CHURCH OF THE OPEN BIBLE
Prepared from material supplied by Sandra Smith
In June 1976 a group of Alexander people met at Elbridge McArthur’s on the Cooper Road to discuss their need for a church in the Town of Alexander. Some of those present were Tom and Sandra Smith, Bernard and Barbara Flood, Elbridge and Barbara McArthur, Lawrence and Hilda Lord, Glen and Grita Carson, Ernie and Betty Hugli, Wilson and Frances Finch, Ruth Dwelley and Richard and Barbara Fowler. At that meeting plans were made for the establishment of a new church and Richard Fowler was called to be their pastor and Sandra Smith was elected treasurer.
On June 26, 1976 the people met for services at the Alexander Grange Hall and soon started prayer meetings on Wednesday nights at individual homes. As the Church grew, plans were drawn up and work started on a building. Lawrence and Hilda Lord deeded a lot for a building on September 1, 1976. Church members donated most materials and labor; however, many gifts came from folks in other areas. The first baptism was at Pleasant Lake in August 1976. It wasn’t until late fall that services were held in the basement of the new building.
The Downeast Christian School was opened by the Church in the fall of 1977 and was the first Christian school in Washington County. The school has had many volunteers and among its teaching staff over the years have been Tammy Winship, Deborah Doten, Joan Dodge, Donna Heathcote, Barbara Fowler, Robert Johnson, Rocky Young, Sally Ketchen, Mavis Snyder, David Wilson, Judy Howell, Kathy Kesel and Frank Keisler. Other helpers were Norma Wallace, Deborah Aiguier, Barbara McArthur, Yvonne Hunt, Viola Dwelley, and Vera Hunt. This school ceased operation in June 2009.
In February 1989 Richard Fowler left the Church and went to Shag Harbour, Nova Scotia. During the next 9 months several people filled the pulpit. In November 1989 Edmund D. “Chip” Howell, Jr. became pastor of the Church of the Open Bible and was there until he resigned in September 1996. Pastor Chip and his wife later became house parents at the Shepherd’s Godparent Home in Bangor.
In February 1997 Robert Chamberland became the pastor and served until he resigned in September 2004 to teach at Cornerstone Bible Institute in Hot Springs South Dakota.
In January 2005 Chip Howell returned to the Church as pastor, having felt the call of God back to full-time ministry.