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About Windhan Hill United Church of Christ

MISSION STATEMENT

Ever aware of our needs we acknowledge as our Biblical mandate the call to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty receive the stranger, clothe the naked, care for the sick and visit the prisoner.                                                         Matthew 25:35

Windham Hill United Church of Christ's mission is to proclaim the gospel to all people and to work for the promotion of justice, the reign of peace, and human understanding in all our relationships.  We strive through our example to overcome exclusionary practices, discrimination and violence in our society pursuant to the policies and practices of the United Church of Christ and based upon considerations, including but not limited to race, ancestry, age, physical or mental limitations, gender, sexual orientation, social or economic class, and religious background. We commit ourselves to work towards ending hatred, prejudice and discrimination, thereby providing a safe physical, emotional and spiritual haven. As Jesus accepted and included all people, so do we as individuals and as a congregation welcome all who wish to enter our community of faith and invite their participation in the full life of the church. Without exception, we accept each person who joins our community of faith, as an individual and our equal within God's family

Therefore, Windham Hill United Church of Christ declares itself to be open and affirming; open to all for participation, membership, leadership and employment, and affirming all who wish to join us as children of God. We continue to give thanks for God's guidance in our journey of faith

 



A BRIEF OUTLINE HISTORY

WINDHAM HILL UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST

 

December 14, 1743  The church was organized as an Orthodox Congregational Church and had seven (7) members. This action was provided for at the founding of the Town in 1737, but it was six years later that the Reverend John Wight became the first settled minister

 

1762    The second minister, Peter Thatcher Smith, was called. The Town of New Marblehead became the Town of Windham. The fourteen (14) members held services in the Old Province Fort.

 

1768 (and again in 1783)      Attempts were made to construct a Meeting House in the South end of town. Neither building was ever finished.

 

1795    The fourth edifice was opened for public worship. It was located on a height of land near the intersection of Webb and Chute Roads. This building was the center of religious interest and activity for nearly forty years.

            (In 1861, the building was purchased for conversion to a barn and moved to lower River Road in South Windham.)

 

1811    Gardiner Kellogg, a graduate of Dartmouth College, became the fifth settled minister. He served for fifteen years, establishing the church on a firm foundation. A new Confession of Faith and Covenant were adopted during his pastorate.

 

1834-1835       The seventh minister, Jonathan Lee Hale, was instrumental in the building of the present Meeting House, the fifth edifice to house this congregation in Windham. “It was a convenient, well-finished church with steeple and bell, being the first bell on any church in Windham.” There were pews on either side of the pulpit area; people owned their pews and could be taxed on them, and there was no heat in the building.

 

1854-1884       During the pastorate of the eleventh pastor, the Reverend Luther Wiswall, the church flourished and attained its greatest prosperity to date. He served the church for thirty years and then sold his home to the Windham Ministerial Fund to be the parsonage of the First Congregational Church of Windham.

 

1872    The first organ was installed for use in services.

 

1891    The thirteenth pastor, the Reverend James Aikins, was installed. He served until his death 45 years later. Reverend Aikins had eight children. His son, Frederick H. Aikins, became Supreintendent of Schools in Windham.

 

1924    The Memorial Window in the pulpit area was given in memory of his parents by George B. Morrill

 

1937    On October 8th, the church joined the Presumpscot Union Parish, with Walter Swank as the 14th minister.

 

1944-1953       The Reverend Robert C. Whitehead served the church and the Presumpscot Union Parish, with, perhaps, the most energetic and visionary pastorate to date. Reverend Whitehead incorporated many successful programs that brought members of “The Parish” together.

 

1950    The First Congregational Church of Windham was incorporated.

 

1955    The Reverend Donald W. Henderson was installed as the sixteenth settled minister of Windham Hill Church and as the pastor of the Presumpscot Union Parish. During his tenure, his wife, Dottie, formed a Rhythmic Choir that presented interpretations at several other area churches.

 

1959    The parish house, Fellowship Hall, was built. At that time, the Windham Ministerial Fund sold the church the land for the parish house and the Town of Windham gave the Windham Hill Church the deed for the land on which the church stands.

