[FNCA History]


During the FNCA Centennial Celebration in 2021, brief "Centennial Moments" were read at meals throughout the 2-week session, going chronologically through the Assembly's first 100 years and highlighting various interesting historical events. These were also posted on the FNCA Facebook page, and after the camp session ended, the Centennial Moments were continued on Facebook bringing us up to 2021 on New Year's Eve.

The original series during camp only had 42 Centennial Moments. This is now being expanded to (eventually) include one from each of our 100 years of history.

Anything below that is in quotes was taken verbatim from our records.


NOTE: This page is still a work in progress. There are still many more Centennial Moments to be added. The numbering below is off because your webmaster has absolutey no intention of renumbering them all each time new ones are added in. The numbers will all be corrected once all 100 are entered here.


Centennial Moment #1

1921 "Rev. Mr. Dole stated that the average number present at each lecture was twenty-two, the smallest number being nineteen and the largest number twenty-six, this not including the lecture on missions when fifty-one were present; that sixty-nine different persons were present during the school, not including the mission lecture, and was most encouraging."



Centennial Moment #2

1922 Outing Day officially starts. The announcement of the session in The New-Church Messenger reads, in part: "one full day of each week will be devoted to an excursion or general outing...", hence the beginning of what was called Excursion Day through the mid-1960s or so, and which continues to this day as Outing Day each week.

© FNCA 1922



Centennial Moment #3

1923 A flyer was made up and distributed, most likely by Walter Robinson, that read in part: "A feature this year will be a 'tent city' near the river especially for the young people. Registration for cots in the tents will close as early as July 1. A director will be in charge of a group of tents for boys and young men; a chaperone, of a group of tents for girls; and tents for families will be located apart from these groups. The tents will have board floors with two or four cots in each according to sizes, and should be arranged for early in June. The charge for each individual in the tents will be $2 a week. There is no charge for attendance at the lectures and classes."



Centennial Moment #4

1924 "Another significant item is that on Aug. 21 after breakfast, a party of us walked down to the river to look over a site that had been proposed as a camp. It had some attractive features, but we decided against it because of the fact that a part of it was on the intervale and would be under water each Spring. This was the first definite time that we had looked at a site for a permanent camp of our own."

© FNCA 1924



Centennial Moment #25

1925 For the first time, everyone was under one roof: the Alumni House at Fryeburg Academy. "Our life together was congenial and happy, for the most part. But we found that in living together in this way, it was essential that we have a few simple rules, for our mutual benefit. There were some objections to such rules, but I believe that they are necessary to the smooth running of such a communal life. We should allow freedom, but we should not tolerate license."

© FNCA 1926


Centennial Moment #2

1931 An upstairs store room in the Main Building is cleared out and lined with wire mesh for storage of blankets and linens becoming what is known today as the Mouse Closet.

© Jesse White 2013



Centennial Moment #3

1933 The first known record of women on the lecture staff, with lectures by Miss Elizabeth Beaman and Miss Lilybell Bates, two regular attendees.







Centennial Moment #4

1935 From The New-Church Messenger, September 18, 1935: "A movie film of two reels, part in color, taking thirty minutes, showing all the activities of this 1935 Assembly — lectures, ministers, attendants, classes, sports, and the buildings and scenery — will be available after October 15th for advertising the Assembly. A 16-mm. projector is necessary. Apply for dates to F. W. Faxon, Roslindale, Massachusetts."



Centennial Moment #5

1941 The FNCA Women's Auxiliary is given an American flag that had belonged to Rev. & Mrs. John Whitehead by their three daughters, and discussion begins on funding a flagpole.

© FNCA 1925



Centennial Moment #6

1947 "City electricity" reaches the Assembly. The Main Building is rewired. The old gas-powered electricity generator is sold. And the old coal stove in the Kitchen is sold and replaced with 2 electric stoves.

© Trevor 2011



Centennial Moment #7

1948 FNCA President F. Gardiner Perry requests table space at Convention for "an exhibit of the Fryeburg Assembly."

© FNCA 1964



Centennial Moment #8

1950 Remember that flag donated in 1941 by the 3 Whitehead daughters? (see Centennial Moment #5 above) Well, 9 years later, using money from the Women's Auxiliary, a wooden flagpole made from a tree grown on the Assembly property was erected on the upper lawn at the center of the top of the hill, and that American flag donated in 1941 was (finally!) raised at the Assembly for the first time on August 13, 1950 at 8:00 in the morning.

© FNCA 1963



Centennial Moment #9

1951 A fenced-in play yard for the children was built in the grove of trees between the Main Building and the Big Boys Tent (where The Treehouse is now), near where the end of Whitehead Hall is now.



