Friday, February 22, 2019

Kerry Kowalcyzk eases post-graduation stress

Kerry Kowalcyzk
By Matt Pascarella

It’s not easy navigating the post high school process. Whether you plan to go to college, enter the workforce, or go in another direction, there can be a lot to do and be hard to figure out. That’s where Kerry Kowalcyzk comes in. She’s a college and career specialist at Windham High School.

Kowalcyzk is a member of JMG/MELMAC, a collaborative foundation with a mission to offer a continuation of support for students after high school. The goal is to help students identify aspirations for life and then connect those aspirations to a post-secondary plan.’ Kowalcyzk works with freshman through seniors as well as the graduates. “I do anything post-graduation planning or post-graduation helping,” she explained. “I’m not the college lady, I’m the ‘what are you going to do after graduation’ lady.”

A biology major and graduate from the University of Maine at Farmington, Kowalcyzk worked as an admissions counselor for eight years. She decided instead of trying to get students into one school, she wanted to spread her wings and do a little bit more with everyone. Kowalcyzk wanted to help students looking at a career path, not just the college focus. She doesn’t like the question ‘what is your major?’  she feels ‘what career path do you want to go?’ is a more accurate, appropriate question.“I want the students to all have a plan. I want them to be excited for graduation, not because they’re leaving high school, but for whatever their next step is. I get excited when a student comes in junior year and says, ‘I don’t know what I want to do’ and then comes to me right before graduation and says ‘this is what my plan is,’” stated Kowalcyzk.

While 70% of students that Kowalcyzk works with go on to some form of higher education, a large portion investigate taking a year off, participating in the workforce or staying in their current job. One of her goals is to make connections that might lead to something they’re interested in.

JMG/MELMAC grant allows Kowalcyzk to arrange activities like field trips to colleges or businesses, running the college fair and handling some of the colleges who come in and speak to students. Her budget through MELMAC Education Foundation is to help with post-secondary planning. Kowalcyzk also provides outreach services to all students from the last two graduating classes by calling them three times a year to see how they’re doing. “Windham wants to make sure that when students walk out, they have a direction,” she said.

A Gorham resident, Kowalcyzk loves science. She’s a big fan of the outdoors and describes her favorite activity as being outside, drinking coffee and reading a book. She has lived in many places from Iceland to Florida as her dad was in the Navy. Kowalcyzk has experience doing many things; she was a restaurant manager, a white-water rafting guide and a soccer coach. She describes herself as a helper and wants a student’s day to be better because they met with her.

“I want students to come in here and know that when they leave, they’re not going to be stressed. I usually give them long to-do lists, but we have a plan. I think most students who walk out of here go ‘this is my next step’ and that’s always my goal.”

Young artist from Raymond wins best of show in world-wide art competition

"Red Portrait" by Holden Willard
By Lorraine Glowczak

It’s not every day an artist, who is still in art school perfecting his talent and skill, receives an email like this: “Hello Holden, Congratulations! Your piece, ‘Red Portrait’, has been chosen for best of show! We received entries from all over the world, the quality of work was incredible, including your own.” 

That is exactly the news Holden Willard, a 2017 Windham High School graduate and son of Don and Megan Willard of Raymond, received on Wednesday, February 13 from the Cultural Center of Cape Cod after he submitted a self -portrait to the center’s “The WORKS” competition. This competition was open to all artists from all over the world and Willard, who attends Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, MA decided to submit two pieces of his artwork to see what might come of it. Not only did he receive best of show for his self-portrait, but he also won $500 which he received at the gallery’s reception on Friday evening, February 15.

“One of my professors from school shared with my classmates and me the various galleries that were looking for new artists to display their works,” Willard said. It’s from that information he received that Willard submitted his two pieces of art work, including “Red Portrait”, to the Cultural Center of Cape Code. After all, that’s what ‘real’ artists do and Willard considers art, specifically the genre of painting, the career path of his choice. has been an artist/drawer/painter from a very young age. But discouraged by others who told him to forget about pursuing such a venture, Willard stop what he loved doing most. “I was told that being a painter isn’t possible as a career option and I was told to forget about it,” Willard began. “So, I did forget about it. Although I continued drawing, it wasn’t until I was a senior in high school when
I began to receive more positive feedback that being an artist was definitely a possibility and I started painting seriously.”

