Maine is a God fearing, respectful state and churches abound in the many towns, few cities around Vacationland.
And sometimes too many churches, facilities for worship means the facility use changes. Over the years have sold lots of Maine churches in my area. Some torn down for building other improvements or for land vehicle parking purposes.
Other churches bought by another Maine faith healer provider, used for the same worship experience services as a place to get on your knees.
As a place to surrender. To open up your heart. Search deeply for answers. Give thanks for blessings. A few becoming used for business. Like one Church of the Nazarene that became a small engine repair facility. Another Christian Science Church that kept the “Truth Will Set You Free” and “God Is Good” wall scripture reminder showing proudly. As the 1880’s vintage church transformed, became a unique Maine home.
The owner of this “home” made the transformation of the Maine church’s original use because he liked “different”, “unique”. And did not want standard fare in anything he did in life. A housing maverick of sorts in a class of his own. A bit of a loner. He set up shop in an old stone train station in Pennsylvania old home town he previously lived in. And proceeded to turn it into an office for his geology industrial pump business.
Currently there are a number of churches in the Lewiston Auburn Maine area for sale because of a decline in attendance. Or sheer glut of new places springing up to compete with the older, smaller, not so handicap friendly multi story structures. Like big box stores selling the Good Word, broadcasting to more than a few pews of worshippers to make the overhead. Churches are businesses too and have to keep the wolf away from their doors to avoid the padlocks, closure.
The old century young churches that were some of the earliest buildings in Maine’s many small communities were vital meeting places through the ups and downs of anyone’s life. To be the light to follow for guidance. Some becoming gutted to the wall studs, floor stringers, roof rafters and given a new life as assisted living centers. Complete with the clipboard check list of handicap ramps, elevators. All the bells and whistles added, bolted in to comply with current fire, air quality and other safety regulations.
The grand old history rich churches in Maine. Ones where the spires, Victorian gingerbreading impress and hit you deeply.
Extraordinary but costing an arm and a leg to maintain, heat, insure, keep full. Grand old church structures that compete with thousand seating and more worship centers catering to today’s audio visual rich worship experience needed to fill the pews. With elaborate sound systems, overhead projectors, big screens to enrich the audio visual worship experience. To compete effectively with the many other options in the same time slot on Sunday morning for worship.
The Portland Maine city church called Grace now is a memorable, gorgeous setting for dining. Transformed into a special spot put out to hire, reworked. Tinkered with to be a Maine home for catered events like weddings, private parties or meetings.
Maine, nothing is wasted and churches that become outdated or find themselves in areas of just too many take on new roles in the local communities. Come see what you are missing, how life can be fuller, more complete and satisfying when everything is kept simple, natural, home grown easy.