MATE's Partnerships Continue
August 2021
Our summer volunteers and all their great work!
Camp Hill Presbyterian Church MATE team, Pennsylvania
Presbyterian Church in Sudbury, Massachusetts
Team work

Special thanks to members of Fairbanks Union Church for hosting weekly picnic dinners for visiting work teams! Great food. Great fellowship!
Look like fun? You can come too - by yourself or with a team. You will make a difference!
McCleary House Transformation
Why the McCleary House Makeover!
I have a few favorite things. One, given all the hardships in the world today, I know that something I can do to "love my neighbor" is to work on issues related to homelessness. Two, I love to see what wonderful things happen at MATE when you and I give to MATE to help our neighbors in need. And three, anybody who knows me, knows that I really, really, really love a good home renovation project!
Working on transforming McCleary House for transitional housing for the housing insecure, allows me to do all my favorite things! Did you know that within the last few months MATE has already received calls to house people at McCleary? Two calls have stuck with me: a call to house a disabled veteran in crisis due to losing his apartment, and a call to help brand new parents about to lose their housing with their baby. That’s why I am working hard to transform McCleary. MATE and Fairbanks Union Church can say, “Why yes, we have a place for people to stay!”

Will you join me in renovating and outfitting McCleary House? Together, we can love our neighbors with an innovative solution to Franklin County’s lack of affordable, healthy, housing by adopting an area or donating a service or item for the house. We can help an individual or family get back on their feet by staying at McCleary this winter. Please go to our website,, and on the home page, click the McCleary tab to see the various ways you can help! Perhaps you too will experience a “favorite thing” - like the joy of knowing you made a difference by helping someone who needs a safe warm home!

Karen Hagy, MATE Board Chair
McCleary House is a Response to Community Need

The need for affordable housing in the Farmington area continues to be dire. The situation became more urgent on September 16, 2019, when the LEAP building in Farmington exploded, also destroying housing for 14 households nearby. In response, United Way of the Tri-Valley Area created the LEAP Explosion Fund; generous donors contributed over $218,000 to help.
The fund allotted more than $164,000 to assist with a variety of essential needs for those affected; 48 people required housing, food, replacement of lost items, and a heating system. In addition, money went to the Fireman’s Benevolent Fund, explosion clean-up, mental health services, and a memorial art installation. Remaining funds were set aside for affordable housing projects.
The explosion intensified the need for affordable housing in the community. In addition to the ongoing critical need, there has been the added challenge to find housing for those families and individuals directly affected by the event.

MATE is committed to responding to the situation and received grant funds from the United Way/LEAP fund to renovate McCleary. The money from the fund has been allocated for the heating system in the house as well as waterproofing the basement.
MATE housing ministry staff member, Dan Flint
McCleary kitchen
Work needed to transform McCleary
MATE Housing Ministry
Special request: MATE needs extra volunteers with roofing skills

We are so thankful to all of you who regularly support MATE's housing ministry, who work hard to bring a group for a week to help us serve the least of these, and for all the arrangements you take care of to make that happen.

We have a favor to ask. Due to COVID, we have been short on volunteers. We did not complete roof jobs last year, and they were postponed to this year. That leaves us with a lot of roofing to get done for people to be warm and dry in their homes this winter.

To get that essential work done, we have scheduled a special "roofing week" August 30 - September 3, just to repair and replace roofs. Volunteers can come for a week or a couple of days during the week. You don't have to bring a team. We need those who have roofing skills to help us (you don't have to be an expert). There is no volunteer fee. Gas and toll expenses will be refunded, and the cost of meals and lodging will be subsidized by MATE. Lodging will be at the Colonial Valley Hotel in Farmington.

If there is someone in your group willing to volunteer, please let us know as soon as possible so we can make arrangements. Our clients will not only be grateful, they will be safe and warm this winter because generous people like you have given them the gift of a good roof over their heads! Once again, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for all you do for MATE, but mostly for those in the community who really need the help.

Rev. Thea Kornelius, Executive Director
MATE Stories from People Who Know MATE
MATE Matters for the People Served

Those of us who work with MATE hear stories. Shelter is an essential need for all of us, and housing comes in many forms. For Tanya it is a mobile home down a road near Farmington. You'll know you’ve found her when you get past the asphalt part of the road and hit gravel at the end. She sits on her porch watching, under a porch overhang rebuilt by a recent MATE housing ministry team who also updated her kitchen. When I visit, she points to the work with pride and gratitude and offers a tour.

Tanya tells me her story, sometimes reacting with tears at the memories and hard times. She talks about the people in her life. She was born and raised in Lewiston. She moved away and returned in 2015 with her husband in order to be with her dad, who was dying. Her husband moved back to Georgia. She thought they would get back together, but they split. Other relationships with family members weren’t working, and she lost connection with her church. According to Tanya, she was in a dark hole, and life was a mess. She didn’t feel like she had anyone; even her three beloved pit bulls died.

Tanya met Rev. Thea when Tanya was homeless, living in a truck, and sleeping in a parking lot. The truck broke down. But, “God had a way and helped me. God picked me up when I fell.” Someone gave her Thea’s phone number.

Life started to get better. Tanya found a new relationship with Robert. A contact connected her to the mobile home she now lives in. She applied to MATE for housing ministry work that repaired her home, and has a new church community. And, she talks about some things with smiles. She talks about being a good cook, learning how to make Mexican food – pinto beans, rice and tamales. Mentioning ingredients from a bodega in Portland, she shares tips and explains how to identify the best flour for tamales and tortillas and how to use a tortilla press.

