Church celebrates 175 years

WINDHAM — The Windham United Methodist Church is celebrating its 175th anniversary, with September designated as the month for all the festivities.

Judy Blewitt, an anniversary committee member, said the committee has set up a special timeline and picture display to honor the history of the church. Two banners have also been in the sanctuary for the occasion.

Pastor Sandi Greenberg said former pastors are coming back to deliver their message and share their memories 10 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 16 and 23, with the final celebration set for Sept. 30 with a potluck luncheon and other activities following the service.

The town of Windham was named in honor of Windham, Connecticut. In 1843, at the request of some of the people in the community, the Rev. Lorenzo Rogers and the Rev. John Robinson traveled by horseback from Connecticut and held services in various towns, which led to the organization of the Methodist church. They were referred to as “saddleback preachers” or “circuit riders.”

A church was built on the village green in January 1844. In 1885, a larger, two-story structure was dedicated complete with a large sanctuary with stained-glass windows. A bell called worshippers to meetings.

In 1915, an electric pipe organ was installed.

In 1951, a fire destroyed the church but the bell was saved. While a new church was being planned, services were held at Maple Grove School.

The new church opened in April 1955 with a dedication service. A bell tower was added in October 1957.

Blewitt said, “The beautiful church continues to stand tall and proud, complete with that precious bell that survived the fire, reflective of an active congregation continuing to show their presence in the Windham community.”

Current church outreaches include Breakfast with Santa, a prayer shawl ministry and support the Children’s Advocacy Center by bringing awareness to the problems of abuse with planting pinwheels and participating in the Bowling Against Abuse. The Salvation Army food cupboard and Safer Futures are the regular recipients of mission efforts.

Blewitt said the church is looking forward to seeing old friends and greeting new ones this anniversary season.