New Hope Baptist Church, formally First Free Baptist Church, has a long, rich history in the central Maine town of Dexter. It all began in the Spring of 1869 with a small group and grew into a bustling congregation. In the spring of 1936 however, it was voted to close the church.
It remained closed until the early summer of 1942 when Rev. Hayes was invited to fill the pulpit for the summer months. This continued until 1945 when Rev. Harold Wheeler (photo below) came on board, then the church really started to grow. The church continued to grow after Rev. Wheeler's tenure and in 1969, when Andrew Spohrer came on board, the church was bursting at its seams.
Spring Street to Now
In 1975 it was voted that the church be moved to the former Spring Street School lot. (check out this YouTube of the move caught on film) While the church was being moved, services were held at the N.H. Faye High School. On September 12th 1975 the building made its big move (see photos below) and on November 17th 1975 the church was dedicated and opened its doors. In 2008 First Free Baptist Church voted to change its name to New Hope to better align with its mission and vision.
A poem written by a faithful member in the late 1800's
"There's a dear little church with a very plain look,
just down the street in a quiet nook,
the doctrine taught us to do no ill,
for it's old fashioned free-will.
There are men and women, with so much care.
They can hardly find time to breathe a prayer,
yet the little church down the street,
offers to them an inviting seat,
cares grow lighter, life's burden less,
and this place is full of blessedness."
A bulletin with our old location featured.
Rev. J.A. Wiggin--Pastor from 1907-1912
Rev. and Mrs Donald Macomber and Family--Pastor 1952-1956
Pastor Harold Wheeler--Pastor 1945-1951
Photo of our beautiful organ, Easter service 1935
Newspaper clipping of our infamous move to our current location.
A look at the building in its original location with its new steeple.
The church moving its way down Spring Street.
A view of the church in its original location with it's original steeple.
A photo of the church in its new location.