St. Margaret’s to sponsor film on Haiti
St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church will sponsor a special screening of “Poto Mitan: Haitian Women, Pillars of the Global Economy” at The Colonial Theater Monday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. as a fundraiser for Haiti.

The film, produced last year by Tet Ansanm Productions, has been nominated for the Social Justice Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and the Best Documentary award at the Boston International Film Festival. Narrated by novelist Edwidge Danticat, the 50-minute film gives an inside perspective on globalization, Haiti’s current crisis and the resilient women challenging the system.

“Poto Mitan” (the Kreyol phrase means center post or pillar) provides interviews with Haitian NGO activists, scholars and government ministers, but its main focus is on the lives of five women: Marie Jeanne, a garment factory worker who toils to give her children the education she was denied; Solange, who lives and braves death in Cité Soleil, one of the capital’s worst slums; Frisline, who battles a male-dominated union until she joins a women’s organization; Hélène, who was pushed off her own land by foreign agricultural policies; and Therese, whose ailments highlight the critical state of public health even before the earthquake.

Director/Producer Renée Bergan started researching her film in 2006. Over the next two years she and co-producer Mark Schuller travelled across Haiti and into risky places and situations to document working conditions and Haitian realities. They used video spy cameras and even gave them to workers to take into the factories. Those women they call valiant. “They both inspire and humble me,” said Bergan, “and leave me wondering if under similar circumstances I could be as courageous.”

Bergan says she is often asked what Haiti is like. “I say it is a hard country, particularly in the capital. Yet, despite the hardships there is much beauty. There is an intangible spirit: an air of pride due in large part to Haiti’s origin as the first free black country, stemming from a 200-year-old victory in a battle between renegade slaves and their colonists. Sadly, they are still fighting that battle.”

Tickets for the film are $10. Additional donations will be gratefully accepted. The IRS is allowing filers to deduct relief donations for Haiti made before March 1 on their 2009 tax returns.

All proceeds will go to Partners in Health, the medical mission founded in Haiti 23 years ago by Dr. Paul Farmer. Before the earthquake struck, PIH already had more than 100 doctors, 600 nurses and 4,000 employees at 12 medical facilities across the country’s Central Plateau and the Lower Artibonite Valley.

Since Jan. 12, PIH has expanded its force almost daily and now has 20 operating rooms up and running, with 12 of them functioning 24 hours a day. As of last week, PIH had sent 66 plane loads with more than 210 medical volunteers including orthopedic surgeons and anesthesiologists and 150,000 pounds of medical supplies. To learn more about PIH’s work visit standwithhaiti.org. The Episcopal Church in Haiti has worked with Partners in Health from its beginnings at an Episcopal Church complex in Cange.

St. Margaret’s congregation has been in partnership for several years with a congregation of the Haitian Episcopal Church, St. Étiènne, in the town of Limonade near the northern coast. Several members of the congregation hope to visit that parish as well as help with relief efforts generally later this year. For more information, visit St. Margaret’s Web site, stmargaretsbelfast.org.

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Celebrate Valentine’s Day at The First Church in Belfast
Celebrate Valentine’s this Saturday, Feb. 13 from 5-7 p.m. at The First Church in Belfast, UCC. Come and relax, with or without a partner, at the Valentine’s dinner, complete with entertainment. The dinner will include a choice of lasagna (meat, vegetarian or gluten-free), salad, bread, beverage and a hot-fudge brownie sundae dessert.

Entertainment will include songs of romance and love, many from the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s and beyond. Entertainers will include members and friends of First Church as well as the band Odlaw, which will play more contemporary tunes after the dinner. The parish house is handicapped-accessible and can be entered at either the Spring Street or Court Street entrance. All are invited to come and enjoy a time of good food and fun together. Cost for the dinner is $8 for an individual and $15 for a couple. Proceeds will benefit Waldo County Habitat for Humanity and the ministries of First Church. For more information call the church office at 338-2282.

