From the Archives... The Amazing Women of First Parish 1930’s - 1970’s (Part II)

This month we continue to recognize the Amazing Women of First Parish between 1930’s – 1970’s, although we all are aware that the women before and after those years also contributed significantly to our church.  There are photos and other information that are more easily enjoyed in our sanctuary archive cabinet, but, this month, there are a few interesting minutes and letters that will give you a better understanding of the importance of the Women’s Alliance that later became known as the Women’s Council.  But, the treats don’t stop there!  Near the end of this article are church bulletins from June of 1924 and 1974.  As you may know, First Parish was the setting for Bowdoin’s Baccalaureate Service each year until the early 1960’s and in June of 1924 our church bulletin contained both our Sunday Service held in the morning AND the program for the Baccalaureate Service. This was also the last church bulletin printed each year because there was only one bulletin printed for the entire summer that contained the same service format including sermons by our pastor or by guest speakers during his summer vacation. Hymn numbers were simply changed each week on the wooden display boards in the sanctuary.  For those of you who attended First Parish 50 years ago as adults and those of you who are in your 40’s and 50’s, the June 1974 church bulletin offers a “who’s who” list from the Church School roster that was printed by grade level including the teachers for each level.  How many of these people attend First Parish now?  Have fun counting!

The 1930-31 Women’s Alliance Program for the year:

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A 1944 letter from the Navy Wives after attending a Silver Tea hosted by the Women’s Alliance where they also “enjoyed the opportunity to see such rare and fine handiwork.”  

The minutes from the meeting on April 12, 1945, after it was decided to hold the meeting because of their planned discussion on “Democracy and how to make it work” despite learning about the death of President Roosevelt.  Do your children or spouse know which Roosevelt?

Minutes from the Annual Meeting in May 1945 Highlighting the Past Year’s Activities:

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Our engaging and dear Flossie, Mrs. Harry Baldwin, who on behalf of the Women’s Alliance made arrangements with the New England Re-Upholstering Co. at 27 Maine Street (where J & J Cleaners is located) to make 137 pew cushions for $679.85.  You may think by the feel of our pew cushions that these are the same ones that we sit on each week, but they were replaced with “more comfortable” cushions years later.

The 1959 Report detailing the formation of six circles was created to include all the women of the church which, at the time, with 252 women in the church, meant having 42 members in each of the six circles.  Four of these circles met during the day and two during the evening for women who worked or were unable to attend during the day.  These circles carried out the activities for the year (raised money, decorated the Ladies’ Parlor in Pilgrim House where Ralph Allen built and painted the cupboard which we presently use for our lending library, installed curtains in Fellowship Hall, continued service projects by providing clothing, sewing materials and money to Puerto Rico, Greece, the Augusta State Hospital, and to local families), and continued to serve meals, oversee the nursery, and did most everything other than preach from the pulpit!

Below is the 1955-56 Women’s Alliance Budget.

Our Church Bulletin from June 15, 1924 (take note of the amazing record in Mr. Elliott’s class!)  This bulletin also contains The Offer of the College written in 1906 by Bowdoin’s seventh president, William DeWitt Hyde.  This remains an important statement explaining the outcome of a Bowdoin education.  

(Click on images to see an enlarged version)

Our Church Bulletin from June 1974 where you can see the rosters for the Church School classes.  This is a wonderful illustration of how deep the relationships run within our church community.  Note the prayer written by the fourth grade class! 

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Yes, we celebrate our women of the church……but, it is June, so Happy Father’s Day to all the men who have been a father or a father figure to others. Your personal gifts of time and talents make a difference in the lives of others.  Happy June!

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A multi-colored wooden sign reading "Welcome"

An Ongoing Appeal to Help New Mainers

Stained Glass Windows Restoration Project Update!

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