PAST — In the mid-1950s, a small band of Christians was meeting in a rented hall in South Portland, Maine, across the Fore River and Casco Bay from Portland. They were able to purchase a lot at the corner of Highland Ave. and Evans St. near South Portland High School. Soon, with the sacrificial help of Christians in other states who wanted to help support a congregation in Maine’s largest population center, the building was built in which the SOUTH PORTLAND CHURCH OF CHRIST first met in 1956. Over the years, preachers have come and gone, members have moved away or moved on, but few have moved in. There has been no full-time minister for the past four decades. At times, the congregation filled the building, as recently as 2003. Then circumstances again cyclically caused the church to be few in number. But the faith was kept for more than three-fourths of a century.
During the early years, other congregations in Southern Maine were begun with the encouragement of the South Portland brothers and sisters, but no “church splits” occurred here. In 1991, a merger took place with the Portland Church of Christ, a recent church plant. A new name was selected: GREATER PORTLAND CHURCH OF CHRIST. Meeting in the South Portland building, the “new” congregation thrived for more than a decade.
PRESENT — Times have changed. Maine has become one of the least religious states in the U.S. COVID caused our group (then numbering in the thirties) to worship weekly on ZOOM. After two years, like so many churches and other organizations that resumed in-person meetings in 2022, only a remnant returned. The building is old, costly to heat, and its two stories are no longer suitable for the few remaining members, some of whom are elderly. It was decided to sell the building and set aside the proceeds to help a future Church of Christ buy or build a meeting place in Greater Portland.
FUTURE — With the congregation’s closing, our little church family will be resourceful in keeping the faith until a new congregation exists.