The First Baptist Church of Nobleboro will celebrate its quasquibicentennial – 225th anniversary – with a special service Sunday, July 22.
The 10:30 a.m. service will feature all five living pastors of the church and a musical performance by past and present members of the church’s choir, as well as a presentation of historical photos and a message from the Nobleboro Board of Selectmen.
“I think it’s a fun chance to celebrate and look back over the past. Things change so fast nowadays, but this church has been a solid rock of the community for over 200 years,” said the Rev. Stan LeQuire, pastor of The First Baptist Church of Nobleboro.
“We are expecting lots of visitors,” LeQuire said of Sunday’s event. “The public is welcome to attend.”
People from as far away as Michigan, as well as from New Hampshire and New York, plan to attend, according to LeQuire.
“I’m looking forward to the special music and having an opportunity to welcome a lot of visitors. It’s going to be a great day full of celebration,” LeQuire said.
At the time of the church’s founding in 1793, when Maine was part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, a church was an integral part of becoming a town.
As the community around Nobleboro grew, Arthur Noble wrote the commonwealth government, indicating the community’s intention to become a town and start a church, according to LeQuire.
LeQuire said July 25, 1793 marks the actual date of the church’s incorporation.
LeQuire said the church building at the corner of Back Meadow Road and Center Street is not the original church, but a second building, constructed in 1855 and added onto over the years.
The establishment of the church and the town predated the incorporation of Damariscotta in 1848.
Nobleboro was a leading community in Lincoln County, and The First Baptist Church of Nobleboro one of its original churches. The congregation’s efforts led to the creation of three more Baptist churches in the area: Damariscotta Baptist Church, formerly the Second Baptist Church of Nobleboro; North Nobleboro Baptist Church, formerly the Third Baptist Church of Nobleboro, and the former Damariscotta Mills Baptist Church, now a residence.
“Three churches were initiated out of this church,” LeQuire said.
In addition to Sunday’s service, the 225th anniversary celebration started with a hobby fair in May and will continue with events later this summer and in the fall.
LeQuire credited the church’s anniversary planning team, Donna Jackson, Daphne Clark, and Carolyn Baltes, with organizing the events.
Other events this weekend will include a dinner at Moody’s Diner in Waldoboro at 7 p.m., Friday, July 20, part of a homecoming for past members of the church’s Baptist Youth Fellowship.
The homecoming will continue with a boat trip with Hardy Boat Cruises, of New Harbor, at noon, Saturday, July 21.
A potluck luncheon on the church grounds will follow Sunday’s service.
Events after the anniversary weekend will include an acoustic music jam at the monument across from the church, called Music at the Monument, Sunday, Aug. 19.
The final event of the year will be a joint historical presentation with the Nobleboro Historical Society at the church at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 13.
Members of the public are welcome to the other events as well, LeQuire said.
The last big anniversary for the church, the 1993 bicentennial, included a parade, complete with costumes, and the publication of a book marking the historic milestone.
LeQuire, the church’s pastor for two years, arrived in Lincoln County by way of Philadelphia, where he worked at Eastern University in St. Davids.
“The friendliness of the people here sticks out to me,” he said. “We are a really friendly congregation. There is no place like the First Baptist congregation in Nobleboro.”
In addition to the anniversary events, the church hosts public events throughout the year, including church suppers on the fourth Saturday of every month and county conversations.
“I really want to underline for the community, we are here to serve and to bless Lincoln County, and I want that to be very evident. We are dedicated to being a blessing in this community, making God plain in a complicated world,” LeQuire said.