In an attempt to be a grounded artist who holds a ‘real job’, Holden went to the University of Maine-Orono and enrolled in Art Education. But he soon discovered that art teachers have very little studio time to work on their own art. “When I found out that I would have very little time in the studio, I realized that being an art teacher was not what I wanted,” stated Willard. “I knew I want to be a studio artist because I am the happiest when I am in the studio, alone and painting.”

Holden Willard the evening of the center's art reception
Once Willard made that decision, he immediately began the college transfer process by building a
body of work to present to the art schools to which he wanted to apply. He did so well that he was accepted at every art school to which he had submitted an application. Why did he choose Montserrat College of Art?

“Cost,” he said. “The lower tuition fees it offered was the major factor in choosing this college. Not only that, but it is a small school and the one on one I receive plus the connection with other student artists is perfect for me and fits my personality.”

So, what was it like to have attention and be the focus at an art gallery reception that so many artists dream about and hope for? “Weird,” began Willard, who gains inspiration from such artists as Henri Matisse, Lucien Freud (grandson of Sigmund Freud), and Egon Schiele. “It was so awkward to receive so much attention since I tend to be shy and introverted. But the praise I received makes me want to work harder and to learn more in order to become better in my work as an artist. My professors tell us we must be always learning and stress the importance of working consistently and, through that, is how we learn and become more critical. That’s what I plan to do with this experience.”

If you are interested in looking at more art work from our very own Holden Willard, take a look at his Instagram page at holdenwillard.

Friday, February 15, 2019

A small church with a big heart is big on bringing community together

Young and old, alike, enjoyed the free community meal
By Lorraine Glowczak

Approximately 50 people, young and old alike, enjoyed a free meal consisting of roasted turkey and gravy, mashed potatoes, vegetables, a salad, beverages and dessert. The meal was hosted and made by members of the Raymond Village Community Church – a United Church of Christ congregation (RVCC), on Wednesday, February 6 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Although the initial impetus of offering the free meal was the result of concern surrounding furloughed employees who had gone 34 days without pay, the desire to extend the invitation to include others developed with a greater purpose in mind. “We wanted to reach out to the broader community and include them too, no matter the age or circumstance,” explained Rev. Nancy Foran of RVCC. “The focus shifted, and the free meal became a way to enhance and build a sense of community spirit. The Raymond area is very large and spread out in terms of geography, with no real city center. As a result, it is difficult to get to know your next-door neighbor, let alone others in the area.”

If a room full of people who are engaged in constant chatter is any indication that people were getting to know one another, then the RVCC’s mission may have been right on target. “What surprised me the most was that people stayed and had conversations with each other after they ate, roaming from table to table,” stated Rev. Foran. “It was not an ‘eat and run’ type of evening. People were actually taking time to connect with one another.”

Raymond Town Manager, Don Willard, and his wife Megan were among several other Raymond residents at the gathering. Willard has always been a strong proponent of the concept of local community building and his support of last Wednesday’s meal was evident in a statement about the mix of community residents who were in attendance. “This is a perfect example of the power of
personal connectiveness and the unique opportunities possible in a small town to both promote and build community,” he said. “Normally separate groups getting together like this is a great way to move the town forward, bringing young and older citizens together – enjoying and getting to know one another. Having the church, the library, Raymond Arts Alliance and the age-friendly community all collaborate together, creating activities for everyone - is very impressive and contributes to our vitality and success as a community.” 

Linda Eldridge, who has been a Raymond resident since 1979, stated she saw people in the room she had never seen before. “It’s good to see people come out and enjoy a meal together,” she said while eating with her daughter and two grandchildren. “There are people here I do not know. This is definitely something that the church should consider doing again.”

https://www.egcu.orgRev. Foran stated that it is in the plans to offer a free community meal on a regular basis, but they are still ironing out the details. She and the church are open to collaborating with the other organizations mentioned by Willard. “In the past, each organization was doing their own thing, but we all had the same vision in mind – creating community and offering a space for people to gather,” she stated.
Recognizing that they all had the same mission, the groups have banned together in the past year, offering activities such as music events, poetry nights, writing workshops and exercise programs such as Qigong.

