MATE Matters to People and Communities
October 2021
Meeting a special friend
Roofing project: a HUGE and critical focus of the 2021 work season
Join Us in Celebrating the Ministry of
Rev. Thea Kornelius on Sunday, October 24
You are invited to celebrate Thea's work and ministry in Maine. Worship will be at 11:00 am with a harvest celebration reception from 2:00-4:00 pm, both at Fairbanks Union Church, 583 Fairbanks Road, Farmington.

All are invited. Please RSVP by October 20 by emailing Karen Hagy at

Dear MATE Family, Friends and Mission Partners,                                              
In 2017, Thea Kornelius accepted a joint call to be the Executive Director for MATE and pastor of three area churches.

Thea has accomplished much during her tenure and leaves MATE in a strong position to serve our clients in the future. We sincerely thank her for sharing her gifts. We will miss her and wish her blessings and success as she becomes Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Elgin, Illinois.
Thea’s last day with us will be Sunday, October 24th.

The Board is confident that Thea, MATE’s staff, and the Board will make this a smooth transition for our clients, volunteers, mission partners, donors, and supporters. If you have any questions regarding the transition, do not hesitate to reach out to our Board Chair, Karen Hagy, at or call her at 603-714-5628.

We know you will join the MATE Board in wishing Thea the very best as she embarks on the next leg of her professional journey in her new call.
A Letter From Thea
I am not good at “good-byes”. I have always hated them… So for me,until I see you again, or later, works a lot better. Yes, I am leaving. I have accepted a new call at First Presbyterian Church of Elgin, in Elgin, Illinois, and will end my time with MATE on October 24.

This has not been an easy decision for me. So, it is with mixed emotions that I write this letter. Four years ago, I believe the Holy Spirit led me to Maine as the Executive Director of Mission at the Eastward and the Pastor of Fairbanks Union Church and the New Portland Community Churches. While I have no doubt that it was God’s will for me to be here, I now believe that God is calling me to serve a different church and community with God’s word and God’s grace.

I have come to deeply love MATE over the last four years: its mission, its vision for the future, and the service we do together in God’s name for the least of these. It has not always been an easy journey, and we had to make some tough decisions during very difficult times.

MATE is now an independent 501(c)3 (non-profit organization), with a strong and fantastic board, who will lead the non-profit and do a search for a new Executive Director. MATE also has an exciting vision and a staff that rocks the world. MATE is financially sustainable and stronger than it has been in a long time; it has an extremely faithful donor base and a wide variety of grantors. MATE also has the most wonderful volunteer base in the world (and I might be just a little biased here). We expanded into transitional housing with the renovation of McCleary House and we are working hard to welcome our first family and provide a safe space for them to get back on their feet.

I truly believe that, just as God has brought us together for a purpose, where MATE is positioned right now, is a strong and faithful place in Western Central Maine, to accomplish more than I could even dream about. In these next few weeks, the board and I will do all that we can to ensure a smooth transition into the interim process and prepare the way for the board to find the next Executive Director.

It has been an incredible privilege to be a part of the MATE family, and you have certainly blessed my life greatly in the time that I was here. I have learned and grown so much because of my time with all of you. And I am so extremely grateful for all of you who served and continue to serve faithfully. I hope that in some small way I have blessed your lives also, through new service and play together and through building relationships that I will carry with me for a lifetime.

I will always pray for MATE and for all of you who are such an integral part of MATE, and your success is something that I hope for with all my heart. I want you to know that I will continue to be the hands, the feet and voice of Jesus to those God brings into my life. I want to encourage all of you to continue to do the same.
Blessings to you
McCleary House Renovation Update: Can you help MATE complete Phase I?
McCleary House on the left and areas needing work.
Phase I of the McCleary House renovation was also a critical focus of the 2021 work season. MATE volunteers worked hard and accomplished much. Financial contributions from many partners bought building supplies and professional assistance where needed. Donors "adopted" areas of the house and provided furnishings and other household items. The basement has been cleaned and waterproofed, the new water heater and furnace have been installed, and work is ongoing on the heating system. We are also contracting for the weatherization of the house. Thanks to all for your valuable contributions!

When finished, Phase I of the McCleary House renovation will provide temporary transitional housing to families and individuals in need of a warm safe place to live.

But, we're not done with Phase I. Covid slowed us down; with fewer volunteers, we still have physical renovation work to complete. And, we just need an individual, family or group to "adopt" the family bath area for $1200. All other Phase 1 areas of McCleary are adopted and funded. The $1200 donation for the bath will provide a new toilet, flooring, small linen area, vent/fan, plumbing, lighting, and refurbish the existing vanity. You can give online at our website, or mail a check.