Centennial Moment #10

1953 A wooden tent platform is built near the Faxon Cabin for a new tent to house just the "little boys” ages 8-12, who up until now had been sleeping in a tent with the teen and college-age boys; hence, the beginning of the Little Boys Tent, which was where the cement slab with the clotheslines next to the Mack Cabin is today.

© Trevor 2011


Centennial Moment #11

1954 The lectures are tape recorded (possibly for the first time) and copies made available by the "young and energetic" Rev. Wm. Woofenden.

© FNCA 1956



Centennial Moment #12

1960 "Mr. John C. Perry, member of the Mountain Leadership Committee of the Appalachian Mountain Club will show a film of climbing in the White Mountans, and will give instruction in mountain leadership to the young people who are there." This program was offered for the next several years, at least until 1965.

© Nancy F. Little 2013



Centennial Moment #13

1964 FNCA co-founder Rev. Louis A. Dole passes on to the spiritual world in February. Before the Assembly session, the Dole Wing is built in honor of Rev. Louis & Anita S. Dole. Rev. Dole was also the first FNCA president and both a core lecturer and an FNCA officer from our inception in 1921 until 1963, the year before his death. Anita S. Dole, who wrote the Dole Bible Study Notes, was a young people's religion class teacher nearly all that time, too.

© June 19, 1919



Centennial Moment #14

1965 "A considerable amount of timber has been cut and sold, under the direction of the Trustees and with the expert advice of a Maine Forester... making a substantial contribution to the cost of the Dole Wing...."

© Rebekka Lange 2015



Centennial Moment #15

1971 It's the Fryeburg New Church Assembly's 50th anniversary! A full weekend of events drew lots of people who hadn't attended for years to the celebration.

© FNCA 1971



Centennial Moment #16

1972 A new play yard is fenced in behind the Goddard Annex and a door and steps from are added to access it.

© Ian Woofenden 2011



Centennial Moment #17

1972 Flames Games start.

© FNCA 1973




Centennial Moment #18

1975 After being filed continuously since 1935, the minutes of the Women's Auxiliary of the Fryeburg New Church suddenly stop, with this years' being the last. Yet the Women's Auxiliary continues to run the Sales Table for 5-10 more years.

© Nancy F. Little 2010

Parts of the Sales Table are visible behind the Puzzle Table.



Centennial Moment #19

1978 The Flames 50th Anniversary Celebration with attendance of about 120 people.

© FNCA 1978



Centennial Moment #20

1978 On a suggestion from the Rev. Dr. George F. Dole, Sparks Games start.

© Jesse White 2003



Centennial Moment #21

1983 A large dinner bell is bought in Pennsylvania by the Rev. Dr. & Mrs William R. Woofenden and donated to the Assembly. It is braced into a fork of a tall pine tree at the edge of the lower lawn. Before this, program events were signaled by a runner with a handbell circling the entire camp for warning bells and the starting bells throughout the day.

© Beki Greenwood 2010




Centennial Moment #22

1984 Several acres of FNCA property at the northeast end of camp beyond the Mack Cabin are sold. A 1/2 acre sliver is sold to our neighbor, the Eastmans, at their request "to straighten their property line". The rest is bought by long-time FNCA members Ed & Wendy Schnurr. The proceeds from the above sales are used to purchase three lots from the Weston Way housing development at the opposite end of camp in New Hampshire because they were uncomfortably close to the Perry Cabin and we didn't want permanent residences that close to camp.

© Jon Cousins 2013



Centennial Moment #23

1987 The week before camp, an artist retreat is held, "Landscape Painting in the White Mountains", hosted by FNCA artist Carolyn Judson with 3 hours of instruction each day by Brooklyn artist Jacqueline Lima.

© FNCA 1987



Centennial Moment #24

1988 A Post-Convention Rest & Relaxation Retreat is held at the Assembly from July 3-6.

© FNCA 1986



Centennial Moment #25

1990 After complaining that she hadn’t been on a boat ride since she was a child, Alice Vigerstad, that wonderful, wacky woman, asks the Waterfront Director, ”Is there any way you could take us old ladies on a little canoe trip? We'll be good." The first Alice F. Vigerstad Memorial Old Lady Canoe Trip was such a huge success that it was repeated the following year and fairly regularly ever since.




Centennial Moment #26

1995 Although the concept had probably been mentioned and discussed before, the idea that became what is now called the Outreach Committee is first in the minutes of an Executive Committee Meeting.

© FNCA 2015



Centennial Moment #27

1999 Much to our surprise, most of the trees lining the far side the river are cut down, opening up our views of the mountains and the plains before them that haven't been seen from ground level for 3 or 4 decades.

© Trevor 2008


Centennial Moment #28

1999 The old wooden flagpole at the top of the front lawn hill is taken down, and a new metal flagpole is put up in the far downstream corner of the front lawn.

