Fitterling is no retiring preacher

Posted:  Wednesday, September 12, 2018 - 6:30am

About this blog:

  • Frank Barnako is a seasonal resident of Wiscasset at Clarks Point on the Sheepscot River.   His career in journalism included on air and news director positions with CBS and NBC Radio and TV stations.  He was a pioneer in the Internet, helping to create and co-founding where he developed a 200-station radio network and wrote daily columns focused on the stock market, business news, and technology. Barnako describes himself as “an aspiring photographer,” whose work can be seen at<>. He is a member of the town’s Investment Advisory Committee. Email him at

Unless you have been living under a block of Maine granite for the past year, you have met/seen/ or heard of Rev. Josh Fitterling. He is ‘the new guy’ at Wiscasset’s First Congregational Church. But this (almost 28 - still 27 until Sept 24th - not a big deal) 27-year-old minister from Pennsylvania seems to spend more time outside the church than inside. Probably a good idea. Josh is open, approachable, serious, inspiring and responsible. Josh likes being out and about. He’s become a regular at the monthly Wiscasset Art Walks, where you get the chance to dress up in funny hats or scarves and get your picture taken.

A few weeks ago, Josh invited the Chamber of Commerce to hold its monthly “Business After Hours” at the church (Is this when we hosted business after hours back in April? Or something else? I am active with the Chamber and volunteer many Mondays down at the Info Center on the pier to welcome and greet people as they come to town). Earlier this summer, he invited a group of young people doing mission work in Damariscotta, to stay in the Wiscasset church building. And during the summer, Josh offered an opening prayer at the Wiscasset Speedway. Saturday’s will be the last for the season. The guy gets around.

At one Sunday service recently, Josh broke from routine. During the last hymn, instead of preparing to offer a parting prayer, he walked off the stage to the pews. He approached a young boy, “Bear” Cummings was his name, I believe. Spoke to the father, and then led the boy by the hand to the front of the congregation.

Fitterling said he’d made a mistake. He’d not seen any children to call for his usual children’s lesson in the service, overlooking the boy. Then, he turned to “Bear”, gave him the microphone and the words, to offer Benediction.

Fitterling is not just going through the motions of being a minister in a small town church - the perfect assignment for a retiring preacher to wrap up a career. Fitterling is on the other end of that timeline. This is his first stop on his career. Let’s hope it’s a long one.