State Street Congregational Church

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State Street Congregational Church

(United Church of Christ)

155-159 State Street

Thirty-eight of the State Street Church's 58 members were women when it was built in 1851. Women have continued to play a major role in the church. The State Street Afternoon Guild, founded in 1893, was the oldest continuously organized women's group in the United Church of Christ. It met each Monday at noon between October and May and raised money for the church in rummage sales and for the church's mission by providing practical materials for schoolchildren. Women increased their role in church governance in 1971 when women became deacons. The Rev. Jeanette A. Good, Ph.D. was installed as the church's 15th settled pastor, and its first woman pastor, in October, 2008. Ellis Bliss was the first woman to be elected moderator in 1977. Women ordained ministers who have been active in the church were the Rev. Judith Blanchard, former Administrative Dean of the Portland Bangor Theological Seminary; the Rev. Constance Wells, and the Rev. Elly Haney, who first organized the Feminist Spiritual Community of Maine in the State Street Church, which has met weekly since its inception. Today, women at State Street Church serve in various positions of leadership and laity.