 

1961    The Reverend Leslie R. Craig became the 17th settled minister, serving both the Presumpscot Union Parish and the Windham Hill Church. Three churches remain in the Parish; East Windham, Windham Hill and North Gorham.

 

1964    The Memorial Gift of the steeple carillon was presented to the church in memory of Fred A. Bell, Treasurer and Deacon.

 

1966    The 18th minister, the Reverend John Swanson, was installed. Reverend Swanson was a member of the Army Reserve and also served as an Army Chaplain in the area.

 

1970    The Reverend Leighton Foss was installed as the 19th minister and served for ten years.

 

1971    The candelabra were dedicated in memory of Emma Smith and Orville Haskell.

 

1972    On January 7th, the name of the church was officially changed from The First Congregational Church of Windham to Windham Hill United Church of Christ.

 

1973    Windham Hill Church became a charter member and actively participated in the newly formed Windham Ecumenical Council.

 

1974    A new Constitution and By-laws were adopted. Church School enrollment was 82. It was decided to lock the church doors to prevent vandalism.

 

1976    The church was insulated for the first time. The cost was $1,663.00.

 

1977    The gift of three octaves of Schulmerich Handbells was presented to the church in memory of Johnna C. Bell. Subsequently, two choirs were formed: the Harmony Ringers for children and the Melody Ringers for adults.

 

1978    A new Communion set was purchased as a memorial to Mrs. Miriam Whitehead, devoted member and widow of Rev. Robert C. Whitehead.

 

1978    The new Allen organ was purchased with Memorial Funds. It replaced the Baldwin organ purchased in 1956.

 

1980    Marsha Morgan, and her daughter Tracey, presented to the church sixteen large ceramic crèche figures they had made. The standing figures average 24” in height and the camel came in two sections. To this, other members added a fabric star, wooden stable and a large wooden base. This gift began a tradition of members presenting individual figures each Sunday during Advent.

 

1982    The Reverend Madelyn Hennessey Carr, 20th pastor and the first woman minister, was installed.

 

1983    New hymnal racks, designed by Robert Smithson, were installed.

 

1986    The two remaining churches, North Gorham and Windham Hill, voted to dissolve The Presumpscot Union Parish. After forty-nine years of membership in the Larger Parish, Windham Hill was on its own again.

 

1987    the Reverend Nash Garabedian, Jr. was engaged as a part-time minister during this transition time. He served for a period of seven months. Weekly church support of the Windham Food Pantry was started and the church joined the “Covenant to Grow” program offered by the Maine Conference.

 

1988    Interim Pastor, the Reverend Dr. Carol Kerr served from October 1987 to November 1988. Pew cushions were purchased with Memorial Funds and a large exterior sign was given by Julia Burgess.

 

1988    The 21st minister, the Reverend Dana Douglass, arrived in November. The church was given a grant by the Maine Conference to assist with the transition back to single identity and having a full-time pastor.

 

1989    The exterior of the church was painted and exterior lights were installed to illuminate the front of the church and the steeple. A name tag holder was built by John Roberts.

 

1991    Member Norman Clark gifted the church with a wooden Baptismal Font which he had designed and crafted. Norman shared his skill and his faith most generously with his church family.

 

1993    Windham Hill United Church of Christ had 200 members for the first time in its history.

 

During the entire year, many activities were held to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the founding of the church which began and ended with Watch Night Services. Two hundred fifty wooden cutouts of the church were commissioned through “Cat’s Meow, manufacturers of limited edition collectible items, and sold exclusively at “Something Special”, a gift shop in North Windham.

 

1994    The Reverend Dr. Carol Kerr and the Reverend Dana Stetson-Reed became co-interim pastors in March. Reverend Kerr left in November to accept a position as interim in Scarborough. Reverend Stetson-Reed remained until March 1995.

 

1995    The Reverend Dr. William Howden began his services as the 22nd minister in March. On May 27th, Reverend Howden and Dr. Josie Campbell, a professor at the University of Rhode Island, were married in RI.

