I was baptized Methodist when I was a kid.

My family used to go to the United Methodist Church in Hampden when I was young. Since I was a kid, I only liked limited aspects of church. I liked singing in the children's choir, and I certainly enjoyed baked bean suppers. But I'll admit, the rest seemed too adult-y. In other words, I got bored easily.

As an adult, I don't go to church. But not for any negative reasons. Currently, my lifestyle and schedule make it kind of impossible. But my wife and I have talked many times that if there were one thing that appealed to us as adults, it's the sense of community that going to church can provide.

The times are changing though.

The United Methodist Church in Stonington has been having a rough go of it these days. Once upon a time, there might be a couple hundred people showing up for Sunday services. But after 130 years, it's all changed. Now the core congregation is about 8 people. And that's just not sustainable. Especially when most are over 80. So members voted this past April to shut the doors for good.

According to WABI, research shows that in decades past, as much as 70% of the U.S. population belonged to a church. These days, less than half of Americans attend church regularly. Grace Methodist Church in Bangor closed just a few years ago after 160+ years. The Methodist church in Newport, where my mother-in-law goes, has been facing similar issues.

Their last service is coming right up...

If there's one really sad bit, it's that in the church's remaining days, they'll probably see an uptick in attendance, probably some folks wanting to revisit the old days before it's gone. Which is great, but kind of sad knowing that the pews may be fuller because the church is going away.

For folks wishing to attend the last service, it will be on June 26th, at 10:00am.


The General Stores Of Downeast Maine

These are the long-time general stores that are spread throughout downeast Maine. The stores that your grandparents picked up milk, beer, and that night's dinner at. For years they had been filled with things like fly paper, clothes, beef jerky, and that morning's newspaper. Now, you stop by for that slice of breakfast pizza, a tasty fried chicken sandwich for lunch, gas,and a handful of lottery tickets.

They're an important part of Maine's heritage, and their numbers are starting to dwindle. But we still frequent them to pick up the day's necessities and to keep up on town gossip.

They may not be owned by the original owners, and they may not look the same as they did years and years ago. But that same hometown feeling is there, the minute you set foot on their wooden floors. More than likely the same wooden floors that your grandparents set foot on.

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