A Brief History of the First Congregational Church of East Baldwin, Maine
We find dated Baldwin May 16, 1821, the records of an Ecclesiastical Council convened at the house of Capt. Artemas Richardson for the purpose of the formation of a Congregational Church of Christ in Baldwin. Rev. Noah Emerson was one of the first pastors. The first formal building of worship, erected on the bank of Meadow Brook in 1833, was called The Emerson Meeting House. Another record is dated The Lord’s Day, May 2, 1866, a most interesting day in the history of this little church, and which made the hearts of the Lord’s people rejoice in his goodness and loving favor. As a part of the results of special meetings held the last two weeks in March, seventeen people were received into church membership, all being heads of families.
The Emerson Meeting House collapsed under heavy snow about 1872. A stone was erected to mark the site on the northerly side of the Pequawket Trail about two miles west of East Baldwin village. It is said that Miss. Sue A. Brown was the moving force behind an effort to build a new church in a more central location and that the design for this building was similar to one she had visited in her foreign travels. The new church was dedicated June13, 1877, built in East Baldwin at a cost of $3000 on land donated by Joshua Chadbourne of California, the son of a pioneer of Baldwin. Miss Brown left a trust to keep the church in repair. A Parish Hall was built in 1911 with funds raised by the Ladies Circle.
For many years the church belonged to the Sebago Lake Regional Parish and was yoked with other churches in the area sharing a minister. In 1979 we became a one church parish and have recently joined the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches.
The Maine Sunday Telegram did a feature story in 1982 on the public baked bean suppers that had been held in the Parish Hall for many years. This all-you-can-eat meal, including homemade pies, is still a favorite of many and our own baked bean suppers continue during the Months May-October on the 3rd. Saturday of the month, 4:30-6 PM.
Mr. and Mrs. Everett Giles deeded land to the church on the west side of the buildings in 1980. This provided a much-needed parking area. In 1984 the Baldwin town fathers gave the defunct American Legion William-Goodwin Post 144 building to the church to be renovated for a parsonage, Sunday school and meeting rooms. The building was dedicated as the J. Gordon Warren Memorial Hall.
In 2002 Harold Warren presented a plan to the church body for an addition that would connect the church and parish hall. The addition would house a church office, Sunday school rooms, restroom and handicapped accessibility to the complex. The Memorial Hall was sold to provide funds for this addition that was completed in 2004.
Under the direction of our present pastor, Natalie Blake, we celebrated Homecoming Sunday on October 18, 2009, and enjoyed visiting with old friends.
On May 22, 2010, the church celebrated the ordination of its pastor, Natalie Blake in the presence of friends, family and many area clergy. Rev. Blake continues as our pastor.