BANGOR — A downtown church has turned 175 and church leaders are offering people an opportunity to take home a piece of their history.
In 1845, a group of young people from the First Baptist Church decided to minister to the destitute along Bangor’s tough working waterfront, then the largest lumber shipping port in the world.
“Longshoreman and prostitutes are the two categories of workers that always seem to come forward in these discussions. But a bunch of people in the church decided they wanted to minister to people who were at the working waterfront, so that’s when they made the move down there and it just exploded,” said Rev. Stan Moody, senior pastor.
“I mean, within a couple years there was 250 people attending and they had outgrown their facility and within 10 years of the time they decided to make this break, they moved up to Columbia Street,” he said.
The church continues to minister to the poor and homeless and to do so has pulled out some more-than-a-century-old stained glass windows that have sat in the attic for decades collecting dust.
“We’ve got probably a dozen more up there but we’ve brought four down and Glen is working on them, dressing them up and making them available,” Moody said.
“In 1957 they added these wings, and that’s when they pulled out these windows,” said Glen Hudgens, owner of Antique Alley on Columbia Street. “The first window I got was the Elijah Low and Julia Low window. I did some research and found out that Elijah Low passed away in 1853.
“It’s Gothic. I mean, just the workmanship, the colors, the prisms, everything is pretty cool about the window,” he said.
A sign reading Free House was placed on the front of the original Columbia Street Baptist Church.
“The church was known as the Free House because individuals did not need to buy a pew in order to sit down,” said Mark Tuck, chairman of the Board of Deacons. “So this was a church designed for the people who could not afford a pew.”
Moody said the 175th celebration plans — a street fair and community feasts — were in the works when the pandemic hit.
“Along comes COVID-19, so there was only one thing to do and that is postpone it,” he said.
Those interested in the windows can stop by Antique Alley, located across the street from the house of worship