In 1833, the Rev. John Maltby Jr. dedicated the Hammond Street Congregational Church and preached the first sermon as the first called pastor. For at least 73 Congregationalists on the west side of Bangor’s Kenduskeag River, this was the culmination of nearly two years of discussions, meetings, raising money, separating from the First Congregational Church on Bangor’s east side (which was out growing its facility), selecting a site, and constructing a building to serve as a house of worship.
$15,000 was raised for a brick structure with a slate roof and interior meeting rooms. Building costs exceeded the allotted money and the design was scaled down. It wasn’t until 1853-54 that money was raised to renovate the exterior, lengthen and heighten the walls, and to add the spire. With the exception of the Arthur Little Wing added to the back a century later, Hammond Street Congregational Church (HSCC) looks much as it did in the mid-1850’s.
There have been 16 called pastors, including the Rev. Dr. Mark Allen Doty, our current pastor. During 1965-70 and 1975-1982, the church called three Associate Ministers to assist the pastor in supervising the education program, visiting the ill and shut-ins, preaching, and other duties as assigned. These were the Reverends Merle Cook, Ansley Coe Throckmorton, and Richard Floyd. After serving three years as Associate Minister, Dr. Throckmorton became our called pastor, the first female senior pastor for the entire United Church of Christ in the United States. A fourth Associate Minister, Sarah Pringle Lewis, served from 2009 to 2014.
The Bangor Theological Seminary, an institution whose origin predated our church, was just up Hammond Street hill before its move to the Husson College Campus in 2005. Seminary leaders and faculty were active participants in the life of HSCC, assisting in the adult and children’s educational program and providing numerous sermons in the absence of a pastor. Over the years, the church frequently hosted Seminary Convocations.
We have a long history of service to the community and outreach to the world. While instances from years past could be cited, today’s activities are more meaningful. An Ecumenical Food Cupboard organized nearly 40 years ago is maintained in our building. Our Christian Outreach Committee was instrumental in creating and continues to support the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter. Members of our church helped organize and continue to support the Shaw House, a “home” for homeless teenagers. Once a month, the church provides free luncheons for the homeless and others who are in need, as well as preparing and serving a meal at the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter.
Our church is on the National Historic Registry and, in 2003, we became an Open and Affirming (ONA) Congregation. Our ONA statement is, “We welcome all people regardless of backgrounds, circumstances, ethnicity, family configuration, gender identity, or sexual orientation into our faith community, and affirm the worth of all persons and acknowledge God’s love for all people.”
A Verizon cell phone tower was constructed inside our steeple in 2006.
While honoring our past, we are not stuck there. We live and serve the community of today and invite others to join us in worship each Sunday. We celebrate Communion on the first Sunday of the month.