You don’t have to be especially religious to appreciate a beautiful and historic place of worship. Just ask some of the large European cities that see hundreds of tourists filing through their pews on a daily basis. Lucky for those of us in Maine, history and beauty does not require a trans-Atlantic flight. Whether it be for their history or architecture, some of the most wonderful churches in the country can be found right here in Maine. Here are just a small selection of them.
1. First Parish Congregational Church, Pownal
The First Parish Congregational Church in Pownal has been standing since 1811. Uriel Whitney, a veteran of the Revolutionary War, was lead architect. His house can still be seen and his body is buried in the associated cemetery. In addition to being completely operational with a thriving congregation, the church is also a historic landmark.
2. St. Gerard Catholic Church, Grand Isle
The Catholic Church in Grand Isle was the site of a particularly terrible lightning strike back in 2007. The unfortunate weather inflicted about $35,000 worth of damage to the structure. The church was in the news again when a local high school student caught another lightning strike on camera in May 2015. Click
to see it.
3. Chocolate Church Arts Center, Bath
Now a popular space for music, visual art and performance art, the Chocolate Church was built in 1846 and called called "Central Church." Click
for an event list.
4. First Parish Church, Brunswick
Built in 1845, this church is another with historical significance. This was the congregation visited by Harriet Beecher Stowe after moving to Maine. Prior to writing "Uncle Tom's Cabin" the author had a vision while sitting in one of the pews that led to the creation of the main character.
5. Union Street Brick Church, Bangor
Standing in the heart of Bangor since 1853, Union Street Brick Church is notable for its true appreciation of the arts. The congregation refers to their church as a "church for the arts and artists in Bangor." One of the best ways they support local talent is with a weekly open mic night from 6-10pm on Thursdays. For more information click
6. Spurwink Meeting House, Cape Elizabeth
Built in 1802 by early residents of Cape Elizabeth, the church is the oldest public building in Cape Elizabeth. One of the most interesting elements is the associated cemetery. Elisha Eaton, the Reverend appointed in 1753, is buried there, along with many of the early settlers of the town. It was in use until about 1900 when the decision was made to stop any new burials. Why? Because every time a new grave was dug, an old grave was uncovered.
7. St. David Catholic Church, Madawaska
This church was built in 1911 and modeled after Renaissance and Baroque Italian architecture. Not only is it beautiful, it is also symbolic of the Madawaska residents' long struggle for their own parish and priest.
8. First Church, Belfast
Officially referred to as the "First Church in Belfast, United Church of Christ," this church is one of the older ones on this list. With congregants for over 200 years, they have perfected the art of inclusion. You'll feel welcome here no matter what.
9. First Parish, Unitarian Universalist, Portland
If you've walked through Portland and noticed a thought-provoking quote framed at the sidewalk, you've been at First Parish. The congregation has roots that go back to the founding of the city in the mid-17th century. In 1804, Reverend Dean spoke to his congregation of the need for a focus on ethics versus theology. Eventually, the congregation became one focused on the tenets of Unitarianism and the rest is history. You won't find a more welcoming place and their weekly Sunday services will have you considering topics ranging from kindness to butterflies all week long. They have a robust social media presence as well. For more information click
10. Winter Street Church, Bath
Winter Street is one of the two original churches in Bath, the other being #3 on this list. Built in 1843, the church is now a multi-purpose event space.
What are your favorite churches in Maine? Are you impressed by their history or the way they look? Let us know over on our