Union Churches


The means of worship was one of the urgent demands of the early settlers, but this was difficult of fulfillment in a wilderness setting such as the St. George River valley. There were few ministers within range of the town at that time. There were no roads. The building of basic shelter was the most urgent need in the beginning and it was difficult to find either time or money to build churches. In May of 1779, with but a few families in the community, three of those families attended their first worship service by making the long, tedious boat trip down the lake and the river to attend services in either Warren or Cushing, in both of which towns a Presbyterian minister, Dr. John Urquhart, was preaching.

For two years, they made this trip - but only about four timed a year. People with that dedication were certain to soon have the means of worship set up in Union. In February of 1782, Rev. Urquhart preached at a service gathered in the log cabin of Philip Robbins.

In March of 1784, Rev. Isaac Case, a Baptist minister from Thomaston, preached at a service in the Robbins' log cabin. That year and the following, unsuccessful attempts were made to vote to hire a part-time preacher on a permanent basis. But it was not until 1796 that the first minister was offered the post, a Rev. William Riddel of Massachusetts, but he turned down the offer.

A renewed move for a community preacher was made in l797, when it was voted to hire a part-time Methodist preacher, to be paid by a voluntary $100, annual tax. Rev. Aaron Humphrey was offered the post and accepted and he held the post until 1799. While this struggle to find a preacher and to set up a meeting house was going on, denominational differences began to appear and as a result, the next direction of activity was towards the establishment of denominational churches, rather than community churches. In 1802, a Rev. Abraham Gushee, a Congregational minister, supplied the pulpit and was offered it permanently, but he turned it down because of these differences between the denominational groups. Meantime, the Town had acquired a church meeting house. In April of 1792, the Town voted to build a meeting house on a site on the North side of the Common. The building was put up in October of 1793, though it was left in very rough condition - no pews, no windows or doors, no heat - for four years. It was finally demolished in 1839.

Methodist Church

      Corner The first of the denominations to organize and set up its own meeting house was the Methodist Church. The first sermon preached in town by a Methodist was in 1793, when Jesse Lee, presiding elder of the Boston District of the Methodist Church, led a service in the barn of Rufus Gillmor.

Old Church Free Methodist Society in Union was organized in 1797 by Rev. Aaron Humphrey, town minister at the time, at a meeting of Metthodists held in the house of Jason Ware. Methodist meetings were held in the old meeting house for a number of years, but in 1810 the Methodists built their own meeting house at Burgess Corner, at a cost of $1,625. For a short time before this, they had withdrawn from the old meeting house services and were meeting in the homes of Jason Ware and Matthias Hawes and then in the Round Pond School House.

MethodistIn 1834, they built a parsonage up the road from their meeting house. Recognizing some disadvantage in their location so far from the Common, in 1871 they build a chapel on what is the site of the present Church and used the chapel for evening services. Sometime before 1900, they sold the Burgess Corner Church building and used the chapel until 1902, when they built the present Church.

Universalist Church

Universalist The Universalist, or Free Church, held its first meeting in 1814 at the home of George W. West, two miles Northwest of the Common. There was only intermittent activity until 1825, when 33 who withdrew from the Congregational Church became interested. In 1840, the First Universalist Society in Union was organized, with 60 members. Their meeting house had been built in 1839 on the Common, next to where the Moneka Block was built.

It burned in 1925.

Congregational Church

Conmgregational The Congregational Society was formed in 1816, though the Congregationalists had been the most active leaders in the old Town meeting house services and the First Congregational Church had been organized in 1803. Some of the membership had withdrawn over a controversy involving the minister and the covenant of the church, and a Second Congregational Church had been formed in 1809. In 1826, the two churches were united and in 1839 the Congregational Church was built to the East of the Common, at the cost of $3,300. The parish became inactive in 1928 and, even though $10,000 was bequeathed by Lucy Rokes of Thomaston to try to keep the church active, this bequest reverted to the Roke’s estate, and in 1942 the church was sold at auction for $475.

Nazarene Church

Nazarene Old Nazarene The Church of the Nazarene was organized in 1926 in what was then the Town Hall. Previously, tent meetings had been held on the church lot on top of the hill above the Common. There were 15 charter members, of whom some were from North Waldoboro and later transferred to the North Waldoboro Nazarene Church after that was organized. The charter group met for services in the home of Mary and Eva Ware until the church building was completed in 1928.

Bible Church

Bible Bible The Union Bible Church in South Union came to the Town in the early 1960s, when Rev. Roger A. Cousins of Calvary Temple, Hartford, Conn., came to Union under the Christian Missions to Closed Churches and reopened the North Union Chapel which had been built about 1899 as a Free Church, buthad fallen into disuse. Union Bible Church was built in South Union in 1968. The building was taken down in 2012.

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