See for more information or to donate.
Work on the McCleary House is progressing (and extensive)!
MATE Housing Ministry: Reflections on God's Work at MATE
Soon after my arrival in Farmington in early May, Rev. Thea and I sat down to look ahead at the home repair ministry season. Considering the challenges ahead: many applications/requests from homeowners; reduced number of volunteers; skyrocketing lumber prices; unknown obstacles yet to come; we concluded: we can’t do this. Certainly not the two of us. Even with the help of other volunteers, we can’t do this. We decided that only God could make this happen, so we turned it over to Him, to accomplish whatever He had in mind.
As the home repair season progressed, new challenges seemed to arrive daily. But, what arrived more often were the blessings and resources to meet those challenges. God just kept opening doors for us to walk through, to allow the ministry to keep serving those in need. Whether it was an ample supply of wood with minimal cost, new volunteer groups appearing mid-season, extra financial support from some of our partners, or the volunteers that returned for a second week of work to complete roof projects, the blessings just kept coming. It became a running joke, “let’s see how God handles this one”, and He always did.
In my first year with MHM for the entire season, I learned many things, but two lessons stand out. First, God does not show up in the morning and say “What would you like to do today?”. He does come and say “Here is what I have for you to do today, for Me”. The second is, at the end of the week working with your team, don’t look back and see what was done by your crew. But consider the question, what would have happened, or not happened, had those volunteers NOT chosen to be here? What would the conditions be for the homeowners who would not have been helped, had your group not shown up?
Looking back, it is incredible to see how God enabled the MATE Housing Ministry to accomplish all the projects that we planned to do. Many of you were used by God to do that, through your prayers, financial support and volunteer time. We are grateful for that.
I don’t know what God has in store for our ministry next, but I’m looking forward to the ride.
Dan Flint, MATE Operations Manager
New Board Member: Alan Dossett
MATE has been a special experience for me for the 25+ years I have been part of a work group from our church, the Presbyterian Church in Sudbury, Massachusetts.

MATE gives me the opportunity to put my faith into action, and work together with others to accomplish something that we couldn't do individually. It's a living illustration of the Body of Christ, where we all contribute our different talents toward a common goal.

I've met homeowners who inspired me with their perseverance in such difficult situations, and the kindness and generosity they showed to us strangers.

Our group worked on Eva's home. Eva was a recluse who lived in a tiny cluttered one-room camp in the woods, estranged from her family. MATE work groups fixed up her home over two summers, replacing the roof and siding, adding a small bathroom and a bedroom, which she kept as neat as a pin. Jeff, one of MATE's work leaders, became Eva's friend and introduced her to church members. She was baptized and joined the Fairbanks church; she got back in touch with her family. When she was diagnosed with cancer, church members drove her to Maine Medical Center for treatment. Her last Thanksgiving was with her family at worship in the Fairbanks church. MATE did so much more than fix up her camp.

MATE is in the midst of a important transformation, thanks to the visionary and hard work of Thea Kornelius and the MATE Board of Directors. I am excited to be a part of that new future for MATE.
MATE Youth Connection (MYC)
Update from Presbytery of Northern New England (PNNE) on the Former Camp Property

CATE Property Discernment Process

Many thanks to all who joined our virtual presbytery assembly meeting on September 15, 2021. Fifty-nine voting members and twenty-two visitors gathered to take part in the work of the presbytery. A central matter of discussion revolved around the presbytery’s decision regarding a property in Maine that has been home to Camp at the Eastward.
The Leadership Commission recommended the following to the presbytery for their vote:
1. Give the current 59-acre CATE parcel and buildings held by the PNNE to the Bomazeen Land Trust (Abenaki Tribe) for the establishment of a Lemon Stream Cultural Center.
2. Recommend that the Presbytery create a Camper Scholarship Fund enabling youth within PNNE to attend Christian camps of their choosing at reduced or no cost.

3. Pursue agreements with Camp Wilmot, the Pilgrim Lodge Camp of the Maine Conference of the UCC, and other church camps to provide weeks and opportunities for previous CATE campers and volunteers, as well as those whom MATE currently serves.
Following Robert’s Rules of Order, we first considered a commissioner’s substitute motion: form a 501(c)3 organization - Camp at the Eastward, enlarge the CATE property, negotiate with the firstlight learning journey, and maintain membership in the national camping associations. This motion did not pass - 27% voted in favor (73% voted against).
Following more discussion and prayer, 85 % of commissioners voted to approve Leadership Commission’s proposal (15% voted against). As an assembly, we noted the grief of Camp at the Eastward’s closure and recognize the grief and loss on the part of many people in Maine whose lives CATE has impacted over many years. Also at the meeting, we expressed gratitude for the opportunity to return the land to original inhabitants through an act of reparation. Many steps enabled us to make an informed decision: a February CATE stakeholders’ meeting, July focus groups, church sessions sharing perspectives, conversations with MATE board members, site visits to CATE, meetings with the Abenaki community and Somerset Woods Trustees. All of these things informed the Leadership Commission’s recommendation and this historic decision of the presbytery.  

Rob Heinze, Moderator of PNNE
A Little GLOW
Attention All Youth 12 and up!! Check out the New England Glow - Middle and High School Youth Group. This is group committed to providing fun and engaging opportunities for our older youth in New England. They have events that will allow you all over the region to connect with other teens.

Check out the website and the public New England GLOW Facebook page.If you have any questions please contact New England GLOW.

