Considering we were, fairly recently, counted among the most unchurched in America, Lincolnville seems to have come a long way. Did that term catch you off guard? It did me when I first heard it several years ago. Unchurched.
According to a study conducted by J. Russell Hale in the 1970s, Waldo County was then one of six counties in the whole country considered to be among the most unchurched. (The others were in Florida, Alabama, West Virginia, California, and Oregon.)
Through interviews with people living in those places, Hale identified a dozen categories to describe the unchurched. If you’re interested, read a discussion of his findings in a 1991 book, Speaking of God, Evangelism as Initial by Ben Campbell Johnson.
An aside here. As you may know, Google is in the midst of a massive undertaking: It has, as of 2013, scanned, and made available through Google’s search capacity, some 30 million books with a goal of scanning all 130 million unique books in existence by the end of the decade. So if you’re curious about almost anything imaginable, such as my wondering where I heard about “unchurched Waldo County,” just Google it. That’s how I found Hale’s study and Ben Johnson’s book.
Yet here we are today with two churches, five busy ministers, and three active congregations in our little town of 2,164 souls. Hardly unchurched. Over the next couple of months I plan to talk with each of these pastors and write about their calling, their churches, missions, and congregations. I’m starting with Dave Pouchot, Pastor of Crossroads Community Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist Church family without a building, just a 7 acre parcel of land and sign “Future home of …. “
The land is on Belfast Road, just north of the Slab City/Greenacre Roads intersection. Dave and his wife Marian live barely a mile away in the house at Dead Man’s Curve that overlooks the whole gorgeous line of Camden hills. Their home, a spacious split level, serves as the center of their ministry here in Lincolnville, a place to hold weekly prayer meetings, community events such as their recent Easter Egg hunt and lunch, Vacation Bible School and much more.
Sunday worship is held in Walsh Common at Lincolnville Central School, space which Crossroads has rented for the past several years. Other events, their popular August Block Party and Free Barbecue for instance, are held at the Bicentennial Bandstand at Breezemere Park.
Dave is familiar to those who post on and read the Lincolnville Bulletin Board. He’s the guy who offers coffee and donuts for any local veteran on Veterans’ Day, who recently collected firewood, a few sticks at a time, for a fellow veteran who’d run out. The community is often invited to free events at his home, families with kids, anyone. But unless you attend his church, you might not know much about him.
Dave Pouchot was a 30-year-old salesman, a former Marine, married with four children, living in St. Louis, and with no inclination to become a clergyman. But then it came, the call.
“I remember the day and the hour that God was calling me to the ministry,” he says.
So he went to see his own pastor to ask what he should do.
“If God is calling you,” the man said, “then you ought to go to seminary. You’ll need to study the Bible, theology, learn Greek and Hebrew, and pastoral duties.”
He recommended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. Recalling his pastor’s advice, that language requirement seems to be the thing that threw Dave at the time.
“I barely got through college French,” he says.
MONDAY, April 27
Nomination papers due back in Town Office by 5 p.m.
Selectmen meet, 6 p.m., Town Office
TUESDAY, April 28
Budget Committee Public Hearing, 6 p.m., Town Office
Lakes and Ponds Committee meets, 7 p.m., Town Office
WEDNESDAY, April 29
FEMA Floodplain Program, 2-4 and 6-8 p.m., Hutchinson Center, Belfast
Planning Board meets, 7 p.m., Town Office
THURSDAY, April 30
Free Soup Café, noon-1 p.m., Community Building, 18 Searsmont Road
FRIDAY, May 1
Children’s Story Time, 10 a.m., Lincolnville Library
AA meetings, Tuesdays & Fridays at 12:15 p.m., Wednesdays & Sundays at 6 p.m.,United Christian Church
Lincolnville Community Library, open Tuesdays, 4-7, Wednesdays, 2-7, Fridays and Saturdays, 9 a.m.-noon. For information call 763-4343.
