Mayflower Church has a long history in the community, tracing its roots back to the early 1800s. It all began in 1827 when members of the First Congregational Church in Kingston set out to form a new church, which would be evangelical in its theology. On April 1, 1828, thirty-eight subscribers signed a document to form what was called the Second Congregational Church and Society in Kingston. A new meetinghouse, started in the fall of 1828, was completed in 1829. It’s worth noting that the new church took a firm stand for temperance, and a decade later withheld fellowship for slave owners. During the 1800s, a number of pastors served the new church, including Rev. Joseph Peckham whose pastorate lasted 42 years. The Second Congregational Church was known by several other names too --the Orthodox Church and The Evangelical Church. It was in 1878 that the name of the church was formally changed to Mayflower Church, in honor of the Pilgrim forefathers.
1929 – The Federated Years
In 1929, Mayflower Church and the adjacent Kingston Baptist Church federated. Each kept its own denominational standing and its own buildings but cooperated for purposes of worship and ministry. The two churches alternated the denomination of the minister and used the Baptist parsonage for the current minister. Mayflower Church sold its parsonage at that time. For many years this federation worked out very well for members of both churches. But in 1958 they ended the federation. Still, the spirit of cooperation lasted many years afterward.
1958 – Mayflower Church Again
In 1958, Rev. George S. Buhl was called to be the pastor. He served for 26 years, retiring in 1984. His ministry was a time of growth. The church purchased a parsonage and the house and land adjacent to the church for Sunday School, committee meetings, and social gatherings. By 1965, more room was needed and a Christian education building was designed and built on the property. The building was completed and dedicated in September 1972 as the Briggs Memorial Building. Four years later, the church held a mortgage-burning ceremony for this building. The house next to the church was then renovated to be used as a parsonage. Unfortunately, soon after his retirement, the parsonage was destroyed by fire during a winter blizzard and a new parsonage was built.
Recent Years 1984 – Present
Rev. John Eklund was called to be the pastor of Mayflower Church following Rev. Buhl’s retirement. The church continued to grow during Rev. Eklund’s pastorate until two worship services were needed. A building campaign resulted in the renovation and enlargement of the church that included raising the church to create a finished basement for Sunday school, nursery, meetings, and a library; adding several feet to the sanctuary; and updating heating, lighting, and other amenities. Pastor Eklund served until 2001. In 2004, the church called Pastor John Dale to the pastorate. For eleven years he preached the Word and shepherded the flock faithfully. In 2015 he answered a call to a church in New York, partly for family reasons. From 2015 to 2019, Pastor Douglas MacLeod served as interim and settled pastor. He instituted several innovative outreach activities including a weekly Family Fellowship Night; ministry to the local homeless shelter; children's outreach with Open Air Campaigners; and grief and addiction support groups.
In December 2019, Pastor Bernie Powell began an intentional interim pastorate to prepare Mayflower for the future and search for a permanent pastor. In December of 2020, Pastor Anton Brown became our settled pastor.