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First Universalist Church of Pittsfield, Maine

A Loving Place for All

2017 marks the First Universalist Church of Pittsfield’s 150th anniversary.

Two key celebrations are planned including the September 10th Open House/Concert and the November 2nd Annual Turkey Supper that happens the first Thursday of each November.

The First Universalist Church was Pittsfield's principal historic meeting house in the mid- to late-1800s, and is, perhaps, the best local example of Queen Anne/Italianate combined style commissioned by and dedicated to the same families that lead Pittsfield’s growth and contributed significantly to Maine Central Institute: the Mansons, Parks, Lanceys, Vickerys, and Dobsons.

With its original stage and auditorium that made up the non-denominational East Pittsfield Union Meeting House, attached parlor, a full basement including kitchen that will be made commercial, and majestic sanctuary, the building is poised to function as a regional community center as well as maintain its Unitarian Universalist congregation. With no grange or community center in the vicinity, the building’s regional significance reaches not only Pittsfield, but surrounding communities including Newport, Burnham, Detroit, Unity, Thorndike, Troy, Canaan, St. Albans, Hartland, Palmyra, and even Skowhegan.

The exterior of the church has been slightly remodeled, but the unique interior remains almost perfectly preserved. For a rural town church, the First Universalist contains an uncommon amount of art: in the sanctuary, one counts 16 canvas murals of Biblical characters and saints by the Maine artist Harry H. Cochrane (1860-1946) who became a world-famous muralist in his time. The Pittsfield murals are among Cochrane's finest and most ambitious works as an artist and move beyond his more common abstract and floral designs to capture representational images of the body.

The stained-glass windows of the sanctuary are also of rare quality. Executed by Redding, Baird, & Company of Boston, the favrile drapery glass panels are singular in Somerset County and can be found in large arched triptychs on the south, east, and north walls of the sanctuary as well as in the transoms and throughout the auditorium, vestry, and parlor.

As well, the sanctuary features a working organ with over 600 speaking pipes that, in days of old, at was powered by the Sebasticook River, and in drought years, by young men.

Though the building is in need of extensive work, this year marks not only the 150th year of its existence, but the start of a building campaign to renovate and restore the building. We proudly honor those who came before, we hold this space sacred, and look forward to the next 150 years.

 

For more information, contact Holly Zadra at 487-2706 or hollyzadra@gmail.com.

 

What Do Unitarian Universalists Believe?

Unitarian Universalism affirms and promotes seven Principles, grounded in the humanistic teachings of the world's religions. Our spirituality is unbounded, drawing from scripture and science, nature and philosophy, personal experience and ancient tradition as described in our six sources

The Seven Principles are:

  1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  2. Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  4. A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
  7. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.