From the Archives - "The Original Gentle Dove"
This is a photo of the original “Gentle Dove” weathervane that adorned our steeple when our Second Meeting House was built in 1806 and is an artifact in the Pejebscot History Center collection. Our Sanctuary Archive Display is focused on the “Gentle Dove,” a copy of the large original wooden dove that is now hanging in our vestry.
Architect and builder, Samuel Melcher III, who constructed our Second Meeting House, placed this wooden weathervane, designed by his wife, on the steeple. This dove was obviously viewed by people from the area as they gazed at the steeple to confirm the wind direction until the church was taken down in 1845 to prepare for the construction of our present church. Remember, in the early 1800’s our church steeple was likely the tallest object in the Brunswick area and people were not talking on or checking their cell phones as they walked in town. Of course, they might have been focused on their horse, carriage or the bumpy road.
As you may remember from September’s archive article or the sanctuary display, our church has one of the two copies of the Gentle Dove hanging in our vestry for us all to enjoy as we appreciate its symbolism. From various sources on the internet: “The story of Noah and the general flood in the Bible describes one of the earliest uses of the dove as a messenger. In the Old Testament, the dove is a symbol of peace, goodwill, and forgiveness, in the New Testament the Holy Spirit, love, and mercy of God. The dove symbolizes peace between God and human beings, going back to the time when Noah sent a dove out of his ark to see if the water that God had used to flood the Earth (to destroy sinful people) had receded. The dove brought back an olive leaf, showing Noah that dry land suitable for life to flourish again had appeared on Earth.”
The other copy of the dove was given to the town with the agreement that it would be displayed in the town office. I spent some time in the Brunswick town office talking with a few officials there, but no one has seen it and some of the long-serving officials do not remember it being displayed in the former town office. They assured me that they would look more and get back to me.
Below is a close-up photo of the original dove so you can see the olive leaf that hung from its bill:
Below are church bulletins from October 1923 and October 1973 that include some interesting historical items and helpful suggestions:
Above is our new church logo on a recent church bulletin and on our new church website, firstparish.net. Filled with significant history during more than 300 years, our church continues to embrace the future with hope, love, and enthusiasm. Blessings to you and your family for a lovely October.