Stories from MATE: MATE's Housing Ministry needs volunteers this summer!
April 2021
MATE needs volunteers this summer more than ever. We need YOU! Come individually or form a work team from your church, your work site, your neighborhood or your bowling team. It’s fun, builds new skills, and creates long-lasting friendships. Come from Maine or anywhere. Just come! (**See Maine state Covid-19 guidelines below.)

Not sure how to start? Intimidating to think about?

MATE asked Bedford Presbyterian Church Mission Elder Larry Cowen to reflect on why his church has sent recovery work teams all over the US for the past 15 years, including youth teams to MATE for almost that long. Last year during the height of the pandemic, they sent a team to MATE. The work is critical. At the beginning BPC started from SCRATCH with vision and drive.

From Larry: “Our recovery work team commitment has transformed our comfortable community church into one of mission and outreach, and has had life-changing impact on those who go. The stories are endless, inspirational, spiritual. We return with opened hearts and minds. We return as witnesses to God’s grace, with restored and resilient faith.

We launched our first mission trip to support recovery from disasters in 2006 after Katrina. We fretted over preparation and information, not knowing what we were getting ourselves into. I still remember the last of several calls with the work coordinator at our host church, First Presbyterian in Slidell, “Just get your team down here. We are in desperate need of volunteers. It will all work out.” And he was right.

After five trips to Slidell, we continued to West Virginia, New York City, Maine, New Hampshire, and Puerto Rico. We added annual youth-oriented trips to Maine in partnership with MATE. We added a local NH recovery mission on weekends. Even last year, in the midst of the pandemic, we safely sent a team to work on homes with MATE. 

If you have ever wondered about going on a trip, or thought there might be interest in your church, without hesitation I urge you to do it. Be or find a champion in your congregation: someone who will spearhead the effort. You will be surprised how many members take and follow the lead.

You have easy access to all you need. MATE needs YOU this year and in the future. MATE has been coordinating and managing volunteer teams for a long time. And you have access to people who would love to share how to get started. That includes me, and all the experienced leaders from our team at Bedford Presbyterian Church in New Hampshire. Please feel free to reach out to us. As Presbyterians, we are pretty good at organizing, and have developed some strong recovery leaders.

The families MATE serves desperately need help from volunteers; you can be a volunteer. It will work out. God is there too. Please take that first step.”

For tips/questions on getting started, contact Larry Cowen, or MATE Executive Director Rev. Thea Kornelius, for the volunteer application and more information, click on the button below.

**Maine Covid-19 Guidelines (from the state website): Generally, visitors to or from other states must get a recent negative COVID-19 test or maintain compliance with a 10-day quarantine (PDF) upon arrival in Maine. As of March 5, 2021, exemptions from testing or quarantine are available for:
  • Residents of New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island or Massachusetts 
  • Individuals that have had COVID-19 in the previous 90 days, or are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Up-to-date guidelines are at this link: Maine state covid-19 guidelines
MATE Housing Ministry creates safe places to live for people who need help.
Every year MATE helps 70-80 clients stay in their homes by doing home repairs they otherwise could not afford. COVID has created even more need, with families struggling. Volunteers worked last summer; teams will work this summer. We care about our neighbors and our community. If you need help or know someone who does, please reach out to Rev. Thea Kornelius at or click the button below.
2021 Work on McCleary House is a go!
Partnering with Fairbanks Church and other non-profits, MATE will begin renovating the McCleary House for transitional housing this May with the arrival of Dan Flint, our new Operations Manager. The work allows MATE to begin an innovative initiative to address the lack of affordable housing and homelessness in Farmington.
Here is the work we will do with help from YOU in 2021! With a generous grant like the one from United Way/LEAP, we will put in new heat and hot water and finish the electric repairs. Then we will fix the floors, roof, foundation, basement, septic and plumbing. We will also create an ADA/disability friendly kitchen and bath, repair a family bath, make a laundry area, and update sleeping rooms, a dining space and a gathering room. We will also insulate and weatherize so people can come and stay in the late fall of 2021.

