Our church’s story begins in 1764 when Maine was still part of Massachusetts. Massachusetts colonial law required that a community have a settled minister before it could be granted a town charter, so the people of what would become Wiscasset voted to raise 50 pounds for the support of a minister.
Shortly after that vote, the townspeople embarked on a project to raise additional funds for a meetinghouse, which would also serve as a place of worship. This structure was completed in 1767 and stood where our church stands today. Six years later on August 16, 1773, a covenant was created that marked the beginning of our church. At the time it was referred to as “Ye Old First Parish” or simply “Old First Church.”
For the next half century, the people of Wiscasset worshipped and held their town meetings in this building. By 1840, it was showing its age and a new structure was built on the same site next to the courthouse. It is not clear when the people of Wiscasset began to meet in a different location for town meetings, but it is clear that our church continued to be the center for worship in the community. By the end of the nineteenth century, the congregation of the church had grown to about 50 adults and 60 children.
On December 21, 1907, a horrible fire swept through our church building. The heat was so intense that the bell in the steeple, cast by the legendary Paul Revere, actually melted in the blaze. Discouraged, but not defeated, the members of the church immediately began raising money to build another church. On July 27, 1909, the new building was completed and was totally free of debt. As the story goes, part of the Revere bell was recast as a new bell and placed in the new church’s belfry.
Today, our church, like the first meetinghouse, continues to look out over the town of Wiscasset. The building is used for worship on Sunday and for community events and meetings. When the congregation embarked on a capital campaign in the late 1990s to add a parish house and then again in 2011 to replace the steeple, it received financial help from the townspeople as well as from the congregation.
The church is proud to say that today, after 250 years, it remains both figuratively and literally at the heart of Wiscasset.