Parkman Baptist Church celebrates bicentennial
PARKMAN — In August of 1818, a group of 15 settlers chartered a Baptist Church in Parkman. Soon thereafter, Zenas Hall was ordained at the home of Elias Merrill and became the church’s first minister. In 1831 the meeting house where Parkman Baptist Church currently gathers was built and in 1833 a bell was installed in the belfry.
By the 1840s the church’s membership had swelled to over 200. In the 1850s the church was divided by theological differences into separate Calvinistic and Freewill Baptist congregations, sharing the same meeting house. By 1900, the two congregations had united again. The church is in possession of its original records dating back to 1818, with the exception of some of the Freewill Baptist records which were destroyed in a fire.
The Parkman Historical Society received a grant this spring from the Maine Historical Records Advisory Board to be used for the preservation of the church’s records. Yvonne Davis, the wife of Rev. Richard Davis, Parkman Baptist Church’s current minister wrote a book entitled “At Early Candlelight: The First 100 Years of Parkman Baptist Church, 1818-1918” to commemorate the church’s bicentennial.
Celebrations are planned for August, including a pulled pork barbecue at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 11 followed by a concert featuring Kindred Hearts at 6:30 p.m. On Friday, Aug. 17 “Sheffy” a full-length movie about the life of Robert Sheffy, an itinerant preacher in the 1800s will be shown at the church at 6 p.m. On Sunday, Aug. 19 at 1 p.m. there will be a special Old Home Sunday service. There will be a harp prelude by Linda Hall, costumed visitor from the past, special music and guest speaker John Kasten from Crosspoint Church in Bangor. A cake and punch reception will follow the service.
Anyone who is interested in attending these free events is encouraged to email the church at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 717-5929 to RSVP.