Now that the groups in the Raymond area are joining forces, Rev. Foran said that there is more strength in numbers. She wishes to continue the collaboration, which has been very successful thus far - and is building community in the truest sense, which is that of breaking through perceived barriers and differences and the coming together to enjoy and support one another.

For more information about RVCC, contact Rev. Foran be email at or by phone at 207-655-7749. Information about Raymond Village Library, Raymond Age Friendly Community and the Raymond Arts Alliance can all be found on the library’s website at

WPS third grade math students learn to solve problems in creative and useful ways

WPS third grade students with Rene Daniel of Social Services
By Lorraine Glowczak

“Hi there!” is how the message began. “My name is Caitlin Mansir. I teach third grade at Windham Primary School (WPS) and my team, which is three third grade classes, recently completed a clothing drive for the Windham Clothes Closet.”

What Mansir humbly left out is that the goal for this third-grade class was to not only collect 550 pieces of clothing and give it to the Windham Clothes Closet, but to do so as part of their hands-on and experiential math project.

Arithmetic and service to the community can go hand in hand and the third-grade team of teachers that included Jessica Melcher and Melissa Fries, prove that their innovative teaching techniques guide students in solving problems, not only with the obstacles faced in math, but obstacles that many face in life.

https://www.msspa.orgIn terms of math, the lesson was division. “We divided clothing by separating those items into bags,” explained third grade student, Elias Whitney. “We learned that it took nine Hannaford shopping bags for 72 items of clothing.” That number, of course, was different if you put clothing in big trash bags,
which the third-grade students also calculated.

Besides division, students discovered that there are hardships placed on others and you can be the one to help solve that problem, too.  “I found out that it’s very important to survival and there is always a need for help,” student Madison Buzulchuck stated as one thing she learned from the project. “It’s nice of people to donate clothes because you make a big difference in the community and the lives of others,” student, Anthony Napoleone-Sweet said.

In the course of this project, General Assistance Administrator of Windham’s Social Services, Rene Daniel, was invited to speak to the students. “He told us that no school has ever done anything like this before, and he was very happy that we were doing this,” third grader, Nicholas Sferes said when he asked what he learned.

Daniel verified Sferes’ statement. “It’s true. We have never had a donation come from a school as part of a project. Prior to my work in social services, I taught for 25 years, and I was very impressed with the way the third-grade teachers at Windham Primary School incorporated this learning and giving project into the curriculum.”

The students exceeded their goal and donated over 1000 items of clothing
All third-grade students helped to load the bags of clothes into all  three of the teachers’ vehicles, because “it took all three of us to get all of those clothes to the closet because we had so many,” Mansir said.

The clothes were donated by the families of the third-grade students and they exceeded their goal by donating over 1,000 pieces of clothing and other items such as shoes and jackets. The exact amount, however, cannot be determined. “We received so many bags of clothing that we stopped counting the pieces after we reached 1200 articles,” Daniel said. “We serve between 97 to 100 households a month and this donation will get us through until mid-March.”

Fries admitted she was surprised that this large donation of clothing would only last for about a month.

There are other surprising facts that that the public may not know. “What a lot of people may not be aware of is that we are one of only two pantries in Maine who do not require proof of need,” Daniel continued “Anyone who lives in Windham can use our services.”
Daniel also explained that the Food Pantry is open 32 hours a week, rather than two to four hours that
most other pantries are open, and confidentiality is of the utmost importance. “You do not have to stand in a long line with others,” Daniel said. “All an individual needs to do is make an appointment. They can then come in and get what they need in privacy and with dignity and respect.”

The food pantry is located at 377 Gray Road in Windham and is open Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., except for legal holidays. The clothes closet is open every Monday and Tuesday from 10 to noon. To make an appointment, call 207-892-1906.

