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Elijah D. Very

Pastor No. 1
Served: 1841 - 1844?

By 1840, First Baptist Church (in Milltown) had many members that were living in Calais. To promote the growth and efficiency of the church, these members requested to be dismissed from the Milltown church in order to organize a separate church in Calais. They made this request to the church on December 14, 1841; and the church granted their request. In all, 51 members of the Milltown congregation became members of the new church, which was organized on December 29, 1841.

The new church in Calais was named Calais Village Baptist Church. (In the past, central Calais was known both as Saltwater Village and as Stillwater Village.) Rev. E. D. Very had left the Milltown church to become our first pastor, and he and the new congregation strongly opposed slavery. The church continued as a member of the Washington Association (now East Area Association) of the American Baptist Convention of Maine. Rev. Very resigned and moved to Nova Scotia before the congregation had moved into the new church building.

Henry V. Dexter

Pastor No. 2
Served: 1845? - 1854

Pastor No. 5
Served: October 1860 - April 1869

Henry V. Dexter was the first pastor of Calais Village Baptist Church after the church building was completed. He attended Colby College and Newton Theological Institution, and he was proficient in Greek and Latin. Rev. Dexter assisted pastors of the various Baptist churches in rural communities near Calais.

(Rev. Dexter was pastor of the church at two separate times: first, he served from about 1845 until 1854; later, he served from October 1860 until April 1869.)

E. B. Eddy

Pastor No. 6
Served: December 1869 - July 1875

E. B. Eddy graduated from Brown University and Newton Theological Institution, and he had served as a chaplain during the Civil War. Rev. Eddy was also proficient in geology. He never fully recovered, however, from injuries due to a railway accident. Rev. Eddy was noted for preaching the fundamental teachings of the Bible.

J. A. Freiday

Pastor No. 7
Served: September 1875 - October 1876

During the pastorate of J. A. Freiday, a revival occurred in the church. In all, 60 new members joined during this time. He soon resigned to accept an appointment as a missionary to India.

Dr. Adoniram Judson Padelford

Pastor No. 8
Served: 1877 - 1908 

Dr. A. J. Padelford was educated at Rochester University and Rochester Theological Seminary, and he earned his Doctor of Divinity degree at Colby College. His arrival in the year 1877 was a significant event for the church and for the city. Dr. Padelford was pastor of Second Baptist Church for 31 years, longer than any other pastor of our church; during his pastorate, 352 persons were received into the church by baptism. He also wrote a book, The Morning Hour, which contained a passage of scripture for devotional reading for each day of the year. For ten years, from 1885 until 1895, he was superintendent of the schools of Calais. Dr. Padelford served as president of the Baptist Convention of Maine as well.

On July 21, 1908, Dr. Padelford celebrated his 75th birthday with the church. All 75 children of the church filed into the vestry, each bearing a spray of sweet peas. In the evening, the adults gave him a gift of 75 candy kisses and a new wallet with money in it; he was informed that this money was to go to the church treasury so that the church could be entirely free from debt. This beloved pastor was delighted to do so.

John Cromwell Hughes
Pastor No. 9
Served: September 1909 - September 1913
John Cromwell Hughes graduated from the University of Wales and London and Bangor Theological Seminary, and he arrived here from a Baptist church in Connecticut. Church and Sunday School attendance reached their peak during Hughes’ years; often, the sanctuary and vestry were taxed to their fullest capacity. He also started a class for men that had an average attendance of 50. Another room had to be built to house this class, and the church later built another room atop it. In September 1913, Rev. Hughes resigned to accept a call to Immanuel Baptist Church in Boston, Massachusetts.

Thomas Jefferson Ramsdell

Pastor No. 10
Served: 1913 - 1921

Wallace S. “Wally” Boardman

Pastor No. 11
Served: May 1921 - January 1925

Wally Boardman worked diligently among the young people. He focused not only on preaching but also on doing the work of the church. During his pastorate, a missionary campaign called the New World Movement brought in over $6,000 – a very large sum for those days.
Roy M. Trafton

Pastor No. 12
Served: May 1925 - March 1929
While Rev. Trafton was pastor, Sunday School picnics by steamer along the St. Croix River were very popular.

Elbert Paul

Pastor No. 13
Served: July 1929 - December 1932

Rev. Elbert Paul graduated from Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. A Roger Williams Club was formed during his pastorate, as well as the World Wide Guild and groups of Children’s World Crusaders. Despite the depression in 1929, finances were kept in good shape. Rev. Paul left to serve at the leading Baptist church in Vancouver, British Columbia.

George W. Davis

Pastor No. 14
Served: January 1932 - 1935

Pastor Davis was young but very short in stature. Nonetheless, he refused to use a fine mahogany stool that was made especially for his use behind the pulpit – instead, he preached from both sides of the pulpit. A Junior Choir was started in September 1932.

Rev. Davis was a strong pacifist; and his young people’s class enjoyed bringing up the subject of war and peace on occasion, disrupting completely the subject under discussion. After leaving
Calais, he moved to Columbus, Ohio.

Ed Goodman

Pastor No. 15
Served: August 1935 - September 1938

Ed Goodman was another young pastor, and he had many new ideas. He undertook the entire management of the Sunday School for a year; however, when the year was over, he was glad to delegate many of its duties.

Ellis J. “Sam” Holt

Pastor No. 16
Served: November 1938 - October 1942

In 1940, our church was active in a campaign against Sunday movies in Calais. It was successful by a large majority.

