In the 60s and 70s the Church community worked to actively engage with the social unrest of that era e.g., the Vietnam War, women’s and human rights, and substance abuse. There was a 50 year history of direct radio broadcasting of church sermons. Three younger church members enrolled at graduate theology schools and State Street housed the 40,000 volume General Theological Library of New England and the Portland Campus Center of the Bangor Theological Seminary.
The move of people to the suburbs and the challenges of relevance to the main line churches are part of our history as well. In recent decades several renewal campaigns were launched with notable success in membership and capital. All of our spaces are fully occupied by others who are meeting human needs where they are found be it in preschool formation, traversing the turbulent teen years, struggling to escape life crushing addiction or seeking another cultural spiritual journey.
We are weathering membership issues since our Golden Years by welcoming and engaging new arrivals in many different ways that are comfortable for them. Our Interim Pastor Rev. Dr. Scott DeBlock makes everyone welcome. He helps create the opportunities for all to become a part of something larger than one’s self and to experience God’s unconditional love. He infuses our lives with hope, optimism, belonging, meaning and new reflections on our life experiences grounded in age-old wisdom. Recently it was asked as part of a current Bible Study class “Is it possible that “faith” is less about asserting the existence of a hypothetical Being called “God” than it is about simply accepting and being shaped by experiences of being set free and goodness coming to us from some source “out of this world?” Could the “resurrection” at the heart of Christian faith be not an assured ticket to an afterlife that enables us to “avoid pain” but rather a call to renewed life now that lives fully, daringly and hopefully towards the unknown? Is “trusting God” less a secure answer to life’s central problems than it is an empowerment to deal with them courageously? Welcome to the spiritual journey of State Street Church.
This historical overview by Jared Clark with contributions from others is based upon the following: “125 Years of State Street Church,” Eleanor Johnson, Editor
“The Golden Candlesticks, 150 Years of Faith and Service, 1852 – 2002”
Franklin Talbot Archivist, Martha Mater, Editor