“We have moved from allocating [church] space to anyone who wants it, to requiring that we work together in partnership,” the Rev. Stan Moody, senior pastor, said Friday. “The idea is to integrate
the ministry and discipleship we ought to be providing as an organized church. What does the
mansion need to round out its ministry and what does Columbia Street need to fulfill its mission?”
The Mansion started four years ago as a ministry at the Penobscot County Jail and the Maine StatePrison, its founder Terry Dinkins of Carmel said Friday. Moody and Dinkins joke that they met inprison in 2008, when Moody was the chaplain and Dinkins was a volunteer. Since then, Moody has worked with Dinkins to structure his Mansion ministry.In an effort to build a bridge between jail and church after people were released, Dinkins, whomanages an armored car company, started a Bible study group at the Isaac Farrar Mansion because
“that’s where people lived,” he said referring to the
neighborhood between First and Third streets.That turned into an evening worship service followed by a meal that also drew in people from theBangor Area Homeless Shelter.The group, which now draws between 50 and 60 people, moved to Wellman Commons on the historic Bangor Theological Seminary campus. Before each service,Dinkins picks up people at the shelter and atHope House,a shelter located on Indiana Avenue inBangor. While Dinkins was building his ministry, Columbia Street Baptist and other Bangor churches in2009 began offering a free meal at the church at noon, Sundays, for downtown area residents andthe homeless. The meal now draws about 100. Over the past three years, Columbia Street also hasstruggled financially to pay the salary and benefits of a full-time minister.Early this year, the congregation decided to create a ministry team made up of Moody, the Rev.Edward Merrill, associate pastor for administration, and the Rev. Rick Bach, a military chaplain, whois head of Christian education. All three men work part time for the church and none of themreceives a benefits package, Merrill said Saturday.Moody an
d Merrill both said that they see great potential in the partnership with Dinkins’ ministry.
“We are largely a middle class congregation smack in the middle of the action in an inner city
Terry has an inner city ministry,” Moody said. “We have to brin
g the two groups together so we canempower those who need help in rising above their circumstances
spiritually and economically.”
Columbia Street Baptist also has something few other churches in Maine have
a gymnasium. Inthe late 1960s, the congregation purchased a former bakery next door and converted it into theirChristian education building with classrooms on the first floor and a gymnasium on the second.It seemed like the kind of space that could be used as a community center with some renovations,Merrill, who previously worked for the YMCA, said Saturday. When theYMCA, located onHammond Street, merged with the YWCA, the climbing wall could not be relocated to Second Street.The climbing wall and basketball backboards were donated to the church.
“We are creating a curriculum to use the wall to teach the values of the faith along with giving people
a sense of achievement and teaching them ho
w to support one another,” Merrill said. “It’s a way they can learn about themselves and others.”
Merrill said the church is launching a $395,000 capital campaign to fund renovations to the former bakery that would include a new furnace, installation of an elevator and converting some formerclassrooms to offices for staff and ministry partners.