev. Mark E. Rustin

Since 1825 years Carmel Union Congregational Church has stood overlooking the Town of Carmel faithfully serving our community not only as a place of worship, but as a symbol of strength, character, perseverance, service, unity, and love. Its history is a testament to the central role this church has played in the lives of six generations. Built by The Carmel Union Meeting House Corporation, a stock company consisting of fifty shares; the building was dedicated on March 17, 1825 as a place for all Evangelical denominations. Initially, five denominations -Universalists, Methodists, Baptists, Congregationalists, and Advent Christians- held services in the building with each group meeting once every five weeks. By the turn of the century, only Methodists, Universalists, and Advent Christians were holding services until, finally, the Methodists remained.

The church bell which has called parishioners to worship for 150 years was cast by Henry Hooper of Boston, MA in 1845. Generations of Sunday School children have stood in line for a chance to pull on the bell rope, to feel the surge of power as the great bell swung back and forth sending its peals over the valley below.

In 1857, there were 56 pews in the sanctuary. These pews were sold to church members whereupon each family paid an annual tax on its own pew. Apparently this method of fund-raising continued until 1905 when the church interior was redecorated through the efforts of the newly formed Union Aid. At this time the gallery was removed, the walls reinforced, and new pews were installed which were free to all. Upon completion of the work, the church was rededicated. Then, about 1908, four of the memorial stained glass windows were installed. A fifth one, the McGowan memorial window, was added in 1949.

In 1943, the church was reorganized and began affiliation with the Congregational Christian Conference of Maine. During World War 11 candlelight services were held to honor the men and women serving their country in the armed services.

The 1950's brought a period of growth and change for the church. In 1952-53, the basement was excavated in order to construct a parish room to be used for suppers, meetings, and Sunday School classes. Also in 1953 the parsonage was first rented by the church, and three years later,in 1956, the building was purchased. By the end of the decade, Carmel Union Congregational Church became affiliated with the newly organized United Church of Christ.

The past thirty-five years have been years where dedicated church members have continued to work to strengthen the church family, to improve the buildings, and to keep the doors open. Through the efforts of many people much progress has been made. The parsonage was remodeled from cellar to roof, and a new septic system was constructed. For many years a Thrift Shop, begun in 1971, was run by the Women's Pilgrim Guild. During this time the kitchen in the parish room was remodeled, and a new water line was brought into the church from the parsonage.

After many suppers and fund raisers, new furnaces for both the church and the parsonage were purchased. Work continued on the church building with the installation of carpeting. To protect the newly repaired stained glass windows, a protective sheathing was installed over each one. In 1983 a new organ was purchased, and in 1989 handicapped accessible ramps were installed to both levels of the church.

In 1999 the congregation voted to drop their affiliation with the UCC and affiliated with the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches and the Congregational Christian Council of Maine.

In 2013 the congregation decided to sell the parsonage. The funds generated by the sale were used during the Spring and Summer of 2014 to completely remodel the undercroft, replace the heating system with heat pumps, and insulate the attic and undercroft space. The undercroft now features two Church School rooms, the Church Office, and dining room with kitchen.  To meet the changing needs of our growing congregation, the design provides for easy change into one large space for Church functions.

History is ongoing, and the history of the Carmel Union Congregational Church continues to be a history of bringing people together for worship, for service to others, and for the renewal of friendships. Through the faith and dedication of all those associated with the church, Carmel Union Congregational Church will continue as a beacon of all that is good and faithful in service to God in the future.

 

A BRIEF HISTORY

With thanks to Betty Ellison and Rev. Ruth Geurette -- updated as required by Rev. Mark E. Rustin

Since 1825 years Carmel Union Congregational Church has stood overlooking the Town of Carmel faithfully serving our community not only as a place of worship, but as a symbol of strength, character, perseverance, service, unity, and love. Its history is a testament to the central role this church has played in the lives of six generations. Built by The Carmel Union Meeting House Corporation, a stock company consisting of fifty shares; the building was dedicated on March 17, 1825 as a place for all Evangelical denominations. Initially, five denominations -Universalists, Methodists, Baptists, Congregationalists, and Advent Christians- held services in the building with each group meeting once every five weeks. By the turn of the century, only Methodists, Universalists, and Advent Christians were holding services until, finally, the Methodists remained.

The church bell which has called parishioners to worship for 150 years was cast by Henry Hooper of Boston, MA in 1845. Generations of Sunday School children have stood in line for a chance to pull on the bell rope, to feel the surge of power as the great bell swung back and forth sending its peals over the valley below.

In 1857, there were 56 pews in the sanctuary. These pews were sold to church members whereupon each family paid an annual tax on its own pew. Apparently this method of fund-raising continued until 1905 when the church interior was redecorated through the efforts of the newly formed Union Aid. At this time the gallery was removed, the walls reinforced, and new pews were installed which were free to all. Upon completion of the work, the church was rededicated. Then, about 1908, four of the memorial stained glass windows were installed. A fifth one, the McGowan memorial window, was added in 1949.

In 1943, the church was reorganized and began affiliation with the Congregational Christian Conference of Maine. During World War 11 candlelight services were held to honor the men and women serving their country in the armed services.

The 1950's brought a period of growth and change for the church. In 1952-53, the basement was excavated in order to construct a parish room to be used for suppers, meetings, and Sunday School classes. Also in 1953 the parsonage was first rented by the church, and three years later,in 1956, the building was purchased. By the end of the decade, Carmel Union Congregational Church became affiliated with the newly organized United Church of Christ.

The past thirty-five years have been years where dedicated church members have continued to work to strengthen the church family, to improve the buildings, and to keep the doors open. Through the efforts of many people much progress has been made. The parsonage was remodeled from cellar to roof, and a new septic system was constructed. For many years a Thrift Shop, begun in 1971, was run by the Women's Pilgrim Guild. During this time the kitchen in the parish room was remodeled, and a new water line was brought into the church from the parsonage.

After many suppers and fund raisers, new furnaces for both the church and the parsonage were purchased. Work continued on the church building with the installation of carpeting. To protect the newly repaired stained glass windows, a protective sheathing was installed over each one. In 1983 a new organ was purchased, and in 1989 handicapped accessible ramps were installed to both levels of the church.

In 1999 the congregation voted to drop their affiliation with the UCC and affiliated with the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches and the Congregational Christian Council of Maine.

In 2013 the congregation decided to sell the parsonage. The funds generated by the sale were used during the Spring and Summer of 2014 to completely remodel the undercroft, replace the heating system with heat pumps, and insulate the attic and undercroft space. The undercroft now features two Church School rooms, the Church Office, and dining room with kitchen.  To meet the changing needs of our growing congregation, the design provides for easy change into one large space for Church functions.

History is ongoing, and the history of the Carmel Union Congregational Church continues to be a history of bringing people together for worship, for service to others, and for the renewal of friendships. Through the faith and dedication of all those associated with the church, Carmel Union Congregational Church will continue as a beacon of all that is good and faithful in service to God in the future.

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