By Lorraine Glowczak
Area churches and faith-based leaders join Be The Influence Coalition (BTI) on Sunday, May 16 to share a message of hope from their individual pulpits. Each will be speaking to their congregations about resiliency, courage, and optimism as the world comes through the other side of a yearlong pandemic. The purpose is to spark hope and conversations about prevention of and recovery from substance misuse due to challenges and stress, especially as it impacts area youth.
Following the individual religious and faith-based services, the whole community is invited to participate in the Day of Abundant Hope Wellness Fair located in the parking lot of St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, 40 Windham Center Road in Windham from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“The Day of Abundant Hope is a day when hope teams with faith and believes in what's possible,” said Rector of St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, Rev. Tim Higgins. “Area clergy are unified around the desire to share a message of abundant hope on the same day so that, as a group, our voices can be just a little bit louder.”
The wellness fair will not only include prevention and recovery resources and educational materials but will include interactive team games, demonstrations of yoga, reiki, and mindfulness meditation. There will also be books available for sale about resiliency from all walks of life by local Maine authors as well as books for sale for the younger reader, swag bags with free give away and materials, a bakery food truck – plus a chance to win an overnight stay at Hampton Inn in Downtown Portland.
“All attendees will be put into a drawing for a one-night stay at Hampton Inn in Portland,” BTI Director Laura Morris said. “And, to help support St. Ann’s Essentials Pantry, for every item you bring - such as bars of soap, toothpaste, toilet paper, stick deodorant, etc. you will earn an extra ticket in the drawing.”
Morris also highlighted an art puzzle project, Building Community Connections, that will be available for attendees to participate, creating their own puzzle piece on hope and resiliency.
“We are so thrilled to kick off our next Arts in Prevention project where youth can create their own puzzle piece on what brings them hope and it will be part of a large puzzle that will hang at Windham High School to motivate all. This project is the brainchild of the amazing artist/therapist and inspiring person-in-recovery, Glenn Simpson, who BTI has commissioned to lead this puzzle masterpiece.”
Higgins who has been a long time member of BTI, along with
Pastor Petra Smythe of Raymond Village Community Church, Cathy Ryder, CEO of
Tri-County Mental Health Services and Carolyn Delaney, CEO and Publisher of
Journey magazine are all members of the BTI’s Faith-Based Taskforce and have worked
together to create this third year’s Day of Abundant Hope on a larger scale.
“We believe there are plenty of stories, resources and opportunities to shine a light on the goodness that is found in our communities - and that shared experiences in celebrating freedom from addiction, helping others see there is a way,” Delaney said. “The fact is that no one is immune from the devastation of addiction and everyone who has recovered has a story to share, every story matters and every story shines a light for others to see.”Delaney also captured the true intention of the Day of Abundant Hope: “As a community, we all have the power to amplify - on this day we're choosing to amplify messages of hope and resiliency.”
The following vendors, activities, area professionals and faith-based leaders that focus on positive health and well-being will be present at or are supportive of BTI and the Wellness Fair:
Glenn Simpson-founder of “Building Community Connections” Puzzle Project
City of Portland Health
Raymond Village Library
Sweetzer/Options Narcan Demos
Highland Lake Yoga -Yoga and Reiki demonstrations
Bogs Bakery Food Truck
Kim Bartholomew - Mindfulness Meditation
Anne B. Gass, author of “We Demand: The Suffrage Road Trip”
Julie Brown, author of “Building a Life: A Mother’s Journey of Self-Discovery”
Norma Fitts, author of “One Child, One Million Prayers: Driving Through Hell in a Minivan”
Interactive Team Games (one with free take home frisbees)
Fr. Tim Higgins, St. Ann’s Episcopal Church
Pastor Petra Smythe, Raymond Village Community Church
Pastor Jane Field, Faith Lutheran Church
Rev. Kenneth and Rev. Mary Stimson of South Windham Community Church
Lay Leader Kim Wallace, Wild Church Windham
The Maine Energy AmeriCorps Program with GrowSmart Maine.
For more information about this event or to become an active member with BTI, please contact Laura Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org
Be The Influence, a federal Drug-Free Community grant, is made up of a collaborative group of Windham and Raymond community members with the mission of raising awareness and address concerns caused by substance use/misuse in the youth in the two communities. The focus is to provide prevention and education materials as well as provide various alternative activities, and options for youth, through the arts and other ways, changing policies and other strategies in an effort to ensure they grow into healthy adults.
St. Ann’s Essentials Pantry has been serving families for approximately six years by providing personal and household items that EBT cards and the food pantries in the area do not cover. All one needs to participate is proof of residence in the greater Sebago Lakes Region area. No questions will be asked. The pantry is open the last Saturday of the month from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the church on the corner of Windham Center Road and River Road.
For more information, contact Deacon Wendy Rozene at 207-232-0841. <