The Wilson Center is a multifaith, ecumenical, and progressive nonprofit organization that has served the University of Maine community for over 100 years. Originally named the Maine Christian Association, this organization was a progressive ministry for Protestant students at the University of Maine, though from its early days often included Catholic, Jewish, and atheist/humanist students as well.
The MCA has welcomed and celebrated the LGBTQ+ community since the early 1970’s and has advocated for the ordination of LGBTQ clergy since the 1980’s.
In 1983, the MCA Board of Directors voted to name our building The Wilson Center after Dorothy Clarke Wilson and her husband The Rev. Elwin Wilson, both of whom helped shape the mission of the organization into one that incorporates ministries of peace and justice.
In 2015, our Board of Directors adopted a multifaith/spiritual mission to better serve the needs and identities of students at the University of Maine. Our mission statement is to create progressive, ecumenical, and multifaith dialogue for the University of Maine community and through worship, study, and service, to work for social justice, honor diversity, and offer opportunities for spiritual growth. This new mission both honors the rich history of Christian ministry through the MCA while also acknowledging that the current diversity of campus experiences covers a wide spectrum of faith traditions and beliefs. In this way we continue to honor the openness of Dorothy and Rev. Elwin Wilson’s work which, in their own words, was “to search for truth and God wherever the quest might lead” and to open “more windows for people’s minds and spirits.”
Today The Wilson Center for Spiritual Exploration and Multifaith Dialogue is above all a place where everyone is welcomed and appreciated and where people’s opinions each hold value. Our Board of Directors represent a wide variety of faith, spiritual, and cultural traditions, including Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Unitarian Universalist, Hindu, Native American, and Spiritual but not Religious identities. Our students and community members also reflect this diversity as well. If you value diversity, dialogue, and meaning-making, come and join us!
For a more in-depth look at our history, you can read “Live for a Hundred Years: A History of the Maine Christian Association” written by Dorothy Clarke Wilson in 1996. The document has been uploaded here. The final page of the document is an addition written in 2018 to reflect our expanded multi-faith mission.