About South Church

Church Staff

Minister: Charles H. Whiston, contact: charles@southchurchucc.org 
Organist/Choir Director: David E. Brandes, contact: brandede@franklinpierce.edu
Co-Church School Directors: Beth Gachowski contact:bginme@hotmail.com  Megan Grassi, contact:megangrassi@gmail.com
Office Administrator: Sarah McComish
Assist. Treasurer: Brenda Phillips
Sexton: Selden Crocker

 

MEET OUR MINISTER 

Rev. Charles H. Whiston came to South Church in 1991 having previously served the Congregational Church in Gray, Maine for twelve years.  He attended Andover Newton Theological School in Newton Centre MA after graduating from Beloit College in Wisconsin.   Rev. Charles was ordained in his home church located in Webster Groves MO.  Over the years, he has served as President of the Maine Council of Churches, Moderator of the Maine Conference United Church of Christ, led hiking trips in the NH White Mountains and more recently for the past ten years- mission trips to the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina.  Charles currently serves as convener of the  local Interfaith Clergy Association as well as a board member of the York County Chapter Habitat for Humanity.  He follows the Red Sox with great hope, feeds his cat faithfully and enjoys country music.

 

Programs and Committees 

Lay leadership is critical to the life of South Church. Central Board is the governing body of the church, with a Moderator, Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer and Clerk.  And it is comprised of representatives from our Deacons, Trustees, Christian Education and the Women's Association.  Together we offer faith worship and programs, and outreach efforts that reflect our mission statement: “To be an inclusive community of faith that preaches the word of God, teaches the love of Jesus Christ and reaches out through the Holy Spirit.”

 

South Church History

In 1838, seventy members "in good and regular standing" sought to be "dismissed along with the pastor" from First Church, which was founded in 1730 and still stands one and a half miles up North Street. The new congregation, comprised of 11 men and 59 women along with Rev. Levi Smith were dismissed in good standing, moved into the present structure as a meeting place for village residents along the river.

Built in 1824, South Church looked very much as it does today, with the exception of the portico, which was added in 1912. In the early 19th century, architects were seldom employed in such remote areas. However, they often used manuals and examples of other churches in addition to their own experience gained from working the large shipbuilding yards adjacent to the Kennebunk River. One of these yards, operated by David Clark, was on the grassy plot between the church and the river. The cupola, restored in 1991, is designed after the style of Christopher Wren and the steeple has the original 1824 Aaron Willard clock with its unique wooden face, still keeps accurate time and rings on the hour.

Originally, the interior of South Church was open with tall box pews, a two-story pulpit, wide galleries or balconies on three sides, with the organ and choir in the rear.

By 1843, due to a severe drop in membership, the dividing floor was installed, the sanctuary remaining on the lower level. By 1875, the move was made upstairs with the new, smaller pews installed, and in 1881, frescoes were added to the sanctuary area.  

In 1899 memorial windows commemorating our charter members were installed and the addition of the Doric-columned front portico in 1912. The chancel area was redone in 1956, and the lower level remodeled in 1969.The Noack pipe organ was installed and dedicated in 2004. Built in Georgetown, MA it was offered as an anonymous gift from a most generous donor.

Adjacent to the church is our Community House. The former Olypia Club was purchased in 1968 and further renovations done in 2016/2017. It is used by our church school programs, community groups and catered events/functions.

To mark our 150th year anniversary, seventy members dressed as our 1838 counterparts walked down from our parent First Church for a service of celebration here. In 2013, our 175th Anniversary, we celebrated throughout the year with a special music consert, art auction as well as a community dinner.    

Over the years, thirty ministers have filled the pulpit, with residence from six months to 34 years. The church membership has varied between 42 and a current figure of 347. 

Buildings are our facilities and faith is our calling. We invite you to come and learn more of our rich heritage and desire to serve God locally, nationally and globally.