Other news from GLOW (from the PNNE website):

Joint Confirmation Intro and Info Session: Joint confirmation intro and info session will be held on September 30 at 7 PM via Zoom. Join Zoom Meeting at https://us02web.zoom.u/j/81619223637?pwd=UlRJZmRlaXRWYUp2d3ZrMk9rdU1EZz09 Meeting ID: 816 1922 3637 Passcode: 521550

This session is open to any youth and leaders who will be participating in the Joint Confirmation class or wish to learn more about it. Leadership will be shared across participating church communities. We will meet once a week on Zoom for one hour for 24 weeks and will be using the "Big God Big Questions" curriculum. You can find the participant registration form here. We are also looking for more leaders. If you are interested in leading one or more sessions please sign up here.

NE Glow Day Retreat: Mark your calendars! NE Glow will be hosting a one day in person retreat on Saturday, October 23 from 11AM to 4PM at the Presbyterian Church in Bedford, NH. We are planning games, art, worship, and music. Registration forms and more information will be coming soon. 
An Update on Jikani in South Africa

From MATE's annual report: In 2000, MATE’s programming become international in scope with the creation of the South-African Partnership (SAP) with a relationship established with the Amathole Presbytery in South Africa. The focus of this project morphed into a home gardening ministry in the Tyhume valley. SAP was closed by MATE in 2019 but now exists under the Presbytery of Northern New England (PCUSA).    
MATE Matters # 4   October 2021
Dear friends and donors of Jikani,
It is with great joy and enthusiasm, that I share the activities of this project, this month:
            "A day in the life of Jikani Community Project"
1. Distribution of sanitary pads among young Xhosa teenagers to 4 different villages, namely: 
- Boldpoint, north-west of Hogsback
- Esikhululweni, east of Hogsback
- Plaatjieskraal forestry village
- Hopefield village, 15 km south of Hogsback

Having a necessary item, for a normal physiological function of the body of a healthy teenage female, is often denied to many of these girls. They often use strips of old sheets (poor absorbing material) or pieces of newspaper, when there are no funds to buy the necessary sanitary pads. By supplying these items, the dignity of these girls is restored, and they can enjoy a level of hygiene that they would otherwise be denied of.
2. Establishing partnership with Ms Linda Vara, from an outlying village in the Tyume valley. Ms Vara runs English and computer classes to local learners, as an after-school activity.

Magazines and English books were delivered to this new centre, called Maranatha.

3. A valuable partnership has recently been established between Jikani and the local grocery shop. Whenever there is a surplus of vegetables, the shop contacts Siya, administrator at Jikani, to collect vegetables. These are turned into nourishing, thick soup. The street vendors know, that on a cold and wet day, they are always welcome to collect a bowl of steaming, delicious soup from our centre.

4. Photo copying, faxing, sending e-mails and offering internet services are all part and parcel of Siya's daily tasks, at this community centre.
We value each member of our team, as they willingly and with such joy, serve our community.

We salute you!
With gratitude and appreciation for taking note of our activities.
                                               Norma Fivaz
                                               Chair: Jikani Community Project.
Linda Vara's weekly computer class
Sanitary pad distribution: relatives come to Jikani Community Centre, to receive items on behalf of young teens

Jikani Contact Information
Main road, Hogsback 5721.
Tel: 045 962 1001.
126-277NPO . PBO No. 930056685
MATE's Giving Partners - 2021
For all of your support and contributions, we are blessed! Thank you, All, for your generous gifts!

Mission Partner Grantors
Anonymous donors through the Maine Community Foundation
United Way of the Tri-Valley Area/Leap Explosion Fund, ME
The Ruth Carnwith Trust
Synod of the Northeast, Presbyterian Church (USA)
Reisert Foundation

Mission Partner Churches
First Presbyterian Church of Springfield NJ
The Dover Church, UCC, MA
First Presbyterian Church of Dutch Neck, NJ
New Portland Community Church, ME
Fairbanks Union Church, ME
Church of the Covenant, Boston MA
First Congregational Church of North Anson, ME
Hildale Park Presbyterian Church, NJ
Marturia Presbyterian Church, NH
Leeds Community Church, ME
Silver Spring Presbyterian Church, PA
Topsham United Presbyterian Church, VT
Bedford Presbyterian Church, NH
First Presbyterian Church of Ramsey, NJ
Hartford Community Presbyterian Church, ME
Presbyterian Church in Sudbury, MA
First Presbyterian Church of Antrim, NH
Camp Hill Presbyterian Church, PA
Flemington Presbyterian Church, NJ
Silver Spring Presbyterian Church, PA
St Josephs and St Rose of Lima parishes in Farmington and Jay, ME
Grace Community Boston, MA
Higganum and Haddam UCC Churches, CT

Mission Partner Community Members
David Mackey
The Olsen Family
Julie Palmason
Tucker Library Interiors
United Way of the Tri-Valley Area community partner
Tina Besser, Image Control Inc.
Frank and Marion Hauck
The Hagy/Dobbins/Pease/Brachle Families
Rev. Blair Moffett

To all who contributed a donation in honor of Dan Flint’s retirement, MATE says, Thank you!