From the Archives... "The Clock in the Closet"

Can you imagine 1000-1200 people gathered in our church?  From the 1846 reports, on the 18th of March, it was estimated that these were the numbers of church and parish members gathered to dedicate our third Meeting House (sanctuary).  Our present church sits on the same site as our second Meeting House.  Because of the need for a larger church, it was decided to replace our second Meeting House based on the design plans of Richard Upjohn, Esq. who is best remembered in our country as the architect and builder of the Trinity Church in New York City that was dedicated two months after our church.  According to Rev. Thompson Ashby’s History of The First Parish Church in Brunswick Maine, “Richard Upjohn was in Brunswick only two times, his second time was to inspect all three of his local projects, the Bowdoin Chapel, the Episcopal Church and our Meeting House.”  Mr. Upjohn was paid $250.00 for his services to our church.  The construction costs by the Bath firm of Coombs & Graves including local supplies totaled just over $13,000.  So, when you arrive for church on Sunday, March 17, please take a moment to remember that 178 years earlier, our members and town parish members were excited for the church dedication that would take place on the 18th.  

The photo above will better orient you to the area at that time so you can see part of the Bowdoin campus in 1846. Bowdoin’s Massachusetts Hall was the closest building physically to our church at that time. Our former pastor, Rev. Ashby (1917-1951), wrote a thorough history of our church and I encourage you to read it if you want more information about our precious church history. In addition to highlighting the dedication of our third Meeting House this month, we also are celebrating our 1843 sanctuary clock that was recently discovered and re-hung.  This article also includes church bulletins from 1924 and 1974 which contain interesting historical facts and curious tidbits.

If you have ever found a treasured item in a closet or drawer, you can appreciate our delight when our former sanctuary clock from 1843 that hung from our choir loft was discovered in a church closet about two months ago.  We learned that it had stopped working during the Covid pandemic (defined in case future historians need to know which pandemic!) when a new clock was purchased to replace it just prior to the resumption of our in-person worship services.  After a few emails and confirmation from a visual sighting, Mark Patrick filled in the rest of the story for us and, more importantly, took the clock home where he replaced the battery and created a handle so it can easily be taken down for any future repairs.

From our 2017 church history book, The Third Century, it states:

Since 1843 a clock, believed to be a Simon Willard, has hung on the music loft.  Reverend Samuelson referred to his sons calling his sermons “the talk”…. In 1969 the clock was given to a member of the church, John Dodge.  He, in turn, gave the clock to Cal Morgan, who replaced the original works with a battery powered drive, and insisted the clock be returned to the church.  In 1997 Mark Patrick offered to refurbish it.  As he leaned over the music loft rail to remove the clock, the screw eye at the top of the frame came out, causing the whole unit to fall to the sanctuary floor.  The frame shattered into many pieces. Mark gathered them up and took them home to reassemble.  During that process, he also reinforced the frame with steel rods.  The clockwork was not damaged and it still gives reliable service.  

All of us contribute in meaningful ways to our church community and, although Mark has given of his many talents over the years and continues to do so, he deserves credit for taking the clock home in 1997 when it had stopped working and again this year!  Please take a look at our historic clock next time you come to the sanctuary and take a moment to think of all the pastors and parishioners who have gazed at it during the past nearly 200 years during a service to stay on time or in anticipation of an upcoming event after the service.   Thank you, Mark!

Below are some other photos of our historic clock taken in 1997.

(Click on the images to see an enlarged version)

Below are photos of our 1843 Sanctuary Clock that Mark recently re-hung.

(Photos by Mark Patrick)

Below are a few selected church bulletins from March 1924 and 1974.

(Click on the images to see an enlarged version)

Blessings for a lovely March as we await an early Easter and, with prayers, an early Spring.

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From the Archives... "A Gentle Dove"

A multi-colored wooden sign reading "Welcome"

An Ongoing Appeal to Help New Mainers

Stained Glass Windows Restoration Project Update!

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