The pantry and closet are always accepting donations. “Imagine if you were someone in that situation. You would want to stay warm, too,” stated student Luke Hangge.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Lakes Region girls make history with midnight celebration at Camp Hinds

Isabella Messer takes the ceremonial crossing 
By Lorraine Glowczak

At 12:01 a.m. on Friday, there were a group of girls from Windham, Raymond and Naples who were bringing down the house at Camp Hinds in Raymond. In a non-traditional ritual that made history, the girls ceremonially crossed over from Cub Scouts into Scouts BSA. The newly formed Raymond troop 851 is the first group to make this crossover.

“This is monumental as it's the first time in the history of Boy Scouts of America that girls can join the program formerly known as “Boy Scouts,” stated Alissa Messer, wife of Scoutmaster, Jeff Messer.

Scouts in Raymond’s Troop 851 will now begin their journey towards earning merit badges and the rank of Eagle Scout. And, as their websites states will be among the many former Scouts who “sit on the boards of global corporations, walk the halls of the White House and have been known to occasionally go hiking on the moon.”

Jeff Messer explained that the girls, ages 10 to 18, started out as a co-ed group before the crossover into Scouts BSA took place, but now the troops will remain separated among boys and girls. “Scouts BSA is not a co-ed group,” Jeff explained further. “There must be an all-female and an all-male troop.” also shared how the newly-formed Troop 851 named their group. “The new troop is linked to troop 800, thus the number 8. They were also once a part of Pack 51 and the girls wanted to pay homage to that, and thus the Raymond Troop 851 number was assigned.”

The Raymond Village Community Church agreed to be the troop’s sponsor and will be the location where they will hold their weekly meetings.

Briefly, the Council was organized in 1919 and was known as the Portland Council. In 1933, the councils in southern and central Maine merged to formally become the Pine Tree Council with York county joining the organization in 1937. The Scouts BSA mission is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.

And for the first time in its 100+ year history, the Boy Scouts of America is open to both young men and young women. Scouts BSA is a year-round program for boys and girls in fifth grade through high school that provides fun, adventure, learning, challenge, and responsibility to help them become the best version of themselves.
Newly formed Raymond Troop 851

A traditional ceremony of Raymond Troop 851’s crossover was held on Sunday, February 3 in Raymond, at Camp William Hinds.

To learn more about this troop or to become a member of the Pine Tree Council, go to their website at or call 797-5252.

Snowmobiling and more – winter leisure sport activities available in our own backyard

By Lorraine Glowczak

No one will deny that a snowmobiling trip or a snowshoe hike in the northern and western areas of Maine makes for an exciting weekend getaway for all who favor winter leisure sports. But family duties and the costs involved for these adventures make it is impossible to get away every weekend from the Lakes Region and greater Windham areas.

But do not despair if you need to get your winter sports fix in just a couple of hours without spending tons of money and time. There is everything you need right here in our own backyard. The Windham Drifters Snowmobile Club (WDSC), a group made up of families and businesses that enjoy the fellowship of others who share enthusiasm for the sport of snowmobiling, makes sure you have access to 36 miles of groomed trails that are safe for daytime, evening and weekend explorations. you are a snowmobiler, snow shoer, winter hiker, cross-country skier or a fat tire bike rider – you have plenty of trails to choose from and is it all is available at no cost.

But where are these trails? “We have Windham trails that connect systems in Gray, Falmouth,
Raymond, Gorham and Westbrook,” stated treasurer and groomer operator for WDSC, Barry Bernard.

For more detailed knowledge and experience of the trails, join WDSC on Saturday, February 16th for a community group snowmobiling ride that will provide an opportunity for local residents to familiarize themselves of the trails available through fields and forest – FOR FREE.

For those interested, WDSC invites you to meet and gather at the Mountain Division parking lot at Gambo Road at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, February 16 for this amazing exploration. There will be stops along the way including a buffet style lunch at Binga’s, in Windham on the outdoor deck – all with an outdoor heating fireplace and all you can eat for $15, payable the day of the event.  Up-to-date details and sign-up for the ride and lunch events are available on the club’s Facebook page.
There are also trail maps available at your convenience. “Trail maps are available for $5 at Windham
Town Hall, Richardson's Annex, Windham Powersports, Binga's Windham and Westport Motor Sports.” Bernard said. “For $6, you can order one from our website at” However, if you participate in February 16th ride, you will receive a map for free.

