John R. Muether

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The Mount Desert Larger Parish (1925-1984) was the brainchild of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who sought to apply modern industrial models to meet the religious needs of towns on the island where he established his summer home. Beyond his personal philanthropy, Rockefeller’s active involvement in the Parish extended to fund-raising and staff recruitment. Rockefeller was persuaded that Mount Desert was the perfect setting for this experiment in interdenominational cooperation, and he imagined its success would generate similar partnerships that would reshape American Protestantism. The challenges the Parish experienced through its six decades reveal the tensions between the island’s “summer people” and its year-long residents as well as rural Maine’s resistance to Rockefeller’s business models. John R. Muether earned his B.A. from Gordon College in Wenham,Mass., and masters degrees from Westminster Theological Seminary and Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Since 1989 he has served as Library Director and Associate Professor of Church History at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida, when he is not vacationing in coastal Maine. His most recent book is SEEKING A BETTER COUNTRY: 300 YEARS OF AMERICAN PRESBYTERIANISM (co-authored with D. G. Hart). Together with his wife Kathryn he has co-edited LITERARY MOUNT DESERT: AN ANTHOLOGY (forthcoming in 2008 from Islandport Press).