Tanya is in the “process of finding out what God wants from me” and wakes daily with a positive attitude. She still faces challenges and struggles and is working on those, but says, “Thank you, Lord, for another day.” Thanks to you, MATE Housing Ministry has been there.

Sharon Cowen, MATE Board
MATE Matters for the People Who Serve

Why I Love MATE
I have been attending the Mission at the Eastward trips since I was a middle school student, for a total of five trips. It was the first time I had travelled to another state to help a community outside of my hometown, and soon enough helping others became a passion. I was able to help numerous people on each of the trips, with house repairs that homeowners could not accomplish on their own. It has allowed me to take a better look at what I value, and to see how much it has affected myself and others.
What I love most about MATE is how it reaches out to so many people. I thought the recovery work was limited to the town of Farmington, but when I started the high school mission trips, we began to travel to neighboring towns in Maine. Helping people all around central western Maine showed me how far the church community will go to help their neighbors. The outreach gives hope that propels us forward as Christians, and that unity keeps our faith stay strong.
MATE gave me the opportunity to interact with all kinds of people that I would not normally talk to in my day-to-day life. I did not know many people who struggled financially and was ignorant to the problems that could present. Furthermore, I never spoke with other volunteers about their reasons for helping and about their lives back home. Attending the MATE trips over the years allowed me to speak with many clients who shared their experiences, what they wish for in the future, and how the work that we do affects their lives. Meeting other people through MATE made me feel at home, and I connected with other volunteers through our mutual desire to help others. Meeting the people of Maine and my fellow volunteers taught me the importance of empathy and gratitude and reminded me of God calling me to help as many people as possible.
Sarah E. Costello, Bedford Presbyterian Church work team
Roar Hallelujah (A Song for MATE)

Lyrics by Jim Smith, Silver Springs, PA MATE work team volunteer
Based on the song “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen (best appreciated if you think about that song while you read the words below)
Verse 1
Now I’ve heard there is a sacred chore
That we strive to do to please the Lord
But you don’t always like the labor, do you (ya?)
It goes like this, the brush, the paint
A minor fall, a little complaint
The battered thumb rings out “Hallelujah”
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Verse 2
Your faith was strong, but you needed proof
You looked and there were holes in the roof
The damage and the rainclouds overthrew you (ya)
You buckled down and seized the task
The clouds did break and in the sun you bask
And from our lips you cried out “Hallelujah”
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Verse 3
I did my best, it wasn’t much
God game me gifts, blessings and such
I did all I could to help and return them to you (ya)
And even though some things went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of All
With nothing on my tongue but “Hallelujah”
(Chorus – repeat twice)
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
MATE Youth Connection (MYC)

An update on Camp at The Eastward (CATE) from Presbytery...

CATE Discernment Process

Update from Focus Groups on the Former Camp Property

The Leadership Commission of PNNE has held Focus Groups and invited written responses on the future of the property in Starks, Maine, formerly occupied by the Camp at the Eastward. In addition to the members of the Leadership Commission, 37 people either attended a discussion or sent a written response. One session sent a written response. We heard from some respondents wanting to resume a camping program on property and from others who put forth a way the Abenaki and former CATE staff/campers/committee members might share the property. While we heard these responses, the majority want to find an agreement to turn the land over to an indigenous tribe, the Abenaki, who were driven out of the region by the British in 1724. As Trustees of the presbytery, the Leadership Commission has the responsibility of charting a path forward. Included in our discussions is the importance of camping opportunities for young people which could occur through collaboration with nearby church camps. Many thanks to those who participated in the Focus Groups or sent in a written response. Please keep the Leadership Commission and all involved in this decision in your prayers.
A Little GLOW
The Regional Youth Ministry group, New England GLOW, is excited to announce its first ever Fall Retreat at Camp Wilmot (NH)September 17-19, 2021. 
The theme this year will be "Let Your Light Shine". We will explore this theme through worship, music, scripture, and home group activities. There will also be time for games, dancing, arts and crafts, camp fire, and much more.
The retreat is for youth ages 12-18 (middle and high school). Participant registration forms are due by August 17. If you have any questions please contact New England GLOW. Check out the website and the public New England GLOW Facebook page.
An Update on Jikani in South Africa
Jikani Recycle Community Project

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).
It’s been a long hard search, but finally we found an old discarded asbestos tank to suit the purpose of our Recycling Hogsback community initiatives.
We discovered the old asbestos tank lying at the top of Plaatjies Kraal road. The tank had a huge hole towards the top, but with a little “makeover” we were able to convert it into a “GLASS ONLY” container.

Thank you to Mike Mullins and team who provided the necessary tools to cut the top half off and help load onto the bakkie to transport down to the Municipal refuse site.

Thank you to Vuki and Micheal from Serendipity, who helped paint and place the container securely at the Municipal refuse site with the assistance, of Petros and his team who work for Raymond Mhlaba Municipality.

The objective of the GLASS ONLY container is as follows:

  1. Drive a community behavioural mindset to recycle responsibly
  2. Build up the Hogsback community to become more self-sustainable with home/business projects
  3. Initiate entrepreneurial creativity
  4. Find solutions for solid waste with Raymond Mhlaba Municipality


See below photos from one of our local Hogsback residents, Helen, who is capitalizing on the use of the GLASS ONLY container. Helen’s goal is to build an environmental education center, and what better way to incorporate recycle material into the building structure.

All the Jikani Recycle Initiatives and projects are in alignment with the Constitution of Jikani to work towards community building and the upliftment of all Hogsback residents, including surrounding villagers and informal settlements.

Norma Fivaz
Chair: Jikani Board
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 Church

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!