In looking at the history of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church, it seems that long before St. Augustine’s became part of the community, there were Episcopal services in Dover-Foxcroft. Fr. Stanley MacDonnell, the Vicar of St. John the Baptist in the 1940’s, conducted home services twice monthly.
It would take several more decades before St. Augustine’s was opened during the time when Fr. Cleon Ross served as Vicar of the Piscataquis Mission. This was in the 1980’s. The Mission at the time included St. John the Baptist, Brownville Junction; St. Joseph’s, Milo; Church of the Messiah, Dexter and the newly formed St. Augustine’s.
During that time services were held at St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Church, High Street. Then, Fr. Ross made arrangements to rent the former Universalist Church on Pleasant Street. During those years, it was decided that the congregation would build a church. The location was to be on land purchased on Park Street. The church thrived there for some years. As members came and went, there were difficulties in keeping the building.
Fr. Ross eventually moved on. Fr. Arps became interim priest. The congregation sold the Park Street property to the American Legion and for sometime, rented space from the Legion for continuing services. It didn’t take too long to realize a space to meet the continuing needs of the congregation was needed.
There was a Baptist Church on Hines Hill (now known as Dexter Road). The church was no longer in use. It seems that the minister’s wife had died and no one seemed to know what happened to the minister. With a bit of sleuthing, Vi Goodrow and Norma Harris tracked down his whereabouts through a relative who worked at the local Bangor Savings Bank. The minister was in a nursing home in Lincoln. Norma also tracked down the location of their church bishop who had oversight of the now empty building. He was located in Massachusetts. A phone number was located and Norma called to inquire about the possibility of St. Augustine’s purchasing the building. When she called, she got the bishop’s wife who made it clear that the property was not for sale! When Fr. Arps heard this, he phoned the bishop and after speaking with him directly, the sale was arranged.
The undercroft was unfinished at the time. It is now complete and the Episcopal Church Woman of the church raised the additional funds to build our oh-so-popular Thrift Shop in the rear of the property. Since those early days, funds for a steeple were raised. The steeple was dedicated to the glory of God in honor of Bishop Chilton Knudsen.
Recent clergy serving St. Augustine’s include The Rev. Canon Nancy Moore and The Rev. Dr. Michael Holtsapple. The Rev. Douglas A. Beck, ObJN is the current priest-in-charge. Fr. Beck began with us on January 1, 2021 after serving in the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
With the continuing ministry of the church and the Thrift Shop, St. Augustine’s remains true to its mission of serving God and others.