As of this writing, there are over 50 interested individuals who hope to participate in this riding event, including people new to the Windham area. “I've had conversations with two families that have recently moved to the area and have little knowledge of our system,” explained Bernard.

“They are both looking forward to bringing their families out the day of our February 16th event.
WDSC has been a dedicated part of the Windham area winter sport staple providing trails since 1977.

“We love what we do, and we work hard at maintaining these trails,” stated Bernard. “WDSC includes a group of dedicated individuals, but we are always looking for new members whose passion includes the great outdoors – especially winter. maintaining winter trails for the activities you enjoy and deem an important part of the Maine experience, WDSC is always seeking new members. Whether you are a snowmobiler, snow shoer, or a fat tire bike rider – you most likely want groomed and safe trails available for you, free of charge.

To become a part of the club or to help maintain these trails that are a part of “way life should be” in Maine, considering joining WDSC through their website at

Or, perhaps, more importantly, join a group of like-minded individuals for free on Saturday February 16th and have the time of your life. Right here – in your own backyard.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Raymond Village Community Church to offer free meal for furloughed employees

Even though the most recent government shutdown has ended, affected federal employees will be feeling its effects for some time to come. With an estimated 78% of full-time workers living paycheck to paycheck, having a month’s pay delayed would be a big problem for almost anyone.

As a way to support and thank furloughed federal workers for their commitment and sacrifice, and to encourage a greater sense of community in Raymond and the surrounding area, Raymond Village Community Church (UCC) at 27 Main Street in Raymond will offer a free Friendship Meal for federal employee families and also all area residents Wednesday, February 6 from 5 pm to 6:30 pm in the vestry of the Church.“By our estimate, over 2500 of the 15,000 federal employees in Maine are furloughed.  Most of these people have continued to work in spite of not being paid since December 22,” said RVCC Pastor Rev. Nancy Foran.  “Their sacrifice and sense of duty should inspire us all.  Our congregation feels that whether or not the furlough ends soon, we want to do something to help them and to show that we care.” she said. 

In addition, RVCC is working to reach out to the broader community to include them in this meal as one of many planned actions to help enhance community spirit in Raymond and the surrounding area. 

“This is an “all-ages/all circumstances” meal. Our fondest wish is that young and old, individuals, friends, and families of every income level will all feel welcome here.” said Rev. Foran.
The meal will include roast turkey and gravy, mashed potatoes, vegetables, a salad, beverages, and a delicious dessert. The dinner is absolutely free for anyone who attends, and there are no strings attached.

For further information, contact Rev. Foran at or at 207-655-7749.

The importance of proper recycling and the cost of “wishcycling”

Manchester School students discover what is recyclable (in 2016)
By Lorraine Glowczak

We are all aware that recycling is the process of collecting materials that would be otherwise thrown away and make them into new products. To recycle reduces waste in landfills, conserves natural resources and prevents pollution, to name just a few of the benefits. It’s for these reasons most Americans will properly recycle items such as water bottles, newspapers and glass jars.

But what about that plastic fork? Is that a recyclable item? If you are not sure but throw it in the recycling bin and hope that all is well? Then you are a “wishcycler.” And this one act can cost you and the town money.

The term, wishcycling, is when an individual throws questionable items into the recycling bin hoping that the object will be properly recycled once it reaches the facility. The Windham Town Council learned about this and more at their last Tuesday, January 22 meeting. “We receive a report each month on how much contamination is in our recycling,” Interim Town Manager, Don Gerrish, told the council. “We’ve been on notice and we are going start to pay if the recycling hits a certain percentage of contamination.”

