A Bangor congregation that moved seven times since its founding in 2009 finally has a permanent home, allowing its ministry to expand.
The Mansion Church last month celebrated the completion of renovations to 96 Center St., the former home of Bangor Floral. Two years ago, the nondenominational church was forced to abandon plans to move to 126 Third St. after the city said there was not enough available parking.
Originally home to Advent Christian Church, now located on outer Broadway, worship services are being conducted in the building for the first time in more than 30 years. The building was constructed in 1912 after the original was destroyed in the 1911 fire.
“We feel very blessed to bring this building back to being a church again,” Pastor Terry Dinkins said Thursday. “We’re looking forward to seeing what God’s going to do with us.”
The church’s vision is “to evangelize the formerly incarcerated, homeless and otherwise forgotten of society to come to know Jesus Christ as savior, to follow him through service and faithfully witness to lost souls.”
The Mansion Church is a ministry of Crosspoint Church, 1476 Broadway, in Bangor, but it operates independently. With financial assistance from the former Bangor Baptist Church, Dinkins was able to raise more than $100,000 toward the purchase of a building close to downtown Bangor. About 18 months ago, a Crosspoint church member paid $16,000 for the building at the corner of Center and Cumberland streets. The rest of the money was used to upgrade or replace the heating, plumbing and electrical systems and to refurbish the interior. The outside still needs to be painted.
“Our new bathroom has a shower that we offer to people who are homeless,” Dinkins said. “We also give away clothing and food.”
The plan includes offering people a place where they can wash and dry their clothes for free. The church has a dryer but needs a washing machine.
The church also will offer its first free meal on Thanksgiving from 3 to 5 p.m.
“I’ve always wanted to do this but never had a place to do it,” the pastor said.
Dinkins, who owns an armored car company, founded the ministry after volunteering at the Penobscot County Jail. He now serves as chaplain there and for the sheriff’s office.
The jail is where Dinkins met Jacob Roy, 36, who lives across Cumberland Street from the church. Roy, a culinary school graduate, cooks meals on Sundays and regularly volunteers. He was jailed last year following a fight with a girlfriend.
“I’d been spiritual my whole life but I’d never fully surrendered my life over to God,” Roy said Thursday. “I was playing cards in the jail and Terry walked by to see another inmate. I suddenly felt the Holy Spirit pick me up out of my chair and I asked to speak with Terry, when he came back. God was telling me to work with Terry but I wasn’t sure why.”
Getting his life back on track turned out to be the reason, Roy said.
Back in 2009, one of Dinkins’ first goals was to help the incarcerated men he had led in Bible study at the jail to maintain a connection with God and a church after their release. Dinkins’ first location was the Isaac Farrar Mansion, owned by the Bangor Y.
The Mansion Church also has held services at the Bangor Masonic Center on Union Street at three different times, the Neighborhood Chapel near Bangor International Airport, Columbia Street Baptist Church and the Brick Church, both downtown. At each of those locations, Dinkins paid rent. He also maintained an office on Exchange Street.
“That is $1,500 a month that we are not spending on rent,” he said. “We will be paying utilities here, but I don’t expect it will be that much. That is more money for ministry.”
Between 50 and 70 people attend services each Sunday, Dinkins said. The church also holds a prayer service at 6 p.m. Wednesdays and a Bible study on Friday nights.
“We believe we are a very unique church,” Dinkins said. “We want to minister to all. Just come as you are.”
Services at the Mansion Church, 96, Center St., Bangor, are held at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Sundays followed by a meal. For more information, call 249-9154 or visit the church’s Facebook page or website at TheMansionChurch.org.