<TODO: Current information about Flanders Baptist and Community Church>
<TODO: What should the history section say?>
<TODO: Copied from http://historicbuildingsct.com/?p=18686. Do we need permission to use?>
The Baptist Church in Lyme was established in 1752 and the first meeting house was built in 1754 on Meetinghouse Hill. By the later eighteenth century, membership in the church had grown to point that Baptists outnumbered Congregationalists in the parish. Repairs were made to the meeting house in 1788 and in 1804 the building was plastered for the first time. Originally known as the Lyme Baptist Church, the name was changed around 1810 to the “First Baptist Church of Lyme” after a second Baptist Church was formed in town. In 1839, when the area containing the church became part of the new town of East Lyme, the church became the First Baptist Church of East Lyme. A separate Baptist church in Niantic (part of East Lyme) was formed in 1842. By that time, demographic changes had resulted in the meeting house no longer being as centrally located as it had once been. With new churches established in Niantic and Old Lyme, the First Baptist Church moved to the village of Flanders in East Lyme, completing enough of the new meeting house to make the transfer from Meetinghouse Hill to Flanders in the spring of 1843. The old meeting house was taken down and sold for lumber to help pay for construction of the new building. A parsonage was built next door in 1879. The church has been known as the Flanders Baptist and Community Church since 1929.
<TODO: Copied from http://www.eastlymehistoricalsociety.org/index_files/Page1315.htm. Do we need permission to use?>
During the time of the Great Awakening, many colonists chose to establish new communities of worship, distinct from the official Congregational Church. Known as “Separates”, they were considered dangerous radicals, and subject to arrest and imprisonment. Despite the risks, many Separatist churches were established throughout the colony, including in the township of Lyme. By 1748, a group of Separatists were meeting in a private home on Boston Post Road, led by Ebenezer Mack and Elisha Miller. Mr. Mack was ordained as a Separatist minister in 1749. In 1752, both Mack and his followers embraced Baptist teachings, and the church was formally recognized as a Baptist Church.
Over the next twenty years, the congregation faced many challenges, but the arrival of Brother Jason Lee in 1774 led to a period of new energy and growth. In fact, three daughter Churches were formed in the 1780s: in Waterford, the Chatham section of northern Lyme, and in Marlow and Lempster, New Hampshire, to which a large group of Lyme residents had emigrated. Two more daughter churches were established in 1842: in (Old) Lyme, and in Niantic.
In May of 1842, the congregation voted to build a new meetinghouse farther east on Boston Post Road, where the population center had shifted. The new meetinghouse was dedicated on June 1, 1843, and the old meetinghouse torn down and the lumber sold to help pay for the construction. The parsonage was built next door in 1879. Both buildings are still in their original locations and in use by the church. The church was known as the First Baptist Church of East Lyme until 1929, when it became the Flanders Baptist and Community Church.
Our church, under the name of The Lyme Separatist Church, was founded in 1748. We are committed to spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ, and to serving one another.
Flanders Baptist and Community Church (the name adopted in 1929) is a part of the small town of East Lyme with a population of about 19,000. It is situated on the Southeastern Connecticut shoreline. Most of our congregants live within 10 miles of the church. We have 314 members, with 75-100 people attending regularly. The majority of our members are aged 50 and over.
We are a friendly, welcoming church. The church is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches of Connecticut but is also open to congregants of other denominations. We practice open communion on the first Sunday of every month. We have Sunday School available to students from age 3 through High School and an adult Bible Study class on Sunday mornings.
Rev. Jean-Fritz Guerrier
Secretary / Social Director
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Church events are posted on our Facebook page.
Christmas Eve Service 2016
Photo by Janet Holtz
Flanders Baptist Church & Community Church