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Considering a Visit? Here’s What to Expect

Old South is a small, but lively, community of faith located in Hallowell, Maine.  We are an Open and Affirming Church, meaning that we welcome all people to worship with us and to be a part of our community, no matter who they are and no matter where they are on life’s journey.  We welcome all sorts of people– young and old, liberal and conservative (and independent!), married, divorced, or single, as well as gays, lesbians,bisexual, transgender folk,  and those who may be questioning their sexuality or gender identity.  We also welcome those who aren’t quite sure what it means to be a Christian, but who wish to join with others in creating and maintaining a community that seeks to follow Christ and to learn about and live the sacred story of God and God’s people.

We are a community of faith, seeking to praise God and to accept God’s love for us and for all people.

In terms of “nuts and bolts,” worship is central to our life together.  It is where we gather to hear God’s word of hope and love, where we connect with each other, where we celebrate the sacraments, and where we seek to be drawn closer to God and to each other.

Clothing— some of us dress up, but many don’t.  We just care that you come.  We don’t care much about what sort of clothes you wear.

Worship— involves music and spoken word, as well as some silence.  We incorporate some ancient aspects of the Christian faith, like the Lord’s Prayer and the Gloria Patri), and those are printed out in the weekly program or “bulletin.” If you are not familiar with them, please ask, or just listen.

Worship also includes hymns, songs that are sung by the congregation and the choir, if there is a choir (the choir takes the summer months off).  If this isn’t familiar to you, don’t worry!   We are always experimenting with hymns, so they are sometimes unfamiliar even for those who come to worship every week.

Worship includes a sermon, or homily– an opportunity for the pastor to share more information about a Bible story.  The pastor always seeks to help the congregation understand, but also to relate Bible stories and lessons to everyday life and spirituality.  Sometimes there are stories that are mysterious even to our Pastor.  She lets us know that too.

In worship, we also pray, and sometimes we listen to someone from the congregation share an important story of their own.

At Old South, we seek to involve the congregation as much as we can.  We are a congregational church.  But, we also recognize that some people don’t have the time or inclination to participate in any other way than coming to worship.  That’s okay too.  We also have ways to be involved outside of Worship.  You can find out more about that in other sections of this webpage.  Keep reading!

In terms of attendance, well, we have a wide variety.  Don’t think that if you come to worship once, you’ll need to come every week!  We have some people who do come almost every Sunday, but we have some who come just when they can– maybe once every month or two.  We also have some people who are “snowbirds” (they are here in the summer, but not in the winter), and a few who are “winter birds” (here in the winter, but not in the summer).  We also have a few people who feel close to Old South, by reading the Pastor’s blog, or donating to a mission project, but don’t come to worship at all, except for maybe Christmas Eve or Easter.  All are welcome.  We really mean that.

We are a member of the United Church of Christ, a national denomination that seeks a just world for all and love for all of God’s people.

Our History

The church now known as the Old South Congregational Church in Hallowell, Maine first gathered on February 25, 1790 as the Congregational Church of Christ of Chester Plantation. It was the second church in the area of Hallowell, which in 1790 consisted of the present towns of of Hallowell, Augusta, Chelsea, and parts of Manchester and Farmingdale. Several of the church leaders resided in Chester and joined with the Hallowell members to form the church, largely in opposition to the doctrine being preached by the Rev. Isaac Foster, a minister of the church at “the Fort”.

The next year a number of other members of that church joined with the Chester Church “if it’s name might be altered…to be ever after denominated Congregational Church of Christ in Hallowell.”

In 1794 the town was divided into the South, Middle, and North parishes, thereby creating a situation where the people had full liberty to attend and join the church in the Parish of their choice, regardless of the part of town in which they resided. Registration with the Clerk of the Parish was required to determine where takes would be paid. Those who were members of the Chester Church “chose to fall into the South Parish.”

Soon the town was again divided, the Middle and North Parishes became Augusta and the Middle Parish was renamed the South Parish of Augusta. The old South Parish was called Hallowell. The church was then called South Church, commonly referred to as the Old South Church.

The Parish was the town of Hallowell. Initially it was the Parish that hired the minister upon approval by the Church and raised the funds to build the meetinghouse, along with all the other duties required by town government. Thus, the Parish and Church Societies were very separate organizations – each with its own members and officers. With time, when other churches had become established in Hallowell, the Parish Society became responsible only for the raising of pledges and the care of the South Church meetinghouse. The Church Society took care of the church, hiring the minister and providing worship services. Not everyone became Church members, only those whom it was judged had been chosen by God to be worthy.

Thus, when the old meetinghouse burned, it was the Parish members who were responsible for rebuilding the church. It was not until 1952 that the Parish and Church became one, incorporated as the Old South Congregational Church, Hallowell, Maine.

Staff

Pastor and Teacher– The Rev. Susan M Reisert

Organist and Music Director– Mr. Bradley Krueger

Administrative Assistant–  Ms. Cynthia McGuire

Sexton:  Mr. Galen Davis

Pastoral Ponderings

Reflections on Faith, Ministry and Life Itself

Old South Congregational Church, United Church of Christ

An Open and Affirming Church in Hallowell, Maine