By Brian Swartz
Weekly Staff Editor
FRANKFORT — A one-day construction project has eliminated a potential safety hazard at the Frankfort Congregational Church.
Affiliated with the United Church of Christ, the church stands between Marsh Stream and Route 1A and serves as a major landmark in this Waldo County town. On average 45 people attend the 9 a.m. service each Sunday, and Sunday school starts at the same time, according to Treasurer Lawrence Brassbridge.
“The church was built in 1847,” with Congregationalists, Methodists, and Universalists initially sharing the building, but not similar worship times, he said. The church later affiliated with the United Church of Christ.
“Two or three weeks ago … somebody brought it to our attention” that “some of the [front] steps had rotted out,” Brassbridge said. The steps and an adjacent handicap-access ramp steer church members and visitors directly to the front door and the church sanctuary. The ramp is in excellent shape.
Church members moved quickly to replace all the steps; the project went out for bid, and “the lowest bid was [from] my son, Kevin, a church member and a foreman for Belfast-based Whitecap Builders, Brassbridge said.
Estimated to cost $2,600, the project involved Kevin Brassbridge, two men whom he hired, and Ed Leonard, a church volunteer from Hermon. On Saturday, Oct. 19, the carpenters removed the existing steps and replaced them with 13 new steps made with pressure-treated lumber.
The steps “won’t be painted until next spring,” Lawrence Brassbridge said.
The construction project was the latest of several completed at the Frankfort church. One project involved the wrought-iron fence “in the last 10 years,” Brassbridge said. Two years ago, church members organized a capital campaign to raise “around $5,000” to install new vinyl windows throughout the building.
The response to that campaign “was very good,” with “not just church people” but “other people in town” participating, he said.
Pastor Judy Ahles has been the church’s part-time minister for two years. “She was going to the [Bangor Theological] Seminary,” which supplied ministers for a long time, Brassbridge said. “She will be ordained shortly in the United Church of Christ membership.”
The only church in town, the Frankfort Congregational Church has long been known for its turkey suppers, which are served the last Saturday of each month from May to October. Each supper features three settlings, with diners paying $9 per person, “all you can eat, and we serve homemade ice cream,” Brassbridge said.
“They’re very popular,” he said, referring to the turkey suppers. “Usually we have 180 to 200 people here. One supper this summer we took in $1,600.”
The suppers are “how we pay for the church expenses,” Brassbridge explained. The last 2013 supper, held Oct. 26, helped “pay for this construction” project, he said.