Celebrating a Century

SOUTHWEST HARBOR—One hundred years ago, the first service held in Church of St. John the Divine was the funeral of the man who had labored to create a parish.

Celebrating a century in Southwest Harbor, Church of St. John the Divine is hosting a birthday celebratory service at 9:30 a.m. this Saturday, Sept. 22.

Rev. William T. Forsythe had served mission churches in Quebec and Vermont over a span of 31 years before coming to Mount Desert Island. He began his mission work in Seal Cove, often traveling from Southwest Harbor by foot to meet with members of the community.

Southwest Harbor was chosen as a location for a second Episcopal church on the Quiet Side of the island because of its ‘advantages in communication and also in education.’

Once the church building was built in downtown Southwest Harbor in 1918, a few women organized a guild to raise money. They were able to defray the cost of the building, according to a newsletter released in June of 2018.

Rev. Forsythe’s funeral was the first service to be held in the church.

Host to a mainly summer congregation, the church is also the founder of West Side Food Pantry that serves about 1,700 families in Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert and Tremont.


Sarah Hinckley

Sarah Hinckley

Former Islander reporter Sarah Hinckley covered the towns of Southwest Harbor, Tremont and neighboring islands.

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