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Today in OPC History

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May 21

Lewiston, Maine

On May 21, 1961, the Orthodox Presbyterian mission work in Lewiston, Maine, was constituted as Trinity OPC of Androscoggin Valley, with ten communicant members and four covenant children. The Rev. Charles Stanton, who began the work in 1958 (while supplementing his income by working in a grocery store), was installed as Trinity's first pastor. He reflected on the formation of church in the pages of the Presbyterian Guardian: "Of all the fields where we have labored, we undertook this work in Lewiston with the greatest apprehension. We had no contacts at all with which to start. When support was not forthcoming we were confronted with greater problems about obtaining a livelihood than we had ever faced before. Our present joy in this work and bond of fellowship with those whom the Lord has given us here is the greater for the apprehension we experienced and the obstacles overcome by the grace of God."

In the following year, the church purchased the building it was renting from Christian Scientists for $15,000. It was originally constructed by Quakers in 1875, and was located close to Bates College and at the center of the Auburn-Lewiston twin cities. Ministers who followed Stanton in the pulpit included Chip Stonehouse (1963-1970) and Donald Miller (1971-1994). By 1985, the church had grown to 97 members, but declining attendance in the decade that followed forced the Presbytery to close the work in 1996.

Picture: Charles and Fern Stanton

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