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Upcoming services at Searsport and North Searsport UMC
The Searsport and North Searsport United Methodist Churches invite the community to join us for Sunday worship Feb. 14. This week’s services continue a sermon series directed toward ministry to older adults. The series will continue through Easter Sunday. This is the last Sunday before the beginning of Lent, and celebrates the Transfiguration of Christ. The witness of the scriptures will be Exodus 34: 29-35, Luke 9: 28-36, and 2 Corinthians 3:12 – 4:2. Pastor Steve’s sermon is entitled, “Reflected Glory.”

The North Searsport United Methodist Church in located at the intersection of Mount Ephraim Road and the Loop Road, seven miles from downtown Searsport, and near the North Searsport Fire Station. Worship begins at 8:45 a.m. Searsport United Methodist Church is located across the street from the Penobscot Maritime Museum on Main Street (Route 1) in downtown Searsport. Worship begins at 11 a.m.

There will be a joint Ash Wednesday service Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Searsport United Methodist Church to mark the beginning of the season of Lent; a time to focus our attention on living the blessing that is granted to us by the Easter miracle. The witness of the scriptures will be from Joel 2: 1-2, 12-17, Psalm 51: 1-17, 2 Corinthians 5:20b – 6:10, and Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-21. Pastor Steve’s sermon is entitled, “No Excuses.” Please join us as you begin your preparations for the love of God revealed in the resurrection.

If you are an older adult, and need transportation for an evening service, please contact the church; there will be a limited amount of volunteer drivers for the event. For more information, call the church office at 548-2239.

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Habitat for Humanity meeting Feb. 13

The new Habitat for Humanity of Waldo County Faith Relations Committee will be holding a training session for anyone interested in being a contact person or liaison from a church or faith community to Habitat. The session will include learning about what Habitat for Humanity is and does, what you need to know and how you can involve your faith community in the work of Habitat for Humanity right here in Waldo County, and how to engage volunteers from your community in the work and building of Habitat homes.

Habitat for Humanity International, based in Americus, Ga., is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since 1976, Habitat has built more than 200,000 houses in nearly 100 countries, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1 million people.

Thus far, the following congregations have already established contact persons with Habitat for Humanity of Waldo County: Belfast Church of the Nazarene, Belfast United Methodist Church, Christ’s Church of Dark Harbor, First Baptist Church of Belfast, First Church in Belfast United Church of Christ, First Congregational Church United Church of Christ of Brooks, First Congregational Church of Searsport, Frankfort Congregational United Church of Christ, Midcoast Christian Fellowship, and St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church of Belfast.

The training session will be held Saturday, Feb. 13 from 10 a.m. to noon at Midcoast Christian Fellowship, Patterson Hill Road, Belfast (call Pastor Matt McDonald for directions to the church, 338-5899). Pastors and other faith community leaders may contact John Arrison (338-4605) of the Habitat for Humanity of Waldo County Faith Relations Committee, with names of their contact persons. All churches and faith communities in Waldo County are invited and encouraged to participate.

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Turkey supper to benefit Haitian relief

The Searsport United Methodist Church invites the public to join  in feasting and fellowship for its monthly turkey supper Saturday, Feb. 13. This is “the best deal in town on the second Saturday of the month”: a buffet-style, all-you-can-eat turkey supper with all the trimmings, topped of with your selection of our homemade pies. All this for just $8 for adults and $4 for children 12 and under. The supper starts at 5 p.m., and the doors open at 4 p.m.

This supper is on the day before Valentine’s Day, and to show our love for those who are still suffering as a result of January’s earthquake in Haiti, $2 of each person’s meal will go toward relief efforts through the United Methodist Committee on Relief, an organization where 100 percent of the money raised goes to relief. The congregation has pledged to match the money raised through the patrons; the minimum donation sent to UMCOR will be $500. The remaining proceeds go towards the ministry of the Searsport United Methodist Church. Come and be fed, and help feed the people in need in Haiti at the same time.

Searsport United Methodist Church is located across the street from the Penobscot Maritime Museum on Main Street (Route 1) in downtown Searsport. For more information, call the church office at 548-2239.

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Chowder and Soup public supper

The First Baptist Church of Belfast will hold a chowder and soup public supper Saturday, Feb. 20 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the church on 95 High St. Along with chowder and soup, there will be yeast rolls and homemade pies for dessert. The cost is $6 for adults and $3 for children under 12.