Traffic was stop and go outside First Congregational Church of Wiscasset Sunday morning. Parishioners drove through the parking lot to make pledges for the coming year and pick up holiday wreaths or baked goods they bought.
The recent uptick in Maine’s COVID-19 cases prompted the church’s Steward Committee to hold what it hopes will be its first and last drive-through pledge collection.
Martha Speed was manning a table of pre-ordered, homemade apple pies. The pies were frozen, ready to pop in the oven on Thanksgiving Day. There was also cranberry nut and pumpkin bread.
“Proceeds from the sale were to benefit the church’s Organ Society,” said Speed. The pandemic forced the cancelling of Summerfest, the Organ Society’s main source of funding. Until this year, the annual event had been held on the common without fail for over 40 years.
Chuck and Paula Billings were delivering holiday wreaths. Margo Stiassni of Edgecomb bought four, a big one for her garage, one for the front door and two smaller wreaths for the family’s sugar house. Stiassni told Wiscasset Newspaper she is looking forward to Christmas, hoping very much to be reunited with her son David Sieracki she has not seen for almost a year due to the pandemic. “He’s attending the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee where he’s working towards a master’s in cello performance,” she said.
The Billings were happy to help. Chuck said the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays were his favorite time of year. Due to the pandemic, the couple plans to spend this winter in Maine rather than in Florida. Other volunteers included Susan Atwood, Jim Hatt and Deb Olsen. The next three weekends, Billings will be at Lincoln Lodge’s annual Cement Mixer fundraiser outside Ames True Value. Monies collected go to local food banks.
To help with traffic flow, church members were asked to drive one-way from High Street past the front of the church and follow the driveway to the parish hall; 2021 pledge cards were dropped off at the front of the church, where members could make what the church called a noisy offering of loose change to benefit the food bank at St Philip’s Episcopal Church on Hodge Street.
“Daring to dream” was the event’s theme. Brad Adler said parishioners were asked to share their dreams for the church for the coming year on their pledge cards, and what they personally could do to help that dream come true.
Rev. Josh Fitterling said due to the COVID-19 uptick, services will be held remotely beginning the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Services will be pre-recorded and posted on YouTube and the church’s Facebook page, he said. Since August, the church had been holding services remotely and with limited attendance.
“The church council is considering holding an abbreviated outdoor service on Christmas Eve” on the lawn in front of the church, said Fitterling.