church now known as the Old South Congregational Church
in Hallowell, Maine first gathered on February 25, 1790 as
Congregational Church of Christ of Chester Plantation.
It was the second church in the area of Hallowell, which
1790 consisted of the present towns of of Hallowell, Augusta,
Chelsea, and parts of Manchester and Farmingdale. Several
of the church leaders resided in Chester and joined with
the Hallowell members to form the church, largely in opposition
to the doctrine being preached by the Rev. Isaac Foster,
a minister of the church at "the Fort".
The next year a number of other members of that church joined
with the Chester Church "if it's name might be altered...to
be ever after denominated Congregational Church of Christ in
1794 the town was divided into the South, Middle, and North
parishes, thereby creating a situation where the people had
full liberty to attend and join the church in the Parish of
their choice, regardless of the part of town in which they
resided. Registration with the Clerk of the Parish was required
to determine where takes would be paid. Those who were members
of the Chester Church "chose to fall into the South Parish."
Soon the town was again divided, the Middle and North Parishes
became Augusta and the Middle Parish was renamed the South
Parish of Augusta. The old South Parish was called Hallowell.
The church was then called South Church, commonly referred
to as the Old South Church.
Parish was the town of Hallowell. Initially it was the Parish
that hired the minister upon approval by the Church
and raised the funds to build the meetinghouse, along with
all the other duties required by town government. Thus, the
Parish and Church Societies were very separate organizations
- each with its own members and officers. With time, when other
churches had become established in Hallowell, the Parish Society
became responsible only for the raising of pledges and the
care of the South Church
meetinghouse. The Church Society took care of the church, hiring
the minister and providing worship services. Not everyone
became Church members, only those whom it was judged had been
chosen by God to be worthy.
Thus, when the old meetinghouse burned, it was the Parish
members who were responsible for rebuilding the church. It
was not until 1952 that the Parish and Church became one, incorporated
as the Old South Congregational Church, Hallowell, Maine.