Ellis Holt wrote the book A Quarter Century of Change 1954-1979.


Walter L. Cook

Pastor No. 17
Served: October 1942 - November 1945

During Walter L. Cook’s service, the church decided to start a Baptist summer camp. The first two camping seasons, 1945 and 1946, took place at the Advent Camp in Princeton. In these first two years, 54 people accepted Christ. Rev. Cook was active in visitations, and he prided himself on being able to confine his regular calls to 15 minutes. During his sermons he also heeded time, preaching only as long as he felt he could hold his audience. In 1944, the Baraca Philathea class was organized under the name of the “Out-to-Win” Philathea class, and it is still active today.

Walter Cook wrote the book The Story of Maine Baptists.

Raymond J. Bates

Pastor No. 18
Served: March 1946 - January 1954

During the pastorate of Rev. Raymond Bates, the church purchased a camp on Pennamaquan Lake in Charlotte. The lot included 71 acres, an old building, and a hencoop. The price was $1,100.

Dr. Raymond Buker, who later became a missionary to a leper colony, made the down payment on the camp, intending the money to be a gift. Second Baptist wanted to have the Washington Association (now the East Area Association) take over the camp, but our church was prepared to pursue the project if the association was not interested.

Eventually, the association took the helm of the camp, and Dr. Buker was refunded his payment. The camp has had many successful years and now has a value of more than 20 times the original cost.
Dr. Bob Ginn

Pastor No. 20
Served: May 1959 - August 1964

Dr. Bob Ginn earned his doctorate at Dallas Theological Seminary. He had a gift for bringing the Old Testament characters to life.

In 1959, Dr. Bob Ginn started a radio ministry at the local radio station in Calais; his program went on the air at 8 a.m. on Sundays. The theme song, “I Have a Longing in My Heart for Jesus,” was sung by Mrs. Arwood Ginn. After a brief devotion, Dr. Ginn would preach the gospel.

Donald Thompson

Pastor No. 21
Served: January 1965 - May 1979

Rev. Donald Thompson, who had served the Millinocket church for over 10 years, became our 21st pastor. Because he was receiving a larger salary than our church could afford, we were doubtful that Rev. Thompson would consider leading our church. Much to the delight of Second Baptist, Pastor Thompson felt called to come to Calais and serve.

The entire community approved of Pastor Thompson. He was especially appreciated by the hospital, where he responded to calls without regard to denominational affiliation. In addition, he became the president of the ministerial association. His wife, Lucy, received national recognition and became president of American Baptist Women. Under Rev. Thompson’s pastorate, the church experienced an increase in support and unification: the Baptist church in Milltown had closed; and the daughter of Rev. Lyons, its last leader, joined Second Baptist Church with her husband and three children.

James Wilce

Pastor No. 22
Served: March 1980 - 1981

Rev. James Wilce came from Claremont, California; and his wife was from Augusta, Maine. His wife had previously served six months in Bangladesh, and they planned to go there as missionaries as soon as they could get that specific appointment. During his time with the church, Rev. Wilce was ordained and was instrumental in forming Brothers and Sisters for Missions in 1981; this ministry is still active and serving others today. Soon, the Wilces received word that their appointment had come through. There was a marked growth in attendance and interest during his stay.

Walter Wakeman

Pastor No. 23
Served: November 1981 - ?

Rev. Wakeman’s pastorate at Second Baptist was his fifth in Maine. He was very knowledgeable concerning the Bible, and both he and his wife were very well liked personally. Nonetheless, he did not get the response he desired and thought it best to serve elsewhere. The Prayer Chain began during Rev. Wakeman’s pastorate, and this ministry is still active.

Charles Reed

Pastor No. 24
Served: May 1984 - August 1988

Rev. Charles Reed came to Calais after spending five years as a pastor in Aroostook County. He worked alongside the Methodists, Congregationalists, and Episcopalians on ecumenical endeavors; and he initiated the Thanksgiving Day dinner that Second Baptist Church provides each year free of charge to the community.

Dennis Burke

Pastor No. 25
Served: February 1990 - December 1991

Chester “Chet” Garrison

Pastor No. 26
Served: June 1993 - September 1999

Pastor Chet and his wife, Barbara, had a calling for youth ministry. Mrs. Garrison restarted the junior choir, which became known as the King’s Kids. She also became active in Christian Education, which grew in depth and in numbers under their guidance. Our Sunday School began to grow as well under their leadership.

Starting in 1994, there was an increase in the Bible Study attendance. The Christian Education Board also started H.O.P.E.S., Helping Other People Every Sunday, which helps to support the Irene Chadbourne Ecumenical Food Pantry in Calais.

Moreover, Pastor Garrison challenged all of us to grow spiritually. In the 1997 Annual Report, he wrote in his letter to the church, “He had called us to stand in the gap together in this city for Him,” referencing Matthew 28. Pastor Chet was also ordained that year, on
October 19, 1997.

In 1998, Pastor Chet challenged us once again not to be complacent but continued with, “What has God been doing in my church, my life, and am I listening to Him?” Pastor Garrison left in 1999 to serve at another church in

William H. Lee, III

Pastor No. 27
Served: November 2003 - August 2004

Christopher George Stevens

Pastor No. 28
August 2005 - February 2009

Matthew Burden

Pastor No. 29
February 2010 - Present

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Second Baptist Church | 21 Church St., Calais, ME  04619 | (207) 454-2579