This Mother’s Day, everyone is invited to attend a joyful concert presented in celebration of the First Congregational Church of Camden’s Shields Mission Project, now in its twentieth year of providing assistance to Knox County and Lincolnville residents in financial crisis.
On Sunday, May 8, at 4:00 PM, the Midcoast Brass Quintet will offer a concert of popular, sacred and jazz music that will have you tapping toes and singing along. The Midcoast Brass Quintet features Megan Kennedy on trombone, Doug Kennedy on tuba, Carolyn Kanicki on horn, and Peter Stuart and Bruce Cole on trumpets.
This concert is presented free of charge in the First Congregational Church sanctuary, located at 55 Elm Street, Camden. Masks are optional and available if needed.
An offering will be collected in celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the church’s Shields Mission Project. All contributions to the free-will offering will help the Shields Mission Project continue assisting neighbors in crisis. Donations can be made at the concert, online at www.camdenucc.org, or by mailing a check (memo line: Shields Mission Project) to: First Congregational Church, 55 Elm Street, Camden, ME 04843. Questions? Contact the church office at 207-236-4821.
Treat mom and the whole family to some uplifting music while you help us celebrate this important milestone.
Background on the Shields Mission Project
Twenty years ago the First Congregational Church of Camden received a bequest from Dorothy Shields,
a Lincolnville summer resident. After much thoughtful exploration for ways this unexpected gift might be used, including a community-based needs assessment, the Congregation decided one of the best uses of the funds would be to help neighbors, who reside in Knox County and Lincolnville, with their financial needs. This awareness gave rise to the Shields Mission Project (SMP), permitting the Congregation to share this gift with the larger community.
The Church established a fund of $500,000 from the bequest to aid individuals and families. Referred to SMP by agency case managers, for needs that could not be met by the existing agencies, Shields determined that assistance with fuel (oil, propane, wood, and electricity), shelter, food, clothing, home maintenance related to safety, transportation, health care, and educational assistance would be beneficial to local residents. Payments would be made directly to the provider of the service. The gifting would be managed by an administrator with oversight and input from a Shields Mission Committee. The project was approved and authorized by the Congregation on April 14, 2002.
Over the years, hundreds of residents have been served. Recipients of the gifts have found the Shields assistance helpful, sharing these words of gratitude:
- “Words cannot express the gratitude I have for your church paying one month’s rent payment for me. It has helped so much to stay afloat as the bills come in as I have no income yet.”
- “I have been hospitalized five times in the past four months with two major surgeries, and have been unable to work, so your financial assistance has been such a blessing. It saved me from being evicted.”
- “I can READ again! Thank you for all you did to help me get my glasses.”
- “If it wasn’t for your help, my son and I would still be living in a very unhealthy situation. Now we can both do some healing and live free from abuse.”
- “Much thanks and appreciation to Shields and the church for helping me pay for shelter while searching for an apartment!”
Twenty years later, on-going donations from Church members and the wider community have allowed the Shields Mission Project to continue helping area residents in financial crisis. While there have been some modifications to the areas of eligibility, due to evolving community resources, the basic categories of requests have remained relatively unchanged, using the Shields funds when community agency funding is not available. In this way, Shields has assisted many individuals and families providing stability to assist with transitions through challenging times. However, with the many fingers of the pandemic reaching into health care, employment, transportation and homelessness, the number of requests has increased as well as the amount of each request.