January 1, 1900, Rev. F. R. Enslin began his pastorate, remaining until October 1905. In 1902-03 the church building was remodeled, services being held in the “North Schoolhouse” for several months. At that time Mr. William Flagg of New York, son of Deacon Abel Flagg, presented the church with a clock for the remodeled tower. At the same time, beautiful memorial windows were placed in the auditorium, adding greatly to the general appearance.
In 1904 the “Baptist Society” as a separate organization was disbanded, and the church itself was incorporated in keeping with the more recent laws of the Commonwealth. In 1905 the parsonage was thoroughly renovated, inside and outside, and a bathroom installed. In April 1905 a series of evangelistic meetings were held, with good results.
Rev. R. H. Carey was the next pastor, from December 1905 to December 1908. In January 1907 two weeks of evangelistic meetings were held. A large group was Baptized as a result of these meetings.
In June 1909 Rev. H. B. Drew began his pastorate which ended in June 1911. Mr. Drew had formerly served an Advent Christian Church, and an Ordaining Council was called in order to have him ordained as a Baptist minister. The ordination was held October 12th. A goodly number united with the church during his pastorate.
The church was without a pastor from June 1911 until February 1912, when Rev. H. L. Caulkins began his ministry, which continued until November 1920. The question of church federation was discussed in January 1920, but no action seems to have been taken. A good many were Baptized during this pastorate.
Rev. E. C. Dunbar was the next pastor, serving from December 1920 until July 1922. In 1921 repairs were made on the church and parsonage, and a new furnace placed in the church. During the winter of 1921 a week of evangelistic meetings was held, and the results were very satisfactory. The church observed its 100th anniversary in 1922. Its total membership at that time was 85.
November 1922 saw the beginning of the pastorate of Rev. Daniel Thompson, which ended in April 1925. The church was painted in 1923, and a furnace placed in the parsonage. This was a short pastorate, and naturally with only a few Baptisms recorded.
In May 1925, Rev. H. E. Levoy became pastor, concluding his work in November 1927. During this pastorate here two important changes were made. The church bylaws were amended so the church could have “affiliated” members. Also an arrangement was made with the Baptist Church of Ayer whereby one pastor would serve both churches. This arrangement was carried out for several years, but it was terminated during Mr. Powell’s pastorate.
Rev. H. H. Powell was the next pastor from November 1927 to February 1934. There is a record that in July of that year it was voted to have the church auditorium painted, and to cover the floor with an ingrain carpet. Mr. Powell was an energetic leader and left a lasting impression. During this pastorate 15 were Baptized, 15 received by letter, and 2 by experience.
Rev. E. J. Holt began his pastorate in April 1934, and concluded it in September 1936. His ordination was held in July 1934. A large platform was built in the vestry for use in giving plays, etc., in March 1936. Though Mr. Holt’s pastorate was brief, yet the results were good, and his leaving was greatly regretted by the church. Seven were added by Baptism, twelve by letter, and two by experience.
In November 1936, Rev. Ira J. Martin 3rd became pastor, serving until April 1941. On January 29, 1937 he was ordained. Mr. and Mrs. Martin were both very much interested in young people, and a very active young married couples club was formed by them. Twelve were received by Baptism and nineteen by letter during this pastorate.
Rev. G. A. Hunt became pastor in August 1941, and concluded his services in December 1942. Two were Baptized during this period and three received by letter. Mr. Hunt’s short pastorate was due to the fact that he decided to enter the teaching profession. (2)
Rev. George E. Crouse began his service to our church in January 1943. During the war, men and women in the service were remembered and welcomed in attendance. In the summer of 1943 the auditorium was painted, changes made in the pulpit setup, and a bronze cross donated by the Deacons and Deaconesses. The latter were formed under Mr. Crouse’s direction to aid in visiting the sick, shut-ins, arrange and care for the altar in the sanctuary, preparation of Communion. Memorial gifts of shrubbery, flags, and vases were added to beautify our church.
For years this church has had the reputation of exceptionally fine music; junior and senior choirs, directors and organists doing nobly to keep this reputation in the ministry of music. Mr. Crouse directed several “Seth Parker” performances enjoyed by participants and audiences.
The 125th anniversary of the founding of the church occurred in March 1947. Formal observances were held several times in the year, closing with a banquet in October of that year.
In March 1948 Mr. Crouse celebrated his 40th year in the ministry with special services and a reception. Mrs. Mabel Crouse was a motherly person and loved by all.
Death came to Mr. Crouse in June 1950. He was a true servant for his Lord. During his ministry, Mr. Crouse received 35 by Baptism, 33 persons by letter, and 6 by experience.
In October of 1950 Rev. David S. Eaton came to our fellowship with a pleasing, helpful wife, and a young daughter and a son. In their seven years with us many were led to join the church and improve their understanding of the Lord. Our young people received training in conducting services. Youth Sunday was observed yearly and upon graduation, the high school seniors participated in a church service and received a Bible. This custom was continued for many years.
