In 1867 Bishop Neely came to Thomaston to visit with a small group of people who had been meeting in various borrowed quarters to hold Episcopal Church services, usually led by the priest of the Camden congregation. St. John Baptist would endure for most of its first hundred years. The Vicars came and went, oftentimes sharing the duties of the parish with those of chaplain to the Maine State Prison. They were traditional Anglo-Catholics working in predominantly Protestant area.By the 1950's the church was rundown and shabby, but brighter days were ahead. Mr. Ralph Cushing retired to his native Thomaston with his wife Nida, and they inspired the little congregation. The church was cleaned and painted. Mrs. Cushing organized a remarkable Sunday School, assisted by Mr. Cushing's pick-up and delivery of local children.A few newcomers to the area joined, and bit-by-bit the Church progressed. The plant was slowly improved. In the early 1960's a fine Hood & Hastings pipe organ, bought from a large home in Boston, was installed, thanks to the dedication of Freeman Garniss. It did a lot to make St. John's the good singing congregation it is today.
From the 1950's through the 1960's Father Kenyon served the needs of St. John's as well as being the pastor of St. Peter's. When he retired from St. Peter's their Vestry announced that his successor would only serve in Rockland. With a little more than $3,000 to offer, the search was on for a priest at St. John's. Fr. Kenyon continued as an interim priest, changing the service from 8 to 9 AM and inaugurating a coffee hour afterward. It was very difficult to secure a priest; but during this interim the changes seemed to help build the congregation of 15-20 to around 40-45 and better days were ahead.
In 1970 the Rev. Canon Charles 0. Brown, retired Dean of St. Luke's Cathedral in Portland, came to lead St. John's as a "part-time" Vicar. He was an "old pro, " who could "do it all," and his tireless and effective pastoral work quickly doubled the size of the congregation and made it possible to build the Parish Hall. He retired after five years, leaving the mission greatly strengthened, and finally ready for a full time priest. During this time the parish began a tradition of hosting a Christmas Fair to help support the parish.
The Rev. William Kennison accepted the call in 1975. He is a well-read, thoughtful man whose sermons, counsel and adult teaching reflected these qualities. He was also active in ministry at the Maine State Prison, located nearby. During his 15 year tenure, the congregation obtained parish status. Also during this time a generous legacy from Dr. George and Mrs. Kathryn McCabe was established a Memorial Fund to maintain and improve the Parish property. The members of St. John's began the Big Fair at the little church in the summer at this time. Also various members began various outreach work such as establishing a homeless shelter and ecumenical work in the community and special projects in Haiti. Also during this time we received our first deacon, The Rev. Barbara Crampton, who was very instrumental in the development of our outreach efforts.By the 1990's the parish was a dynamic place of worship with a new youth choir led by Dr. Anthony Antolini. The Rev. Peter Jenks came in 1992 from Southern Virginia. A major capital campaign was held and a new parish hall was built along with renovations around the church; even a new roof was added. This led to new programs and a new visibility within Thomaston. At this time the parish was instrumental in helping to establish the Trekker program, a mentoring program for young people in the community. A focused effort of outreach also led to a partnership with a school in Haiti and a number of trips there by people from St. John's. Prison ministry was invigorated at this time with the arrival of the Kairos prison ministry. Education became more important not only for children but for all ages under the leadership of Emily Rotch and the EFM program. The prayer chain also arose under various leadership to be a bedrock of who we are as a community dedicating itself to prayer. Then the prayer shawl ministry under the initiative of Elizabeth Walker added a tangible dimension to our life and action of prayer. Music continues to be an integral part of the community and was enhanced in the early 2000's with a new Bedient tracker organ.
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of St. John Baptist. All rights reserved.
The Episcopal Church of St. John Baptist 200 Main St., Thomaston, Maine 04861
firstname.lastname@example.org (207) 354-8734 Sunday Services are at 8 am and 10 am
Office Hours: Tuesday through Friday 8:30 am - 12 noon