Although our Church Building is over 50 years old today, the Pawtucket Church is actually over 120 years old. According to our records, over 30 Pastors have served our Church during this time. They have served our Church well and although their length of stay has varied from three months to more than eight years, much has been accomplished. Today, we have a membership of over 200 people.
The initial entry in the Church books of the Pawtucket Seventh-day Adventist Church best describes the beginning of the Church: “On June 24, 1898 services and work began in a gospel tent”. Later that year, they secured the G.A.R. Hall in Central Falls for the work, and on October 15, the Church was organized with a total of eight (8) persons. In the first year, membership grew to 22.
In 1905, the young Church began meeting in Kenyon Hall, above McDevitt’s Dry Goods Store, on Broad Street in downtown Pawtucket. All through its growth, our Church has held many evangelistic meetings.
By 1912, the Church had gone through the process of fundraising and a new church was built on Central Avenue in Pawtucket. At this time, the congregation had a total membership of 55. During this same year, the congregation moved to its new sanctuary.
Notes in the Church records read: “June 30, 1918 was a day long to be remembered by the Pawtucket Church”. For at this time the Lord’s House was fully paid for and dedicated with a total membership of 85. The following year,, brought steps to establish a Church School. The School opened the first week of September.
In 1925, the Church building was completely renovated and rededicated. By 1953, the Church began exploring options of either enlarging the Church or looking for new quarters. Due to lack of suitable churches for purchase, consideration was given to starting a Building Fund. By 1954, with a membership at 130, a Finance Committee was set up to promote the Fund Drive.
A Building Committee was chosen and a sub-committee was commissioned to look for land upon which to build. The fund was now $12,000, with an additional $50,000 pledged by mid 1957. By the end of the year, the present site was found by the Location Committee. The property was composed of three parcels of land – a large lot, a smaller one, and a house and lot. Final settlement on the property was made in March of 1959, though the house and lot were not purchased until 1962. Through several fundraising campaigns means were made available to begin building in the Spring of 1961.
Opening services in the new Church building were conducted on May 19, 1962. Now the indebtedness had to be cleared – no small task. Total costs for the property and construction had run to $225,000. In addition, construction of the long needed consolidated school to be built in Rehoboth, at a cost exceeding $150,000, had begin at about the same time. But the Pawtucket congregation, with their vision of Christian education, joined with the other area churches in the new project. The first Cedar Brook School graduation was held June 7, 1962, in the new Church sanctuary. A final drive to clear the Church of indebtedness was made. The mortgage was burned on October 17, 1970.
Closely connected to the history of the Pawtucket Church is the history of Fuller Memorial Hospital. Through the years, the Church has been the beneficiary of both talent and means supplied by the people employed by Fuller, who chose to worship at the Pawtucket Church.
As competition in the medical field began to heat up, Fuller experienced the same financial difficulties as other small hospitals. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s cutbacks in hospital staffing had their effect on the life of the church. Families who had spent years as part of the congregation moved away due either to retirement or job changes. The hospital would finally be sold in 1995 ending a long relationship between the Church and Fuller.
One passing note of interest is that in 1991, the congregation decided to end a small matter of confusion. When the Church was moved from Pawtucket to Lincoln, it retained the name Pawtucket Seventh-day Adventist Church. That the Pawtucket Church was not actually in Pawtucket, presented a difficulty to those trying to find the church from out of town. The decision was made to change the name to the Lincoln Seventh-day Adventist Church.
It has been clear over the past decade that God wants this Church to remain as a light in the Lincoln/Pawtucket area. As families left Fuller and the Church to move elsewhere, new families came in. From 1991 to the present, the membership of the Church has actually edged upwards, which is nothing short of a miracle considering the number of people lost due to the sale of Fuller.
However, the 1990’s have marked a new era for the Church. The Lincoln congregation has become a culturally diverse and multi-ethnic group of people. We now have a membership hailing from dozens of countries around the world. Americans now sit shoulder to shoulder with brothers and sisters from Europe, Africa, South America. West Indians fellowship with Russians and Ghanaians. We are privileged to have a little taste of Heaven in the Lincoln Church. Let us hope that the last chapter to this history will be written from Heaven.
Today, our Church celebrates over 50 years in this House of Worship, fully dedicated to God. Our Church has been given blessings too numerous to mention, given by God that we might enjoy an appropriate House of Worship, fully in order and to His Glory.