Friday, December 8, 2017

Eleventh Annual MSSPA Christmas Open House grows in attendance to almost 2500 guests by Jennifer Davis

It was a beautiful day on Saturday, December 1 to welcome in the 11th Annual Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals (MSSPA) Christmas Open House. The free event occurred from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“Each year there is always a challenge as so much of this event is outside that the weather can dictate
the attendance,” stated Meris Bickford, CEO of MSSPA. The weather was certainly cooperating this year and that could be seen by the line of cars, filling up the parking lots for the event.

The Christmas Open House has certainly grown and changed over the last 11 years. “During the first show in 2006,” states Bickford. “We had a cracker and cheese platter to offer visitors. This year there are donuts, coffee, and hot chocolate all donated by a local business.” 

In addition to snacks, there were also several family friendly events taking place around the property. Activities included ornament decorating, temporary tattoo station, horse-drawn wagon rides and a raffle featuring many local talents.

“The Christmas Open House is a great opportunity to have people come in and see what’s going on,” states Bickford. 

The beautiful property provides the perfect space for the majestic horses that once had been mistreated. The horses that reside at MSSPA have been seized by Maine law enforcement because they were either abused or neglected.  

MSSPA takes these animals in and nurses them back to health. Some of the horses call MSSPA their
permanent home while for others it is their temporary home before they are adopted. Currently, there are 49 horses that call MSSPA home.

Bickford, who has worked for MSSPA since 2005 said, “I celebrate the work of this animal shelter that I am so very proud to be a part of.” 

If you would like to become a part of MSSPA by making a financial contribution or becoming a volunteer, you may contact them at or by calling 207-892-3040.

First annual Festival of Trees a holiday success by Lorraine Glowczak

The Fellowship Hall at Windham Hill United Church of Christ (UCC), 140 Windham Center Road in Windham, was a winter wonderland of 18 brightly decorated Christmas trees this past weekend.

As part of their first annual Festival of Trees fundraising event, the Windham Hill UCC’s Fellowship Hall was filled with good cheer and generosity from Friday, December 1 to Sunday, December 3, as each tree presented gifts wrapped in decorations of red and green. The trees, decorations and gifts were donated by local business, organizations and individuals.“This was an amazing event to organize and be a part of,” stated Bob Turner, co-chair of the Festival of Trees. “I loved watching the kids come through the Fellowship Hall doors and see all the decorated trees with the gifts underneath. It put a big smile on their face.”

Some of those children, and their lucky families, were the winners in this event. Raffle tickets were available for 50 cents each or 10 for $5 for a chance to win one of the 18 trees. The drawing for the tickets began on Sunday at 4 p.m. and the winners received the tree itself, with its lights and ornaments, all of the gifts on the tree, and all of the gifts under the tree.

Congratulations to the following winners:

Marrae Kimball - tree donated by the Dental Office of Dr. Leslie Elston
Jennifer Drouin - tree donated by Windham Hill UCC International Tree
Lori Bailey - tree donated by Windham Hill UCC Tree
Selina Paine - tree donated by Spruce Salon
Angela Wheaton - tree donated by Aubuchon Hardware
Roger Grillo - tree donated by Windham Jewelers Twombly - tree donated by Hall Implement
Danica Potvin - tree donated by Shaw Brothers Construction
Donna Emerson - tree donated by Door Service Inc.
Michael Johnson - tree donated by Patman’s Redemption Agency & Liquor Store
Jill Mathiew - tree donated by Seavey’s Furniture & Appliance
Kelly Osborne - tree donated by C R Tandberg
Jen Moulton - tree donated by Windham Hill UCC Women’s Fellowship
Sarah McRea - tree donated by Katie Hazel & Susan Moore
Ellie McCallum - tree donated by Dolby, Blais & Segee Funeral Home
Tony Candelmo - tree donated by Bob & Bonnie Turner
Lindsay Hall - tree donated by Blue Seal Feeds
Tyler Defossa who received a gift certificate tree from the following donors:
Cabinetry Concepts; Chutes Family Restaurant; Edward Jones Financial Advisor, Pete Neelon; Mills & Company; MGM Builders/TLC Reality; NAPA Auto Parts; Rustlers Restaurant; Sullivan Tire & Auto Service

Co-chairs Bonnie and Bill Turner
Monies raised from this fundraising event will be contributed to local, national and international
missions including: Heifer International, the Root Cellar, Windham Food Pantry, the Backpack Program of the Windham Schools, H.O.M.E. Co-op in Orland, Maine, Church World Service, SERRV, and many other organizations. Funds will also benefit continued maintenance and programming for this church which hosts Food and Fellowship’s Monday Meals, Boy Scout Troop 51, Windham Lion’s Club. The Windham Hill UCC is also hosting programs of the Windham Public Library during its renovations.

