DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — It was raised brick by brick the year Abraham Lincoln was elected president and the year the Pony Express had its first run from Missouri to California.
The United Methodist Church in Dover-Foxcroft turned 150 years old this year, and that historic event will be marked by special events this weekend.
A reception will be held at 1:30 p.m. Saturday for former pastors and the district superintendent, and recognition will be given to 50-year members. A banquet will be served at 6:30 p.m. followed by a program on the church’s history with musical selections by the choir. The 10:30 a.m. service Sunday will feature Bishop Peter Weaver from Reading, Mass. A brunch will be served after the service.
Those special events to commemorate the church’s anniversary mean a lot to member Gloria Collins, 77, who has attended the church for most of her life. She recalled days when the church and its balcony were full of parishioners, especially on Easter. That early growth of the congregation promoted renovations and two additions to enlarge the church, Collins said.
According to a book of local history, Methodism came to Dover and Foxcroft in the early 1830s and was quickly embraced. The movement soon outgrew a schoolhouse and a later meeting house that was constructed on Bear Hill. The church services were then moved to the courthouse until the Methodists joined with the Free Baptists and built a church, which today is the Assembly of God Church.
The Methodists sold their interest in the church in 1858 to the Free Baptists, then returned to the courthouse for worship, according to church records. But a revival held that same year attracted more members to the church, prompting the need for a church of their own.
The church members purchased land in 1859 from Isaac Blethen and the “Brick Chapel,” as it was called, was constructed and later dedicated on March 7, 1860. The chapel remains in the same location today.