Soup Café, every Thursday, noon—1p.m., Community Building, Sponsored by United Christian Church. Free, though donations to the Good Neighbor Fund are appreciated
Schoolhouse Museum open by appointment only until June 2015: call Connie Parker, 789-5984
May 16, Indoor Flea Market, 8 a.m. to noon, Community Building
June 18, LCS Eighth Grade Graduation
June 20, Last day of school
Dave and Marian, who have known each other since sixth grade, grew up in Virginia; their parents were all still living there. A move from St. Louis to Fort Worth was taking them in exactly the wrong direction from their Virginia roots. But move they did. Marian cried all the way to Oklahoma, she says.
Three years later, with child number five born, and a master’s of divinity in hand, the family embarked on Dave’s new career. Tellingly, the couple both use the pronoun “we” and “our” to speak of the ministry that would define their lives. Marian’s role has been Dave’s "helpmeet", assisting in every area of their ministry. Her mission over the years has included leading Ladies Bible studies, counseling women, Missions team leader, along with community visitation and children's ministry.
Before long they were back in Virginia, in Richmond with an inner city church that challenged them both. Other, more rural churches followed.
The one constancy was that their churches were often struggling, even failing. Dave sees himself as a church strengthener, generally leaving a church much healthier than he found it.
“The main point of ministry in any church,” he explains, “is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and love the people, in the church and outside the church.”
A spiritual encounter in 1996 while driving down from the Billy Graham School of Evangelism in Halifax, Nova Scotia, took him by Little River Baptist Church in Belfast. With only 10 members at that time, this certainly was a church that could use some strengthening. Marian says that when Dave took her to see it she heard God talking to her, the first time it ever happened, telling her they belonged there. They moved to Belfast one year later.
While at Little River, Dave recounts, the Lord slowly grew the congregation to more than 100 members. He worked as a part-time postal employee at the Lincolnville Center P.O. and got to know people from town. Some were his Little River parishioners and would ask “Why do we have to drive to Belfast to go to church? Why not a church here?”
A spell down in Virginia at this time, helping their family through the devastation of a hurricane, ended in Dave hearing the call again, to return to Maine. Dave and Marian were the first Ministry Managers of the Crie Haven Ministry Home in Rockland before becoming the Interim Pastor of The First Baptist Church of East Machias.
Then, eight years ago the couple settled in Lincolnville, renting the house with the view of the hills, perfect for all the activities they knew they could host there, and Crossroads Community Baptist Church was born. With a congregation of 30/50 (that’s 30 that swells to 50 in the summer, a common way churches count their attendance around here) Crossroads has purchased those seven acres up the road and erected their sign. Their building plan passed muster with the town Planning Board, which essentially told them, "get the money, and it’s a go.”
But these things move slowly and not always in a straight line. After two banks refused the size loan that would have been needed to start construction, Dave says they realized they had a Cadillac dream and a Ford budget. So back to the drawing board; now they’re looking at starting smaller with a sanctuary to hold 75 with a potential of adding on later. Like congregations everywhere, the people who are the church supply the money to run the place.
They do more than that. Jodi Hanson, the town’s finance director, handles requests for town aid from families and individuals in need. Often, she’ll make a call to Dave, or to one of the other pastors in town, asking if their church can help. Tankfuls of oil, gas for cars, bags of groceries, rides to appointments, a collection of household goods, baby clothes — all of these and more are freely given by Lincolnville’s churches to those in need in this supposedly “unchurched” place.
Everyone’s patience is being tried this month. First, it was the snow that threatened to hang around forever. As the temperature gradually crept above freezing, and then stayed there overnight, the stuff started to melt, imperceptibly at first, then faster and faster. As I write this, April 26, we have only two small patches of dirty snow left. The bulbs are poking up everywhere, and some consistently sunny spots have actual daffodils blooming. Not at Sleepy Hollow, though I do have crocuses, snowdrops, scillas and a patch of tiny, deep maroon irises.
“Consistently sunny spots” is an oxymoron this spring, as consistent sun is what we’re lacking. Sure, we expect April to be volatile, cloudy one minute, rainy the next, then brilliantly sunny, but always with a promising softness. Not this year. In keeping with the winter that seemed to never quit, this spring, it’s downright cold. We keep a fire going all day, although only one, and a small one at that. The kitchen cookstove is done for the season, we hope, but we still enjoy a cheerful blaze in the living room stove.
