Farewell at the Finnish Church...

By Art Jura | Jan 22, 2013
Photo by: Jackie Harjula The Rev. Terence and Vera Willis with the special cake made for their farewell party.

SOUTH THOMASTON. Sunday the 13th was a special and emotional occasion for both Pastor and congregation of the historic Finnish Congregational Church. The Rev. Terence R. Willis had announced his intentions to retire several weeks ago, but this was his last sermon, and it was entitled "If I Preached Only Once".

The traditional Finnish coffee-hour after church was devoted to a loving farewell party for both "Terry & Vera", who had so faithfully served the little church for the past 12 years. They were showered with numerous gifts and cards, and a special cake made for the occasion.

The years from 2000 to the present have witnessed tremendous growth for this former "mission station". Originally perched humbly upon field-stones, the sanctuary now rests atop a newly constructed fellowship hall, which is utilized for numerous activities by both church, and related Finnish-American organizations. Much of this growth could not have occurred without their leadership.

Terry and Vera Willis were both originally from Plymouth, England. Rev.Willis graduated from the University of London, was ordained at Christ Church, United Reform Church, in Rayleigh, Essex, England, and he served there from 1967 to 1980. They were later called to the Payson Park Church in Belmont, MA in 1980, where he served as pastor until 1999. Upon his retirement, Rev. Willis was awarded the title of Pastor Emeritus. They moved to their home in mid-coastal Maine in 2000, and were soon discovered by members of the little Finnish Church. The rest is history!

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