United Christian Church, on Route 173 just north of the intersection with Route 52, has a sign outside that says "All Faiths Welcome.”

“And I like it that way,” said Rev. Susan Stonestreet, the church's pastor for the last 15 years.

So it is fitting that the church will welcome the community to its free Harvest Potluck starting at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17, in the Community Building next door to the church. Anyone who wants to come is welcome, said Stonestreet, whether they bring food or not, whether they belong to the church or not. There will be plenty to eat for all, she said, because “this town loves potlucks.”

When it began several years ago, the event took place on the Sunday before Thanksgiving as a gathering for shut-ins and folks who had no family to be with on the holiday. It has evolved into a community-wide event, drawing 70 to 100 people last year, she said. The dinner was scheduled earlier in the month this year to eliminate the association with Thanksgiving, so it could simply be a harvest event for all.

This is just one example of how the church, officially part of the United Church of Christ, lives out its “all faiths welcome” credo.

Five or six years ago, the church started its Good Neighbor Fund to help people in town who need assistance paying for oil to heat their homes. Stonestreet said the fund was started by a donor who only lives in town during the summer, and all funds go to provide heating assistance. She said more than $30,000 has been given out over the life of the fund to date. At a Christmas eve service a couple of years ago, the offering was designated for the Good Neighbor Fund, and more than $3,000 was collected, she said.

Most requests come to the church through Jody Hanson, who is in charge of general assistance at Lincolnville Town Office, and Stonestreet prefers that people who need help call Hanson first. Typically, the church will pay for 100 gallons of oil, she said.

Stonestreet officiates at many funerals for people who are not members of her church, and a number of people in town who do not belong to the church have told her, “I think of your church as my church.”

Having had no church herself for many years earlier in her life, she wants to offer “holy community” to anyone who wants to take part, whether they identify as Christian, as some other faith, or prefer no label at all. For example, some of the people who attend the Friday morning meditation group at the church “have said Friday morning is their church,” she said.

The church also offers special Sunday afternoon services during Advent, including a concert by the Mount View Singers. It has also had Taize services and healing services that draw many who are not regular members of the congregation, she said.

For more information about services and events at the church, call Stonestreet at 763-4526.