This hill’s been their home now for a half century
During this Sunday's service at First Congregational Church in Auburn, Rev. Dan Spacek is going to pull one from the vault. An “oldie but a goodie” if you will.
“I will be giving the same dedication prayer that they gave in 1963,” Spacek said.
The church is celebrating its 50th anniversary at its present location, after spending 80 years overlooking Central Square in Downtown Auburn. Today, only the oak tree remains from the former church grounds. But the one-and-a-half mile move up the hill has seen a wealth of parishioners take root in the congregation.
Parishioners like Barbara Grandstaff, who joined the church in 1975. Grandstaff is the church historian and the self-described “go-to” person in the congregation.
“I’ve gotten a lot of oral history from past parishioners, some of whom are no longer alive,” she said. “My daughter grew up here. I am so thankful for all of the love and support I received as a single parent. It was definitely a village that helped me raise her. It’s a very loving community.”
As historian, Grandstaff keeps track of artifacts and photos from the church, many of which will be on display today in the church hall following services.
And of course there’s the new fixtures - or almost new - as Pastor Dan nears the 10-month mark of his ministry here.
“We’ll be celebrating a community that is always changing and growing,” Spacek said. “I’ve found the people in Auburn to be warm and welcoming from the first time you meet them. People seem to love where they are. They are very accepting of you for who you are. I appreciate that spirit.”
As they step into the next 50 years, the congregation may change and grow as it always has, but they can be sure their spirit will be matched by their pastor.
“We are so lucky to have him,” Grandstaff said. “He’s breathing life into the place.”