BREWER, Maine — Ten churches on the east side of the Penobscot River will compete Saturday at the Brewer Auditorium to see which congregation has the best chili maker.
The winning church member will get gas from a local filling station, and the money raised at the event will be used to purchase fuel oil for residents living in Brewer and surrounding communities served by The Salvation Army in Bangor, according to organizers.
The event was organized by East Orrington Congregational Church, according to the Rev. Andrew Geaghan, youth pastor. Other participating churches are: North Brewer-Eddington United Methodist Church; First Methodist Church, Brewer; First United Methodist Church, Orrington; Dedham Congregational Church; Holden Congregational Church; First Congregational Church, Brewer; Amherst-Aurora Congregational Church; Patrick’s Episcopal Church, Brewer; and Lighthouse Church of God, Orrington.
“The money raised will go to The Salvation Army’s Fuel Assistance Fund but will be earmarked for families living on this side of the Penobscot,” the minister said. “This will allow them to spread their funds across the river.”
Each church held its own chili cook-off to pick an entrant for Saturday’s event, Geaghan said. There were 10 entrants from congregants at his church.
The Salvation Army of Bangor, according to information on its Web site, assists people living in Bangor, Brewer, Dedham, Exeter, Glenburn, Hermon, Kenduskeag, Levant, Newburgh, Newburgh Center, North Carmel, Orrington, South Levant, Veazie, West Levant and Eddington.
In addition to raising money, Geaghan said, the purpose of the chili cook-off is fellowship.
“It’s the fellowship gathering together and having a good time so we can continue to build community and have an impact in ways that are tangible and real,” he said. “It’s also a way to have fun with brothers and sisters in Christ outside our own individual church walls.”
Geaghan said another goal was to allow congregations on the east side of the river to communicate better so they were not duplicating efforts and could have a greater impact on more people.
The minister praised businesses in the area for donating prizes and ingredients for the event.
“Wal-Mart is giving us Pepcid AC,” he said.
People attending will have a chance to sample the entrants’ chili, but the meal served will be a “hearty meat chili,” Geaghan said. A vegetarian option also will be available. Breads and desserts will complete the meal.
Doors will open at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, and the judging will begin at 5 p.m. The cost is $5 per person.
For information, call East Orrington Congregational Church at 825-3404.