Two northern Penobscot County churches will celebrate Sunday the new ministry of the Rev. Levering B. Sherman, who is serving both parishes.
The first half of the service will be held at 4 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 40 Highland Ave., in Millinocket. The service will conclude at 5:30 p.m. at St. Thomas Episcopal Church on Main Street in Winn.
“If you look far back enough in the history of both churches, there was a shared ministry, but that would have been in the early 1900s,” Sherman said Thursday. “We’re calling it a celebration of new ministry, but I have been working with both congregations for about 18 months.”
He works half-time at the Millinocket church and one-quarter time with the Winn congregation. Services are at 9 a.m. at St. Andrew’s on the first and third Sundays of each month and at 11 a.m. at St. Thomas’ on the second and third Sundays. Lay leaders in each congregation lead services when the priest is not available, which includes the fourth Sunday every month.
He said that each congregation has its own history, character and involvement in their respective communities.
The Winn church was founded after the Civil War when the town, then called Five Islands, was at the northernmost end of the navigable portion of Penobscot River, according to information posted on St. Thomas’ website.
The church building, completed at a cost of $1,500 provided by an anonymous donor, was consecrated on Sept. 12, 1872.
St. Andrew’s was a mission church of the Winn parish. It was completed in 1901 at the corner of Colby Street and Highland Avenue. It became a self-supporting church in 1944, according to a history posted on its website.
The current structure was constructed in the mid-1960s and the first service at the new St. Andrew’s was on Christmas Eve in 1964. The church grew into “a large, strong congregation” with a “growing Sunday school, choir, women’s fellowship guild, altar guild, twice weekly Bible studies and a parish visiting group,” the website says.
As Great Northern Paper Co., the largest employer in the area, began downsizing in the 1980s, the impact was felt by the congregation, Sherman said Thursday. When the mill closed in 2003, St. Andrew’s rallied to meet the needs of the thousands of people who were affected.
“Episcopalians from around the diocese and elsewhere sent money, food and other necessities to help those who were suddenly struggling to survive,” the website said. “St. Andrew’s became one of the distribution centers for practical, hands-on assistance.”
Both congregations are smaller than they were just a decade ago, Sherman said Thursday. Average Sunday attendance is about 15 in Winn and 45 in Millinocket.
For information about services, call St Thomas’ Episcopal Church in Winn at 736-2010 or St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Millinocket 723-5893. Websites for the churches are at: standrewmaine.episcopalmaine.org/index.html and www.saintthomasmaine.episcopalmaine.org.