A History of Union Church

Link to Service

FINAL SCRIPT for 150th Anniversary Skit   April 27, 2014


(JOHN HUSSEY (Paul Schlaver) IN FRONT.)

John Hussey (Paul)

Good Morning. I’m John Hussey. The meeting of the Pool Religious Union Society will begin momentarily, as we are waiting for a few more men to arrive. On this 12th day of April 1864, our meeting today has two purposes. The first is to become officially recognized as a free religious society and secondly, to consider the possible purchase of the lot and this house we are meeting in today. 

As your elected chairman, I want to thank your, and say that I think it is very important that we have a permanent place of worship in this community. It’s wartime and many of us in Biddeford Pool want to ensure we have a place to go to pray. Our extended families have gone to fight in this war. Some have not yet returned and the war rages on.  There comes a time in a man’s life when he needs a quiet place to go and talk with his God.

(George Goldthwait enters) 

Mr.Goldthwait! Welcome! George – I was just telling those gathered here about our agenda today. As a pillar in this community, what are your thoughts? 

George GoldthWait (Brad Coupe)

The North and the South of our own country are at war — with each other! This is a terrible war. Since the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter three years ago, 10,000 Mainers have been involved in this war.  We’ve proudly filled 31 regiments of infantry, 3 regiments of cavalry, 1 regiment of heavy artillery and sent 6,000 sailors to the Union side. But when it’s your own kin that go to war, it is not easy, John. The war becomes  personal. Very personal.

Ebenezer Rogers (Peter McPheeters) enters.

John Hussey (Paul)

George, I understand and agree!  OH – there you are Ebenezer, our newly elected treasurer. I knew you’d get here sooner or later. I guess it’s later

Ebenezer Rogers (Peter McPheters)

(making a dismissive motion to Hussey) I heard what you said George! Now just a darn minute! Not all Mainers are on the side of the Union.

George GoldthWait (Brad Coupe)

By God I know that Ebenezer! Good people in Maine are making money at the mills and from shipping the slave-picked cotton in the South.

Ebenezer Rogers (Peter McPheters)

And some of us thought — and I may have to agree — that the many problems with slaves in the South have nothing to do with us up here in the North.

George GoldthWait (Brad Coupe)

Not so fast Ebenezer! This war is about the freedom of slaves. Maine is on the side of the Union. Remember that our fathers earned our right to statehood when we broke away from Massachusetts 44 years ago. We were granted statehood based on our abolitionist position, which offset the position of Missouri, which joined the Union as a “slave state”. 

John Hussey (Paul)

I never did understand why it was called the Missouri Compromise and not the Maine Compromise. Ah! – But gentlemen!! We are moving off the subject here.

George GoldthWait (Brad Coupe)

I think most of us are partial to abolitionists, don’t you agree John?


John Hussey (Paul)

I agree, George, but let’s get on to the business at hand. Hello Benjamin Tarbox. I think we are all now present, and I would like to move forward with our agenda.

 Benjamin Tarbox (  Rich  )

It is very important to me – and to the entire Tarbox family –  that this meetinghouse will be a free place of worship. We will begin with the Bible in one hand and NO government involvement on the other. A free church is more necessary and appropriate for the free spirited mindset of us Mainahs! We will neither seek nor accept any government endorsement or funding. People from other churches are welcome to worship with us. We are open to persons of all colors. Free slaves may come here to worship. I support the purchase of this meetinghouse. We need a place to worship freely out here on this beautiful narrow finger of a peninsula in the middle of a war.

George GoldthWait (Brad Coupe)

I agree Benjamin. To my mind, meeting regularly for religious worship would also help us focus and expand our efforts to help others. And certainly our populace is growing.  I think we have had perhaps twenty or more new people in the last year settle here, wouldn’t you say, Ebenezer?

Ebenezer Rogers (Peter McPheters)

Yes, a bit unfortunate, I might add. But yes. New faces seem to appear every day. Some are talking about staying at the Pool only for the summers!  If this keeps up, I may just see if I can convert some old bait sheds into cottages and sell some of these suckers some “seasonal” real estate. My wife’s family is actually talking about getting into the hotel business!  God help us!

John Hussey (Paul)

We’ve gotten off on another tangent! Let’s focus people!  Let’s proceed with the two issues at hand! As your elected chairman I will now call this meeting to order, on this 12th day of April, 1864. Nathaniel Davis – would you please lead us in prayer.

(Eve McPheeters Rises from the pew and comes up front to lead the prayer and then returns to seat)

John Hussey (Paul)

Where in God’s name is Nathaniel?

mrs. Nathaniel Davis (Eve McPheeters)

My husband Nathaniel was called away to bless George Bickford’s new boat. I am very capable of standing in for him! By the way, John Hussey, there will come a day when women will vote, run meetings, organizations, companies and will be representatives to the Union. Mark my word!  (takes a deep breath and pauses)  OK.  I feel better getting that out.  Now – let’s pray!

(Hussey shakes his head and steps aside)

Good God, we your humble servants come before you for the purpose of establishing a church here in this glorious place full of sea and sky that we have chosen to call home. We have come to the point in our lives and in the life of this country besotted by war —again— that your presence in our community can be celebrated in a church committed to worshiping you. Guide us and help us in our decisions today. Amen

John Hussey (Paul)

Thank you Mrs. Daniels, though I cannot imagine that what you propose about women will be true. Surely women will never be pastors of churches. 

Sorry – Now, I’m digressing. Let’s move on. Before we take the vote, are there other questions or concerns?

George GoldthWait (Brad Coupe)

Is there a proposed date for purchasing this plot of land?