Everywhere you go, people are complaining. At the Hannaford in Belfast an hour ago, two fishermen were sharing stories: “too cold” said one; oh, not for him, he was quick to say, but somehow the weather was screwing up the elver run. The other gloomily agreed. The water’s been too high and too cold in Frohock to think of fishing there, Wally says, even though the brook season opened April 1.
He’ll get us some trout as soon as the dandelions are ready. My friend Cecil taunted me with the greens he’d be digging next week. Not that I don’t believe him, but I’d like to see where there are dandelions worth digging yet. Not a one at this cold and blighted spot, I can tell you.
Nobody’s got their peas in, or not that they’re bragging about. Too cold for peas? Well, too cold for this gardener. Who wants to put their hands in that wet dirt? But we’re eating parsnips, easy to pull up once the ground unfroze. We’ve got sorrel up, enough to pick, though lemony sorrel’s an acquired taste.
And, like Rob McCall’s Awanadjo Almanac on WERU every Sunday morning, that’s this April’s story from Sleepy Hollow. Get out and see what’s going on in your patch of the woods.
Floodplain insurance changes
From the Town Office: “New FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) will go effective in July 2015 for Waldo County. Flooding is the number one natural disaster in the United States so it is vital for property owners to understand their risk and how it may be changing with the release of new FIRMs. If you think you may be in a flood zone or are unclear how you may be affected, an open house for the public will be held Wednesday, April 29, between the hours of 2-4 pm and 6-8 pm. No formal presentations will be made and no appointment is necessary.
“Representatives from FEMA, the State, and their mapping partners, will be available to answer flood risk and insurance questions, and will help property owners identify and understand how their risk may be changing. Residents are encouraged to bring their elevation certificates and/or flood insurance policies to the event in order to get the best information about how their flood insurance rates may change as a result of the new mapping and legislative insurance reforms.“
Indoor Flea Market
Motivated by last year's success, the United Christian Church (UCC) will sponsor the Lincolnville Center Indoor Flea Market for the third season. The Flea Market will be held on the third Saturday of each month from May through October in the Community Building, 18 Searsmont Road.The first market will be held May 16.
Once again, the Market will have varied vendors with antiques, household items, crafts, and value-added farm products. Although many vendors will be returning for their third season, there are still some tables available. Contact Mary Schulien at 785-3521 or email. Income from table rentals will benefit the Community Building Fund.
Curious about cloth diapers?
Now there’s an intriguing question, and one that’s likely to occur to only a tiny majority of us. But for those few, those mothers of diapered babies, it can be profound. Clean Bee Laundry is hosting a free workshop on Tuesday May 5 at 10 AM. The Diapering 101 workshop will cover various types of cloth diapers, laundering tips, types of accessories etc. The class will be held at Clean Bee Laundry in Reny’s Plaza and light refreshments will be served. Anyone who is interested in learning more about cloth diapers is invited to attend. Register by calling 236-2530 or email.
What do the plastic-covered signs mean?
Road work, most likely, but when these signs are erected around town it does make folks nervous.Thank you to Jeanne Hollingsworth for her post sending out a link to MDOT, Department of Transportation, and their work schedule for this summer. It takes a minute to fiddle with the map, but you can see what’s planned for Lincolnville’s state roads this summer. Basically, light paving and maintenance on 52 from Route 1 to Belfast, light paving o 235 from the Pump to Route 105 and maintenance to the Beach Road.
First ghostly encounter
In last week’s article I mentioned the big orange piano we once had and got this message from Johnathan Butterman in New Mexico, whose family were once neighbors at the Beach: “I will remember that piano you had in your house forever. I'll never forget babysitting for you guys, and your first child was a baby sleeping upstairs, and all of a sudden the piano started to play, not just notes from a cat walking across the keys either! One of my first encounters with a ghost I assumed!” Johnathan went on to say that the bike ride home through Sleepy Hollow was even scarier….