The Free Will Baptist Church was organized under leadership of Joshua Barnes on Dec 22,1864.At this time Mr.Barnes said, “as far as I could learn at the time, there was not a Christian man or woman on the entire island, there was neither church or school”. Source: Lights and Shadows of Eighty Years, p.54
I question this statement as far as the schools go as I have record of an early school being at White Head in 1840's. In any event there was no church building as known today and those few who were interested in the gospel met in houses.
The first church was organized under leadership of Elder William Brown
from Calais, Maine and Joshua Barnes. Those who were admitted to the Free
Baptist as charter members were: Theresa Carroll, Judson Guptill,
Ann Norwood, William Trecarten, Issac Wilson, Edward Carroll, John L. Brown,
Lorenzo Cheney, Jane R. Brown, Ruth A. Frankland, Elizabeth Mclean, Barbary
Morse. The number of members continued to grow and by March 1873 a total
of 83 members listed.
Many names added were not on any census records for the years so these come as a bit of a surprise.
I do not know when the first church building was erected but know it was in use until 1928 when the second of three churches was dedicated. Construction on a third church began in 1978 with planning committee and was completed in October 1981 when we held the first service. On Aug 6 1983 this church was dedicated, again a wooden structure but a different location. Built by local men with assistance from electricians etc. from off island.
Many programs have been implemented over the years to enrich the lives of both young and old alike, namely Sunday School, Missions, Awana, Cradle Roll. The church has an active membership with good attendance.