            Windham Hill participated in the inaugural season of “Consecrating Stewards”, a stewardship program offered by the Maine Conference. In October, the Youth Group traveled to New York City for the “Nightwatch” program at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

 

1996    A “treasure” in the form of a very large vase was discovered in the lower level of Fellowship Hall and included in a church auction. After a successful bid by telephone, the vase went back to a museum in Pennsylvania, in the area where the artist lived.

 

1997    One of the two newly hired Maine Conference Ministers, the Reverend Dr. Jean Alexander, became a member of Windham Hill Church and maintained her membership throughout her tenure at the Conference.

            The upper portion of the driveway was paved and a ceiling fan was installed in the sanctuary with generous donations from two dedicated members. New Century Hymnals were purchased through memorial donations of parishioners. Board and Committee terms were changed from January to July to coincide more closely with the activities of the church.

 

1998    Windham Hill Church participated in and attended the Cumberland Association’s service in Merrill Auditorium in Portland. “Music on the Hill” held its premiere season in July.

 

1999    The Board of Mission and Social Concerns introduced the “Monday Meal” Program. This offering, which included participation of other churches and groups, began with one meal offering a month at Windham Hill, grew to two and then to four with two meals remaining at Windham Hill and two held at the Assembly of God church. The group was incorporated in 2002 and was designated a 501c3 organization. The corporation name was registered as “Food and Fellowship” to more accurately reflect the mission of the program.

 

The repair of the stained glass window at the front of the church, funded by the Women’s Fellowship, was completed. A booklet of Job Descriptions for Officers, Boards and Committees was completed and the By-laws re-written. A piano for the sanctuary, in memory of Dr. Betty Atterbury, who had been Choir Director at Windham Hill and Professor of Music at the University of Southern Maine, was purchased with Memorial Funds.

 

2000    The interior of the sanctuary was extensively renovated. The center back pew was removed to allow for wheelchair access, support of the balcony was adjusted, a closet and storage unit was built in the balcony, walls and ceiling were re-plastered and re-painted, new rugs were installed, and the “Amen Corner” was eliminated which allowed the pulpit level to extend across the entire front of the church, making space under the extension available for storage of the handbells and related equipment.

 

2001    The organ speakers were relocated over the center arch in the front of the church.

 

2002    The Reverend Dr. Jeanette Good began her service as interim pastor in February and remained until August of 2003. The Windham Ministerial Fund transferred ownership of the Parsonage to Windham Hill Church.

 

2003    On March 23rd, WHUCC participated in and attended the second Cumberland Association’s worship service in Merrill Auditorium in Portland. On recommendation of the Search Committee, an Equal Opportunity Employment Policy and a Harassment Policy were written and adopted.

 

In September, the 23rd minister, the Reverend Sally Colegrove, began her pastorate.

 

2004    The Prayer Shawl Ministry was born. Under the direction of Reverend Colegrove, the Youth Group presented “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” in the sanctuary.

 

2005    A three year Capital Campaign was begun on April 10th for the purpose of renovating and expanding Fellowship Hall. Ground was broken on June 28th. Under the direction of Reverend Colegrove, the Youth Group presented “Godspell” in the sanctuary.

 

2006    The church voted to become “Open and Affirming” and developed a Statement of Welcome.

In February, 23 youth and advisors joined the Maine Youth Mission Trip to Honduras.

            The church officially formed a Honduras Committee, entered into a partnership with a church in Morazon and began planning for a trip to Honduras in 2008.

 

The new construction was completed.

Renovations gave the upper level of Fellowship Hall an expanded hall with a coffee bar, 2 storage closets, 2 coat closets, an enlarged kitchen, copier room, handicapped accessible rest room, Pastor’s office, church office and janitor’s closet.

 

 

2006  (continued)

            On the lower level, a handicapped entrance was added on the parking lot side, 2 closets under the stairs, boiler room, a lounge area, archive and record room, Christian Education office, an expanded Youth Room, completely renovated classrooms, a library, and 2 handicapped accessible restrooms. A very generous gift from a dedicated member expanded the renovations in the classroom area to include new flooring, new doors, painting, etc.

