Our History

Short History
of the
Acton Congregational Church

The Congregational Church in then West Parish of Shapleigh, now the town of Acton, was organized September 18, 1781, by the Rev. Alpheus Spring, pastor of Second Church of Kittery, now the Eliot church. There were 15 original members. A meeting house was erected about 1794 near the site of the present-day elementary school. In 1827 a new meetinghouse, the present building, was erected at Acton Corner. The fact that the sanctuary is still sturdy and firm on its foundation is due to the splendid workmanship of the local builders.

After a long period of services the church became inactive because of decrease in population in the town. However, one worship service was held annually on the first Sunday of August and was filled to capacity. Late in the 1940’s two students from Bangor Theological Seminary conducted summer services for a few years. Beginning July 6, 1952, there have been regular services each July and August, with J. Albert Hammond as the first pastor.

In 1977, Dr. Hugh Crouch of Shapleigh, having recently retired from the pastorate of the First Baptist Church of Springvale, was asked to be pastor of the Acton Congregational Church with the hopes of making it into a year-round church. Starting with about 15 members, Dr. Crouch grew the church to the point of adding on to the sanctuary, first in the early 80’s when two offices and two bathrooms were built, then in 1986 when the Fellowship Hall and kitchen were constructed. The third phase was the addition in 2000 of the educational wing - the Crouch Wing. Rev. John Rawson was called to be our pastor in January of 1989.  He and his wife Olga served faithfully until 1993.  Dr. Dewey Peterson came in 1997 and the church saw a healthy growth in membership. Dewey passed away in 2009, and we had two acting pastors before calling Rev. AbbyLynn Haskell in April of 2012.   The church has begun growing again, and Melissa Marquis has been hired as Minister of Christian Nurture and works with the teenage youth.
  Terry Minihan was hired as Director of Christian Education in 2013.  Melissa and Terry work together in the summer LOGOS program for youth of all ages. 

Compiled from notes by Kathleen Horn (1969) and Maxine Crouch (2004 & 2014)