© FNCA 1962



Centennial Moment #29

2000 Lalla Searle, with a crew of relatives, begins a planting project putting in flowers and bushes that bloom in August and (in her words) "can suffer benign neglect the rest of the year" in front of various cabins and in the ravine between the front lawn and the Claxton Cabin.

© Sarah Grams 2018



Centennial Moment #30

2002 At their mid-winter meeting, the Executive Committee approves a much-needed update of the FNCA's administrative structure to be more in line with current standards for non-profit organizations: separating policy making from program running, with an elected Board of Directors in charge of the former, and a mostly ex officio Summer Session Committee in charge of the latter, with the Camp Director also being elected by the membership. This proposal is approved by the membership at the Annual Meeting.

© FNCA 2002




Centennial Moment #31

2003 The Flames 75th Anniversary celebration is very well attended with old Flames attending from more than a dozen states.

© Emily Woofenden 2007



Centennial Moment #32
2008 At the request of Deane Currie, we have our first Tie Dye Day where everyone who has one wears tie dyed clothing and accessories.
© Jesse White 2013



Centennial Moment #33

2009 The 18-22 year old campers enthusiastically accept a proposal to be classified as "Senior Flames" with all the privileges of adults but participating in the Flames program and paying Flames' rates, too.

© Beki Greenwood 2009



Centennial Moment #34

2010 At the Annual Meeting, the membership votes to name the lecture hall, built in 1975, for one of the FNCA’s unsung original founders: Rev. John Whitehead. It is now officially called the Rev. John Whitehead Lecture Hall. For short, it is referred to as Whitehead Lecture Hall or simply Whitehead Hall.

© Trevor 2011



Centennial Moments #35

2011 The Afternoon Book Club begins: a spiritual, adult discussion group on a specific religious book chosen by our Religious Program Coordinator. It is usually facilitated by someone on the lecture staff, sometimes even by the author of the book!

© Susannah Currie 2018



Centennial Moment #36

2012 The annual Lalla Searle Memorial Scrabble Tournament begins. Named after the late Cecilia “Lalla” Searle, a formidable Scrabble player, it is affectionately referred to as the LALLA Scrabble Tournament. By current house rules, not only is “LALLA” a valid word, but it scores a 50 point bonus! That first year, the final contestants were Miriam Lexie, Jane Perry, Trevor, and the 1st annual LALLA Scrabble Tournament winner: Rev. Susannah Currie, whose opening and closing plays both were bingos (using all 7 tiles in 1 turn) scoring 50 point bonuses! In Trevor's final turn, he played the first "LALLA" in LALLA Scrabble Tournament history!

© Jon Cousins 2013



Centennial Moment #37

2014 The first annual Rev. Dr. George F. Dole Celebration Three Mile Road Race (a.k.a. The Dole 3 Miler) is held on the Mountain Division Trail which begins at the Maine Visitor Center directly across the street from the Assembly. The Rev. Dr. George F. Dole competes in the same pair of running shorts he wore in the 1954 race in which Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute mile.

© Jon Cousins 2014



Centennial Moment #38

2015 The Summer Session Committee, with full approval by the Board, decides to move into the 21st century and discontinues the yearly print bulletin since everything in it on the FNCA website, including registration.

© FNCA 2014



Centennial Moment #39

2015 The Rev. Everett K. Bray Visiting Lecturer program is initiated. Our first EKB Lecturer: Curtis Childs, host of the “Off the Left Eye” YouTube series.

© Curtis Childs 2019



Centennial Moment #40

2016 For the first time, on the final Saturday of camp, our lectures are live streamed on the FNCA Facebook page, Rev. George McCurdy on “The Pearl of Great Price” and Rev. Susannah Currie on “Jesus’ Healthy Relationships”. There were more than 400 live "views" between the two of them. We have truly expanded our outreach!

© FNCA 2016



Centennial Moment #41

2019 As part of a major upgrade of Rte 302, the State of Maine takes a narrow strip of land along the edge of the road the full length of our property by eminent domain, and cuts down the trees on it, including nearly all the ones between the back field and Rte 302.

© FNCA 2019



Centennial Moment #42

2020 In May, due to the world pandemic, the Board votes to cancel the physical camp session and hold a virtual camp session instead. An ad hoc Virtual Summer Session Committee is appointed that plans and implements an intensive, in-depth program with as much of our traditional activities as is virtually possible as well as several new ideas. Later, vFNCA 2020 is held up as a role model of a wildly successful online program by several other groups in the church.

© Alia Woofenden 2020



Centennial Moment #42

2021 The old Boys Dorm is repurposed as the new art cabin and dubbed The Treehouse. The position of Art Director is added to the staff. A full schedule of daily afternoon art activities is very popular with all ages from Sparks to Embers.

© Trevor 2021


[FNCA History]

84 Main St, Fryeburg, ME 04037 (map)