People, working together, created a unique place to worship God in Wilmington…
In 1929 a group of people in the Forest Street area of Wilmington Massachusetts wanted to “offer religious and social life to all this community that would otherwise be without.” The first service was held March 1929. During the first five years the charter members pitched in to build a church with their own hands.
The humblest of buildings, it measured just 20’ x 30. There was no running water, no bathrooms- just an outhouse at the back of the church. The only means of heat was a one-pipe furnace, which burned wood and coal when they could afford it. But, in this ordinary place, which would come to be called the Forest Street Congregational Church, was something extraordinary…
Growth continued throughout the 1940’s, 1950’s and 1960’s. A basement was dug below the Sanctuary, and became the Parish Hall, and providing space for Sunday School. Plumbing was added, the heat plant improved.
Toward the late 1970’s, the membership had declined, and the members decided to approach the Episcopal Churches in the area, (there being no Episcopal Church in Wilmington or Tewksbury,) and the Forest Street Congregational Church was reborn as Saint Elizabeth’s Chapel of Saint Mark’s Church in Burlington.
In 1986, a growing St. Elizabeth’s Chapel became a Mission in union with the Episcopal Diocese, independent of Saint Mark’s. In 1989, the chapel was enlarged to allow for more worship space and a larger sanctuary. A wheelchair ramp was added, and the original bathroom was replaced with two handicap-accessible bathrooms. To accommodate the growing number of families with small children, and to give space for both youth and adult education programs, in 1992 an addition was made to the basement level, creating a large, new Sunday school space. Saint Elizabeth’s Chapel has continued to grow and become more self-sufficient so that in November 2000 the diocese granted the mission church parish status, thus becoming Saint Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church.
And, we continue, in that same spirit, to work together, constantly re-creating a unique place to worship God in Wilmington.