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The United Society of Believers in Christs Second Appearance: Unraveling the Shaker Myth

Sabbathday Lake Village

The Cornerstones of Shakerism
Other Important Shaker Beliefs
The Rise of the Shakers
The Height of the Shakers
Decline of the Shakers
The Present and Future
Sabbathday Lake Village
Daily Schedule at Sabbathday Lake
Map of Sabbathday Lake Village
Other Villages
Fun Shaker Facts

The only remaining active Shaker community

The Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village was founded in the year 1783 on a piece of land known as the Thompson’s Pond Plantation. In less than a year the village had grown to have close to two hundred members. The first oral covenant was made by community members on April 19, 1794 marking the formal organization of the Sabbathday Lake community. Soon afterwards work began on the meeting house. From the very beginning, the community has been known as the smallest and poorest of the communities located in the east. This is partly due to its geographical isolation from the other communities.


Today the village at Sabbathday Lake is the only remaining active Shaker community in the world. The village itself consists of eighteen different buildings, many of which are still used on a daily basis. The main village sits on approximately 1,800 acres of land. The Shakers use this land for a tree farm, an apple orchard, along with various vegetable gardens. The community still operates a commercial herb garden. A variety of livestock is also kept by the Shakers including a flock of sheep and several Scottish Highland Cattle.


In addition to the farming aspects of the village, the library, which was first opened to the public in 1926, maintains a collection made up of a wide variety of primary and secondary sources. The collections are kept in a climate controlled vault and are accessible through a card catalogue system. The library is open year round by appointment on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday between the hours of 8:30-12 and 1-4:30.


The village also operates a museum which is open to the public from Memorial Day to Columbus Day. Of the eighteen buildings in the village, six are opened to the public and contain twenty-seven exhibit rooms. These buildings are accessible only through a guided tour. After the tour, guests are invited to check out the Shaker gift store where they are able to purchase various Shaker crafts, herbs, and literature. Various workshops and exhibits are held at the village through out the year.


Believers at the Sabbathday Lake community are not only involved in the goings on at the Shaker village but they also play a role in the greater Gray-New Gloucester community. For many years the village has worked with the MSAD 15 Gray-New Gloucester school district to offer a one of a kind Shaker Studies class for seniors at the local high school. This class also worked in conjunction with the Maine Studies program taught to third graders in the district. Each spring the high school students were responsible for teaching the third graders about the Shakers and conducting tours around the village for the younger kids. Currently this program is being restructured within the school system.


The community currently consists of four members but is open to accepting new members. Prospective Shakers can not be married, have dependents, or debts. They must also go through a year long trial period before the community considers the request to join.