“When you harvest your land’s produce, you must not harvest all the way to the edge of your field; and don’t gather up every remaining bit of your harvest. Also do not pick your vineyard clean or gather up all the grapes that have fallen there. Leave these items for the poor and the immigrant; I am the Lord your God.” – Leviticus 19:9-10 (CEB)
Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar and the Extended Cabinet took their September meeting on the road with a visit to the Northern Maine District.
From Sunday to Wednesday, Sept. 23-26, Cabinet members stayed with members of Grant Memorial UMC in Presque Isle, ME. The church hosted the Cabinet during its meetings and for a “Taste of Maine” dinner featuring local ingredients prepared by Grant Memorial members.
The Rev. Chris Dare, pastor at Grant Memorial, said the visit was important opportunity to build relationships and foster
understanding, and that church members were excited to host the bishop and Cabinet and grateful that they took the time to visit.
“Sometimes we feel a little orphaned up here,” he said. “People don’t recognize the extra expense it takes to be a church up here or the distances we have to travel to attend meetings in Massachusetts – and now the entire Cabinet knows.”
As examples of those costs, Rev. Dare cited the $6,000 a year the church pays for snow removal and the fact the church needs to be heated from September until June. “It just costs more to be a church up here,” he said.
Up here is Aroostook County, known simply as “The County,” where agriculture – particularly potato and broccoli farming – dominates the local economy.
A highlight of this trip was the opportunity for Bishop Devadhar and Cabinet members to work together to glean potatoes and broccoli from local farms. Cabinet members gathered about 1,100 pounds of potatoes and several pounds of broccoli to be donated to food pantries in Maine and throughout New England.
Local TV station WAGM reported on the gleaning. Click the link to see the video.