Berries, smiles, fresh paint shine through overcast Strawberry Festival morning

Mon, 07/01/2024 - 8:45am

    The day before his last day as priest-in charge at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Wiscasset, Tom Junkert wore a green hat from Goodwill with fake strawberries wife Jane had added. Tom Junkert was helping at the Hodge Street, Wiscasset church’s Strawberry Festival. Besides the ones on the hat, festival t-shirts and the sign on nearby Route One were the real ones – by the box or by the dish with whipped cream and more. 

    Against Saturday morning’s white sky, parts of the building already had their fresh paint in a color St. Philip’s member Seaver Leslie said is like a form of granite used in some of Europe’s religious statues. He said the paint job, about half done by the festival, is an anonymous donation and will help preserve one of New England’s best examples of Gothic Revival church architecture, from a makeover the now 202-year-old building got mid-1800s from Bath native and distinguished architect Francis Fassett.

    Leslie said the church and its outreaches, including Help Yourself Shelf and the Bargain Basement, can help show everyone “this is a God-centered world, not a cell phone-centered world.” Anyone can attend the church, Leslie added. 

    Junkert, too, noted the work the church does for those in need. Members see needs in and beyond Wiscasset, have sought to help, and will continue to, he said. “It’s been a privilege and a joy,” he said of his time serving St. Philip’s. The Junkerts have been and will continue to be members of nearby First Congregational Church. 

    One of Saturday’s many volunteers, Fundraising Committee Chair Richard Malaby, was selling festival T-shirts. To buy one or to donate to the capital drive, call the church at 882-7184. 

    For four decades, Malaby was a chef and owner at Hancock’s Crocker House Country Inn. He and wife Elizabeth moved to Wiscasset in October 2022 to be nearer family; first she, then, he, as well, got involved with St. Philip’s. The festival, which also served as a kickoff for the drive, is “a wonderful thing,” Malaby said. “So many people, and so much going on.”