As a result, Gerrish invited Environmental Educator from ecomaine, Katrina Vehnhuizen to speak to and inform the council on the improperly recycled items that occurs at both curbside and the silver bullet site within the Town of Windham.
Vehnhuizen provided a PowerPoint presentation and shared with the Council some of the major contamination materials that people try to recycle which include (but are not limited to) the following: CDs or DVDs, appliances, such as microwaves or refrigerators as well as vehicle parts, propane tanks, hair dryer, coffee grounds and diapers. For the record - plastic cup lids, straws, knives, forks, and spoons are not recyclable materials either and, if put in the recycling bin, are considered contamination material.

“We also get a lot of plastic bags including big black trash bags to grocery store shopping bags,” Vehnhuizen stated. “These items are considered contamination and should not be placed in the recycling bins or in the silver bullets.”

Informing the public is Vehnhuizen’s job and she mentioned her success in educating students at Maine schools regarding the importance of proper recycling. She told the Council about her work at Windham’s Manchester School.

Katrina Vehnhuizen from ecomaine speaks to the Town Council about about improper recycling, otherwise known as 'wishcycling'
In the December 23, 2016 edition of The Windham Eagle’s article, “Fifth graders are ‘talking trash’ at Manchester School’, it was explained that as a result of the efforts of fifth grade teacher Jennifer Ocean, the school was awarded a $3,000 School Recycling Grant from ecomaine to teach the students about environmental responsibility.

Vehnhuizen visited the school and provided a hands-on and educational opportunities, teaching the students the difference between what is trash and what is not, by quite literally going through the garbage produced by the first school lunch hour. began the trash audit session, first weighing, then discarding a full bag of rubbish on a huge blue tarp. With tongs and rubber gloves, the students were asked to separate the trash into four piles, 1. Actual trash. 2. Re-useable items such as Ziploc bags, 3. Recyclables such as milk cartons and 4. Compost. The students discovered that what initially began as 25 pounds of waste, when separated into appropriate piles, ended up being only 1 pound of real trash. The students quickly discovered how many unnecessary items are placed into landfills and thus the need to reduce the amount of solid waste disposal.

Below is a helpful list to not only help reduce the amount of trash going into landfills, but to also help you and the Town of Windham save money.

Items that can be recycled:

Paper, including but not limited to:
All clean cardboard, paperboard and pizza boxes
Newspapers, advertising inserts and mail
Magazines, catalogs, phone books, hard cover books
Clean paper plates (not soaked or caked with food or oils)
Wrapping paper that can rip
Milk & juice cartons (it helps to remove caps, but isn’t necessary)
Drink boxes and other aseptic containers (such as nut milk boxes)
Shredded paper (contained in a clear plastic bag)
Plastic rigid containers marked with a #1 – #7 (NO Styrofoam, bags & films), including but not limited to:
Water bottles and salad containers jugs
Detergent bottles
Yogurt containers
Takeout food containers (not styrofoam)
Metal containers, including but not limited to:
Tin cans
Aerosol cans, such as shaving cream and hair spray (completely emptied)
Aluminum cans, tins and foil (not caked with food residue)
Pots and pans
Glass, including:
All glass bottles and jars

Items that cannot be recycled:

Propane, fuel, or gas (O²) tanks 
Plastic bags and film, such as SaranWrap®, shrink wrap or boat wraps 
Rope, cables, cords or wires
Yard waste or food (compost them instead!)
Video and audio tapes
e-waste, such as computers, laptops, TVs, etc. 
CDs or DVDs 
Appliances, such as microwaves or refrigerators 
Clothing, shoes or bedding 
Car, truck or boat parts, including batteries and brake rotors
Plastic cup lids, straws, knifes, forks, and spoons
Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs) and regular fluorescent bulbs.