Windham Hill United Church of Christ is an open and affirming church, welcoming all who attend. The church was founded in 1743 and has been central to the life of Windham throughout Windham’s history as a town. 

If you missed this year’s Festival of Trees, do not despair. “Although the exact date has yet been determined, we are already preparing for next year’s event,” stated Turner.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Community invited to join the 22nd Annual “Christmas In The Barn” event by Faith Lutheran Church by Lorraine Glowczak

Mistletoe, Santa and his reindeer, decorations of red on a green Christmas tree while chestnuts are roasting on an open fire – all bring to mind the visions of popular Christmas holiday celebrations. However, for many who follow the Christian tradition, Christmas also includes a sacred perspective that encompasses the celebration and birth of Jesus Christ.

Faith Lutheran Church of North Windham will host their 22nd annual, free community event, Christmas In The Barn celebration on Sunday, December 10 at 1 p.m. at the Hartwell Farm at 443 Sebago Lake Road in Gorham.

“It is a quiet celebration of our Christian belief in the birth of Jesus in a setting of what, under the similar circumstances, he may have been born in a barn like this one,” stated Jo Hartwell, owner of Hartwell Farm and parishioner of Faith Lutheran. technically, no animals appear at Christ’s birth in the stories of the gospels of Matthew and Luke in the Bible, but more modern traditions show cows and donkeys at the stable. The Christmas In The Barn event will not only include cows and donkeys, but Hartwell stated one can also expect to see chickens, goats and horses to make an appearance with Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and the angels.

The event, which will be performed "tableau style", is a Christmas pageant with scripture readings, reflections and children in costumes that will include Christmas carols, led by Faith Lutheran Music
Director, Dave Hansen.

It is also a gift to the community from Faith Lutheran Church. No monetary donation is expected, just an interest in participating in a live community event of a Christian Christmas tradition as it shares Christ’s birth in a stable.

“Christmas In The Barn is Faith Lutheran Church's gift to the Windham community,” stated Jane Field, Pastor of Faith Lutheran. “It's a tradition that's been carried on at the Hartwell farm for more than 20 years. It offers folks the chance to come together in a setting that recalls the stable in Bethlehem where Jesus was born; it's a real working barn, with hay bales, a donkey, a horse, goats, chickens, and cows. There, in that very simple and humble place, we tell the story of the first Christmas as children in costumes portray Mary, Joseph, shepherds and angels. Adults from the Faith Lutheran congregation will serve as narrators, reading scripture passages from the prophet Isaiah and the gospels of Luke and Matthew.” 

Children from Trinity Lutheran Church in Westbrook will play the roles of Mary, Joseph, the
shepherds and the angels. Three men from Faith Lutheran will play the Wise Men while three adults from Faith Lutheran will act as the narrators. “Pastor Karen Indorf [of Trinity Lutheran in Westbrook] and I will offer brief reflections and explanations after each scripture reading,” explained Pastor Field. upon past attendance, over 125 people from Windham, Raymond and the surrounding communities enjoy listening to the story of that famous birth in Bethlehem that occurred approximately 2000 years ago. Individuals enjoy the pageant while sitting on hay bales, singing to popular religious carols and sipping hot chocolate to keep warm. “Dress warm,” warns Hartwell. “There is no heat in the barn."

Whether you are a Christian or not, the mission is to bring the Windham and Raymond communities together during the holiday season. “People are invited to come and enjoy the ambience of the barn, the Christmas story and to join in with the Christmas carols,” stated Melinda Zimmer-Rankin, parishioner of Faith Lutheran. “Everyone can enjoy the simple things of drinking hot chocolate and embracing the season – whatever the holiday season means to them.”

For more information regarding the Christmas In The Barn event, contact Hartwell by phone at 671-2189 or by email at