2011-12-21 / Front Page

Church bell signals UU building’s end

BY DARREN FISHELL Times Record Staff


UNOFFICIAL BRUNSWICK Universalist Unitarian Church historian Skip Brimlow examines the church bell after it was removed while the structure was razed Tuesday. The bell was cast in 1847 and recast in 1885 after the first church building burned. 
TROY R. BENNETT / THE TIMES RECORD UNOFFICIAL BRUNSWICK Universalist Unitarian Church historian Skip Brimlow examines the church bell after it was removed while the structure was razed Tuesday. The bell was cast in 1847 and recast in 1885 after the first church building burned. TROY R. BENNETT / THE TIMES RECORD BRUNSWICK — Just before a 137-year-old church bell was removed and lowered from the steeple of the Unitarian Universalist Church on Tuesday morning, it sounded a few last chimes.

With the historic bell removed, crews continued demolition work Tuesday on the building that was irreparably damaged by a fire in June and deemed unsafe by Brunswick’s codes enforcement officer in November.

The building, at the corner of Pleasant and Union streets, was expected to be entirely razed late Tuesday and the congregation will look to break ground on a new building by early spring or summer, according to the Rev. Sylvia Stocker.

Stocker said that historic features along with the church bell, which survived an even more devastating fire at a previous Brunswick UCC Church in 1884, will now be salvaged and incorporated into the design of the new church building.

In a press release, Stocker said that demolition of the building is a “sad day for our congregation,” but that “our spirits and energy are robust, and we have been able to focus on the good that will come from erecting a new building.”

For the reconstruction, Stocker said the church has contracted with the Lewistonbased architecture firm Smith, Reuter and Lull. In the press release, Stocker said the congregation hopes to make the new building more fully accessible and “as green as budgets will allow.”

On Sundays since the fire, the congregation first met for worship in the Morrell Meeting Room at nearby Curtis Memorial Library before relocating to the Minnie Brown Center in Bath, owned by the Beth Israel Congregation.

Earlier this month, Stocker told The Times Record that the move came with the strange coincidence that the synagogue building was formerly Bath’s Universalist Church until around 1960.

“ So, we’re in some ways feeling as though we’re on home ground,” Stocker said.

Through the turmoil of losing the church building, Stocker said the congregation has continued to grow.

The congregation will hold a service at that center, at 906 Washington St., Bath, on Christmas Eve at 7 p.m.

dfishell@timesrecord.com / @darrenfishell

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