For more information, contact ecomaine at 207-773-1738 or peruse their website at

Windham community to experience the joy from Munjoy Hill: Celebrating Black History Month on February 10

The choir from Green Memorial AME Zion Church
By Lorraine Glowczak

They are at it again. The group of individuals whose mission is to bring the community together to enjoy and learn about other cultures and beliefs in a variety of exciting ways will provide a venue to explore other philosophies in February. Or, so states Father Tim Higgins of St. Ann’s Episcopal Church who is also a member of the Windham Area Clergy Association (WACA). “WACA is at it again.” Higgins began. “We will celebrate Black History Month on Sunday, February 10 at 4 p.m. at North Windham Union Church, 723 Roosevelt Trail. Pastor Ken Lewis and his gospel choir from Green Memorial AME (African Methodist Episcopal) Zion Church in Portland will join us and offer two musical selections from their choir. Dr. Rick Nickerson will direct the combined choirs to end the festivities,” stated Higgins in a recent email to The Windham Eagle. consists of the greater Windham area clergy that include the following churches besides St. Ann’s: Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints (LDS), Windham Hill United Church of Christ, North Windham Union Church and Faith Lutheran Church. The mission of this organization is to share concerns and joys, to support one another as well as to exchange outreach ideas within the greater Windham and Lakes Region communities. As an organization, the goal is to provide awareness of the communities’ needs as well as respond to any tragedies or difficulties the community may experience, all the while learning about others in the process in order to live together in harmony and respect. Any religious organization in the Lakes Region area is welcomed to join WACA.

For Black History Month, the purpose is to celebrate culture and how it contributes to personal and spiritual growth. “This gathering gives me hope and optimism,” began Glenn Davis, Bishop of LDS. “For me, the gatherings we have had thus far have helped me understand other cultures and people. It gives me a sense that things can change. It is a great opportunity to meet and serve with WACA who are willing to learn and share with one another. For this Black History event, it reminds me of the terrible injustices placed on others throughout our history and the ways those who faced such injustices have overcome great challenges despite the overwhelming odds.”
Davis went on to explain the past events that WACA has provided for the community. “In the past year we have gathered together in many ways including an opportunity to learn about the Jewish tradition, the Seder. We [WACA] and other community members met last year during a Seder meal lead by a Rabbi from Portland and hosted by Faith Lutheran Church in Windham. It was an amazing gathering that provided a learning experience for me.” Davis hoped that others learned from the experiences the WACA events provided from the past year that included community Thanksgiving gatherings and a Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration.

Perhaps the most exciting part of this Black History Event is the inclusion of the Green Memorial AME Zion Church from Portland. The church’s choir will provide two of the musical selections and will be a part of the Windham area church choirs, led by the one and only famous musical conductor, Dr. Richard Nickerson of Windham.

Green Memorial Choir will sing with Windham Area Church choirs
Briefly, AME Zion Church is a historically African-American denomination based in the United States. It was officially formed in 1821 in New York City that made its way into Portland. Reverend Kenneth I. Lewis, Jr. of Green Memorial AME Zion in Portland, who provided the invocation at Governor Janet Mill’s convocation ceremony, will be participating in this event and will offer historical and musical presentations from the Green Memorial’s choir. Rev. Lewis is looking forward to joining in with area Windham churches to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King’s message. “I am a believer of Dr. King’s promotion of a beloved community irrespective of race, stated Rev. Lewis “We are all brothers and sisters, where people are known by the content of their character not the color of skin. I think opportunities [such as this event] is a great way to promote and demonstrate the very best of our Christian character through education in a shared space and we are looking forward to sharing this space with Windham” Lewis also stated that Green Memorial, although historically an African-American church, is diverse in nature and has carried the mantel of Dr. King’s message. “We represent what heaven will look like. Our motto is ‘there is joy on Munjoy Hill’.”

The afternoon celebration event will include musical selections as well as readings, prayers, scriptures and pastoral commentary from all participating churches. The Green Memorial AME Zion choir will join in with the rest of the choirs and will be conducted by Dr. Richard Nickerson.

“This event is so very important to those of us who live in the Lakes Region area because we live in a homogenous community,” commented Rev. Higgins. “Most of us in this area are European-Americans and it will be beneficial on many levels to celebrate Black History Month by word and song with our African-American brothers and sisters.”

All are invited to experience the joy shared by our neighbors from Munjoy Hill.

If attendees wish, any financial donation will go toward the Green Memorial AME Zion ministries. All are welcome to attend for joy, celebration and refreshments after the event.