Ebenezer Rogers (Peter McPheters)

As your elected treasurer I will respond. If we do vote to purchase the land on which our meetinghouse sits, the funds should be available and the land purchased within the next week.

Benjamin Tarbox (Rich)

So within a few days? That quickly?

John Hussey (Paul)

We expect to take a bond for a deed, Benjamin.

(ISAAC BICKFORD raises his hand 

John Hussey (Paul)

Yes? Isaac Bickford isn’t it? Would you like to speak?

(ISAAC BICKFORD  walks up front)

Isaac Bickford ( Bruce Fenlason)

Thank you John. Mr. Chairman, members of this committee, I don’t know as much about Jesus and the Bible as I’d like to, but I’m interested in learning more.  Do others share this interest? The questions I really want answered are: If we purchase this property and establish a free church, who will come? Who will support this ministry? Who will care for this structure?    

Ebenezer Rogers (Peter McPheters)

You are such a worry wart!

John Hussey (Paul)

We all know what we are here for Mr. Bickford. Please make your comments brief.

Isaac Bickford (  Bruce)

Very well. Gentlemen. I know that the families here (pointing to the people up front) will attend religious worship in this place and on this plot of land that John has proposed we purchase. But I do worry that our business concerns, our boats, our stores, our work, our busy lives may keep us from attending. Who else will care for this building? For many years, we have not had a place of worship and it seems to me we are not suffering in any way. It’s a nice idea, but who else will commit to supporting a ministry here? 

(Brief Pause)

Mrs. Nathaniel Davis (Eve McPheters)

The family of Nathaniel Davis will come here for worship. We are particularly interested in a place where our children can learn more about God. And I do believe John Hussey, that a woman will one day lead many a church, maybe even this one.

 (From the pews, various people stand up and read their lines)

Harrison Goldthwait (  Leslie Smith )

I will refrain from challenging Mrs. Davis’s assertions, as that’s not the issue today. I hereby pledge the support of the the Harrison Goldthwait family.

Henry Bruell ( Jaime Wilkins )

Thanks for keeping personalities out of this discussion!  Mrs. Davis’s liberal attitudes are mr. Davis’s problem.  For me and my family, I look forward to attending a free chruch.  I am Henry Bruell, and You have my commitment!

 Jacob Verrill ( Stephen Fox         )

I’m Jacob Verrill. My wife shares Mrs. Davis’ desire to have a place to worship here in the Pool. We especially want a place to worship with our children, and a lasting place for worship for our children’s children.  We will come. We will help support this church.

W.F. Goldthwait (Paul Gilpin )

The W.F. Goldthwait family will attend.  Our extended family has three members currently involved in the war.  Being able to pray for them, and having you pray with us for their safety and the well being of our country would be most comforting.

William F. Milgate ( Stephen F  )

Yes. I am William Milgate and I support the procuring of land and this house for religious worship. I will come, and I’ll make certain that my wife comes also.

Freeman Rich ( Rich W )

I am Freeman Rich.  My name is derived from the concept of free men.  I support the thinking shared here today regarding a church freely open to all.   Our family will attend.

Albert Goldthwait ( Dick Bennett)

My name is Albert. Let me apologize for the strong words spoken earlier by my family members. While we may disagree on some issues, the Golldthwait family strongly believes in God. My wife and I will support the proposal for a meetinghouse.

Jotham Davis Jr (  Paul G )

We look forward to building a better understanding of scripture and deepening the relationships with our Pool neighbors. The Jotham Davis family will participate.   

W.W. Rich (   Dick B )

The W.W. Rich family will attend, with pleasure and hereby commits to helping with the on-going expenses for this free church.  Our country is at war, deeply divided over the slavery issue, and I am very happy that we are Mainah’s supporting the Union. 

George H. Bryant ( Jaime W )

Let me be brief.  In the name of the Holy God, The George H. Bryant Family will attend. Let’s get on with signing the papers!

John Hussey (Paul Schlaver)

Thank you gentlemen. And lady. I must say I am moved by your dedication to this effort. So be it then! Thank you Lord for your leading and guidance. Amen.

(Stephen Fox, Eve McPheters and Peter McPheters come forward to share the “Afterwords”) 

                                               Afterword-Stephen Fox

The minutes from the meeting of the Pool Religious Union Society dated April 23 1864 – just eleven days after the first meeting – read as follows: Met according to the adjournment – J Hussey, Chairman.  The Trustees reported that they had purchased for the subscribers of Christopher Hussey the house now occupied as the meetinghouse, and had taken a bond for a deed.  The deed to be given at the pleasure of the Trustees:  the report was accepted and the meeting was adjourned. 

Afterword by Eve McPheeters

These families used the house next door (now owned by Mary Hulse) as a Meetinghouse until 1871. The land where Union Church now sits was sold in 1871, to the trustees of the Pool Religious Union Society by John and Christopher Hussey. 

The records stop on May 9, 1878 for 22 years. Records began again on September 8, 1900 and two months later, on November 13, 1900, Mrs. Richardson of St. Louis – and a summer resident of the Pool –  made a proposition to build a frame church with vestry attached on the plot of land purchased in 1871 that we worship on today. 

Afterword by Peter McPheeters

Mrs. Richardson donated the funds to cover the building of the church and vestry. Jennie (Hussey) Evans, wife of Eve’s great uncle Horace Evans, wrote this in her diary of August 9, 1938:  “When the Union Church was completed, my grandfather John Hussey bought one pew and my uncle John Hussey bought a pew and my father Charles Hussey bought two pews. The first pew is the third one from the door. Union Church was built mostly from the subscriptions of summer residents.”  I guess they weren’t such a bad addition to the community after all!

I think we can all agree that it is a place and a spirit that is well worth preserving!