In 1951 Rev. Eaton was presented the Rosa O. Hall Award, one of the highest awards in the Baptist faith for distinguished service to town and country churches. The award was presented at Green Lake, Wisconsin, when ten people represented our church at the Rural Conference. Mr. Eaton was a loyal worker in the “Year of Baptist Advance” for the state.
A Maundy Thursday Roll Call program brought letters from former members living in distant areas telling of God’s help in their lives through this church.
Preliminary plans were begun to enlarge our church building.
During his pastorate, 52 people were accepted by Baptism, 50 by letter, and three by experience.
Wallace K. Reid came in July 1958 as a student pastor. On April 5, 1959 he was ordained in an impressive service. This was the ninth ordination in the history of the church.
During Rev. Reid’s ministry many small groups were formed for Bible study, prayer, and a better understanding of each other and their Christian obligation. One of the direct results of these groups was the decision of Deacon Robert Childs, a young man of the church, to study for the ministry. He was licensed to preach and in 1960 the church aided him and his family to start his studies at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. A feeling of “bearing other’s burdens” was evidenced when our young people earned sufficient money to go to Nova Scotia in June 1962 to testify in meetings of this Christ-like spirit, as well as paint one of the churches where Deacon Childs preaches.
Two inspiring special services of the year were instituted during this pastorate. One was the 11 o’clock Christmas Eve Candlelight Service to celebrate the birth of the Savior -- and the second, the symbolic experience of the Maundy Thursday Communion Service in the vestry to deepen our fellowship with our Lord.
The preliminary plans for the educational wing formulated during Rev. Eaton’s ministry were culminated in June 1959 when accepted plans were put out to bid. With prayer and hard labor, our new wing was ready for dedication services on November 13, 1960. In October 1962, as a result of combined giving and God’s blessing, the mortgage for the educational wing was burned. This is a fine addition to the church with a pastor’s study, eight classrooms, a large meeting hall, and an unfinished room for expansion.
Rev. Reid terminated his pastorate in November 1962. During his ministry 42 were received by Baptism, 61 by letter, and three by experience.
In recent years it has been our privilege to have two fine interim pastors who left inspiring impressions on all. Both fine, upright men - living examples of Christ - Rev. Guy E. Mark and Rev. L. G. VanLeeuwen.
Rev. John T. Griffin, his wife and two sons, came to be our leader in September 1963.
The Sunday School was organized in 1823 and has been in session throughout the years under the leadership of many devoted people, presenting the Life and Love of Christ to the young and old.
The Woman’s Missionary Society was organized in January 1879 with two members. This society has grown through the years and at present, 18 dedicated members prepare “Overland and Overseas” White Cross work, donate to a Leprosy Colony, Chinese Mission, Mather School for Girls in South Carolina, etc., as well as aid girls and boys from the church attending Christian colleges. The Society has two study books per year -- one foreign and one on home missions.
The original Woman’s Group was known as the “Female Benevolent Society.” In the early 1920’s the name was changed to the “Sunshine Class.” In 1954 a Junior Woman’s group was formed. After running concurrently for several years, it was the general feeling of both groups that more could be accomplished both financially and spiritually by unification. In 1962 the two groups combined into the Baptist Woman’s Association, and is an active, helpful and loyal group to the church. This Association adopted a Korean orphan and is supporting him monthly. The group sponsors Christmas gifts for several deserving institutions and homes.
Records cannot be found to tell when the Christian Endeavor was first active in the church. There is evidence, however, that it was formed very early in the history of the movement. In 1922 there was an active group. Youth groups have always held meetings and had projects. In mid 50’s the name was changed to Baptist Youth Fellowship for Junior and Senior groups.
The Council of Churches, formed by all Protestant churches of the town, cooperates in the highest spiritual feeling to improve relationships, all combining in spiritual joint services, youth groups, and town projects. The Baptists sponsored an “Out of Door” service in the summer for several years, and this is now adopted by the Council of Churches.
Our church aids in “Hospitality House,” located in the Federated Church of Ayer, where servicemen from the local army camp can have “a touch of home away from home.” Within six miles is the new Grotonwood, a religious camp, a Baptist project which has been supported by the church.
In February 1962 the parsonage on Boston Road was sold. This had belonged to the church since 1868 - 94 years. A new parsonage at 11 Tajlea Road was purchased in May 1962.
Membership of the church in 1822 was 33.
Membership of the church at the 100th anniversary was 85.
Membership of the church at the 125th anniversary was 181.
This historic sketch accounts up to 1964. It must be remembered that it is impossible to give a full account of the full ministry, or the work of a pastor, or other church workers, in such a sketch. Many important things are not recorded. Many helpful influences have been set in motion and many ministrations performed that are not put in print. But the church that has functioned for over 140 years has had a deep and abiding influence for good in the community, and reaches out beyond the community as well, to unnumbered individual lives.
Although never a large church, it has always had an important part in the town. The church was begun in prayer and faith, and has proclaimed the simple blessed Gospel of Christ through the years. May it continue to be a praying church and proclaim and teach the same unchanging Gospel. May the God who has guided it in the past be its guide and tower of strength in the years to come.
(1) Rev. D. F. Lamson
(2) Rev. G. E. Crouse
(3) Rev. R. G. Johnson