Excerpts from: The History of The East Winthrop Baptist Church
Historian:DOROTHY C. IRISH
In tracing the movements which led to the formation of the East Winthrop Baptist Church, we need to understand it was the day of the Standing Order, which, originally supported from the town treasury, was still practically a State Church.
In the spring of 1792 Elder Isaac Case came to this place on horseback with saddlebags gathering twenty baptized believers and organized them into a church called the Baptist Church of Winthrop at a meeting held in a barn located near the top of the hill on the north road, presently known as the Case Road. Membership increased rapidly. Soon the town was divided and the church was on the Readfield side of the line so the name was changed to East Readfield Baptist Church.
An important era in the history of this church took place when in 1822 seventy-five members were dismissed from the East Readfield Baptist Church to form a new organization and build their own church in East Winthrop. The land was donated by Reverend Josiah Houghton and fifty-nine shares at fifty dollars each were subscribed. The bell was the only church bell in this part of the State. Twenty-nine persons subscribed $182.00 to purchase the bell.
In 1823 the church was dedicated with the services extending through two days, November 19 and on into November 20 which was Thanksgiving Day. For two years the church was served by licentiates of Waterville College during which time there was a great revival.
In 1824 churches from all over the state met here and organized the Maine Baptist Convention.
On May 1, 1825, the first ordained pastor to serve was Reverend John Butler who lived in the parsonage built especially for him at a cost of $800.00, and now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Fuller. The pastor's annual pay was $300.00 and nineteen cords of wood. There have been 27 pastors serving to date. In the first seventy years the church sent forth from its membership three ministers.
In 1831 between the two church services Sunday School was held at the brick schoolhouse during the summer. In 1872 the second sermon on Sunday was abolished.
A library was purchased in 1835 and a regular librarian made an officer of the church.
From 1835 to 1845 East Winthrop was noted for its singing school and public concerts were held in the church. The first church choirs sang unaccompanied. Mr. George H. Kilbreth was the chorister for over fifty years. In December 1955 the choir presented the first Yuletide Hour which became an annual event. In 1956 they became a vested choir.
The Baptist State Convention met here in 1845.
The pipe organ, built by Mr. W. H. Parlin in 1854, was played by him for more than twenty-seven years. Later, Mrs. Stella Stone was organist for many years.
In 1855 the Reverend Hosea Pierce became pastor and built the present parsonage. When he left in 1860 the church bought the building and it hits been the church parsonage since that time.
A vestry was built, in 1868, on the meeting house lot and served until 1913 when it was sold for a dwelling. The church was made into two stories in 1869. In 1912 the church was again remodeled when Mr. John Brainard gave $1,000.00 which covered most of the expense. It was rededicated February 5, 1913. Seven pastors have been ordained in this church. Reverend Alonzo Bunker went directly from his ordination to Burma, India, where he served many years as a missionary. This has been a strong missionary concerned church giving generous support throughout its one hundred and fifty years.
In 1874 the ladies of the church organized the Benevolent Society which existed until 1907. Other ladies groups have follwoed. In 1921 the Willing Helpers organized and continued for seventeen years. In 1938 the Loyal Daughters were organized and are still very active in support of the church.
A stable and addition were built at the parsonage in 1877.
In 1923 the Centennial of the church was observed.
The church was repaired and remodeled again in 1949, church yard landscaped, and a parking lot made in place of the old horse sheds no longer needed.
The Cobbossee Couples Club was organized in the late fifties, the purpose
of which was to promote family fellowship among the couples of the community.
The East Winthrop Bell Ringers, originating among members of the church
choir, formed in 1959.
On May 6, 1962, a church annex to be known as Huffman Memorial Christian Education Building was dedicated as a memorial to honor our well loved pastor, Reverend Mildred B. Huffman who served here for twenty-nine years. Various youth groups and adult organizations hold their meetings in this memorial building.
The Reverend Daniel C. Tuttle, our present pastor began his ministry here in 1966.
The influence of the church can never be measured in words or thought.
Having considered these days of old, we surely have learned gratitude for the past, a Christian ambition for the present and trust and confidence in God for the future. We commit this precious legacy to those that shall follow us as long as man has need of the glorious gospel of Christ.
DOROTHY C. IRISH
Elder John Butler
Elder Samuel Fogg
Rev. John H. Ingraham
Rev. Daniel E. Burbank
Rev. Franklin Merriam
Rev. Sampson Powers
Rev. C. W. Bradbury
Rev. Hosea Pierce
Rev. Sewall Brown
Rev. Amasa Bryant
Rev. W. F. Whitmarsh
Rev. A. R. Crane, D.D.
Rev. I. S. Hamblen
Rev. Joseph M. Long
Rev. Albert Leach
Rev. Peter S. Collins
Rev. Robert Morris
Rev. Asa L. Lane
Rev. Benjamin S. Fifield
Rev. Edwin S. Longley
Rev. Levi F. Cook
Rev. Angus Lyons
Rev. George T. Griffin
Rev. Mildred B. Huffman
Rev. Robert E. Aspinwall
Rev. Frank L. Irvine, Jr.
Rev. Daniel C. Tuttle
Rev. John D. McNeil
Rev. David F. G. Beal
Rev. Samuel Richards
(Tune: Austria by Haydn - "Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken")
Heavenly Father, hear Thy children
Praise Thy name in joyful song,
Giving thanks for Thy great mercy,
For Thy love through ages long;
Far Thy guiding hand has led us
Through our paths of joy and pain;
Hearts undaunted, steps unfalt'ring,
Join we now in glad refrain.
Heavenly Father, bless Thy children
May Thy presence hover near;
Cleanse our hearts from sins kept secret,
Selfish pride, and doubt, and fear.
Breath Thy Spirit, pure and holy,
Into every troubled soul;
Let Thy healing power sweep o'er us;
Make our fractured beings whole.
Heavenly Father, lead Thy children
Through new paths of serving
Thee In our town, our state, our nation,
Or across Thy boundless sea.
Lift our eyes to new horizons,
Stretch our souls with sympathy,
In the Savior's love to gather
All mankind as one to Thee.
HARRIETT S. TUTTLE