In 2022, we will head upstairs to build out the bunk room (and a storage) 
for volunteer teams to stay for little cost so they can share their talents.
We want to love our neighbors in the best possible way, so we need YOU to volunteer to come up to work at MATE this summer. Please contact Thea Kornelius at to help your neighbors have safe, healthy housing. More fundraising is in the air to make McCleary a go - so watch for future MATE Matters to be in the know!
Stories from MATE: more memories from camp
My first trip to a Christian camp was as a middle schooler. My home church in the Philadelphia suburbs had a parishioner who ran a sports-themed camp in the Poconos, and the last week of every August was reserved for the church’s youth program. That last week of every summer during middle school and high school changed my life. The time spent with friends and adults who cared enough to spend the time with us helped to form my faith. I sensed God’s presence during that week in a powerful way, and that sense of God’s presence carried over into the time the youth group spent together for the rest of the year. Every summer I looked forward to spending a week at Susquehannock and coming back recharged.
When I came to Maine I learned that several generations of children had similar memories of Camp at the Eastward. Parishioners here in Leeds have been involved with CATE since its inception; they told me stories of faith being strengthened and underprivileged children being cared for. It was obvious to me that CATE had been a meaningful ministry for countless youth over the years.
My own personal experience at CATE was limited to one week in 2019 serving as camp director for the high schoolers. The group was small that year, but we had a memorable time. I got to experience camping from the perspective of an adult, seeing the work that goes into making a camping experience successful. Like Susquehannock, CATE is in a beautiful area, sequestered enough that campers could leave their outside lives behind for a few days, bond with each other, and enjoy the friendships and traditions they’d developed over the years they’d attended CATE. As hard as it was to run camp during a transition, I enjoyed getting to know the kids and hope to continue to build on the relationships we made.
Several generations of Mainers have grown in faith largely because of their time at CATE. Campers, volunteers, and staff will miss going to Starks every summer. In the coming months we’ll have the opportunity to gather there and share our memories. (I imagine this as a New Orleans funeral: sharing our grief over the transition but being joyful about the memories.)
MATE is invested in the youth in our area and always innovating to find new ways to enrich their lives. This summer kids can still experience what camp is all about by attending one of MATE’s sister camps - Camp Wilmot. We will continue to find new ways and new venues to keep ministering to our youth as MATE has done since it began. I’m looking forward to seeing what develops.
Steve Allman, Board of Directors, Pastor of Leeds Community Church
MATE Youth Connection (MYC)
An introduction to Camp Wilmot….

CATE is special in the hearts of many kids and families. We know it will be missed this summer and in the future. But, there are new opportunities for Christian camp at Camp Wilmot. We want to share that option.

In fact, the sun is out, days are longer, and bird songs are everywhere. This is the perfect time to talk about Camp Wilmot. With COVID-19, there is still uncertainty about what all of us will do this summer. But Camp Wilmot is hopeful there will be residential youth camp in 2021 along with all the fun that goes into it.

Located in Wilmot, NH, northwest of Concord, NH, Camp Wilmot is 200 acres of natural beauty. Camp is a place where campers, ages 8-16, enjoy activities like archery, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, a ropes course, arts and crafts, nature, dancing, music, and more. Kids make new and lasting friendships. Days include worship services and Bible studies, and campers explore their own Christian faith and personal relationships to God.

Many of Camp Wilmot’s counselors, directors and staff attended the camp as campers themselves. They are committed to making Camp Wilmot the fun, safe, and memorable experience they had as campers.

For more information about Camp Wilmot, check their website at this link: Camp Wilmot. From the website about COVID-19: “We are committed to following the best practices recommended by the CDC and the American Camping Association, as well as abiding by the guidance of local governments and boards of health.”

CATE campers who want to attend Camp Wilmot can contact Thea Kornelius for help in connecting with Camp Wilmot. If financial assistance or transportation is needed for previous CATE campers to attend Camp Wilmot, please contact Thea Kornelius at Financial assistance requests are confidential.

A Little GLOW
Attention All Youth 12 and up!!! Check out the New England Glow- Middle & High School Youth Group. This is a group committed to providing fun and engaging opportunities for our older youth in New England. They have events that will allow youth all over the region to connect with other teens. Stay tuned for more information about in-person events that are being planned as well as weekly online opportunities for fun. Check out the new website and the public New England GLOW Facebook page.

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
United Way of the Tri-Valley Area/Leap Explosion Fund, ME
The Ruth Carnwith Trust

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

Mission Partner Community Members
David Mackey, NH
Bruce and Paula Olsen, NH