 

2007    Continuing the expansion/renovation of Fellowship Hall and other church properties, generous donations from members and friends refinished the floor in the upper hall, provided new windows, composition siding, new lights in the hall, insulation over the ceiling, and a landscaped garden in front of the building; installed a new stone walkway at the parsonage; and, at the church, painted the steeple and re-shingled the roof. Funds were also received for the paving of the lower parking area in the spring of 2008. Additional donations of furniture and a piano by the Watkins family led to a formal dedication of the Watkins Room on the lower level.

 

The practice of lighting electric candles in honor of our servicemen serving overseas was begun. The candles are in the church office windows and glow nightly as a visible representation of our prayers .

 

2008    Several members of the WHUCC went on a Mission Trip to Morazon in our sister-state of Honduras.

 

            The Lake Region Clergy group, consisting of the pastors of Windham Hill UCC, St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, North Windham Union Church, and Faith Lutheran Church held the first combined service on the Sunday before Thanksgiving at Windham Hill UCC. Subsequent years saw services at both Thanksgiving and Martin Luther King Day at various locations. A combined choir is an integral part of the services.

 

2009    The Trustees began a formal campaign and program to upgrade and maintain the three buildings and the grounds.

 

            In July, a new pulpit for the sanctuary was given and dedicated in memory of Joanne and Richard Milton by their family.

 

2010    Several members of the church, and friends from the Maine Conference, embarked on a trip to England with the Reverend Colegrove as tour leader.

 

2011    The Women’s Fellowship purchased a large curio cabinet for the Watkins Room. The cabinet houses a portion of longtime member Edith Bell’s bell collection as well as a miniature shadow box room made by Willis Watkins.

 

            At a special ceremony after worship service on September 11, 2011, two pear trees, like the one that survived the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, were dedicated for planting on the grounds.

 

2012    Because of unrest in Honduras, a February Youth Trip planned for members of our Youth Group, and others in the Maine Conference, was unexpectedly diverted to Istanbul. Visits to many historic religious sites were included. Reverend Colegrove was the tour leader.

 

            In September, about forty folks from the church, and their friends, embarked on a trip to Scotland with Reverend Colegrove. Like the trip to England in 2010, proceeds from this trip benefited the church budget.


 

 

Ministers of Windham Hill United Church of Christ

(formerly The First Congregational Church of Windham)

 

 

                        1.         John Wight                                        1743-1753 (10 yrs)

                        2.         Peter Thatcher Smith                      1762-1790 (28 yrs)

                        3.         Nathanial Stone                               1798-1805 (6 yrs)

                        4.         Asa Lyman                                        1809-1810 (1 yr)

                        5.         Gardiner Kellogg                             1811-1826 (15 yrs)

 

                        6.         William Gragg                                  1828-1831 (3 yrs)

                        7.         Jonathan Hale                                 1832-1835 (3 yrs)

                        8.         John Shepard                                  1836-1839 (3 yrs)

                        9.         William Warren                                1840-1849 (9 yrs)

                        10.      John Perham                                               1850-1853 (3 yrs)

 

                        11.      Luther Wiswall                                 1854-1884 (30 yrs)

                        12.      Robert Kyle                                       1885-1890 (5 yrs)

                        13.      James E. Aikins                               1891-1936 (45 yrs)

                        14.      Walter Swank                                   1937-1942 (5 yrs)

                        15.      Robert C. Whitehead                      1944-1953 (9 yrs)

 

                        16.      Donald W. Henderson                   1953-1960 (7 yrs)

                        17.      Leslie Craig                                      1961-1966 (5 yrs)

                        18.      John Swanson                                 1966-1970 (4 yrs)

                        19.      Leighton J. Foss                              1970-1980 (10 yrs)

                        20.      Madelyn H. Carr                               1981-1986 (5 yrs)

 

                        21.      Dana W. Douglass                         Nov. 1988 – Dec. 1993 (5 yrs)

                        22.      Dr. William Howden                                    Mar. 1995 – Feb. 2002 (7 yrs)

                        23.      Sarah-Anne (Sally) Colegrove      Sept. 2003 -