BREWER, Maine — Many churches in the Bangor region regularly offer free lunches and suppers to members of their communities, but only one is serving breakfast.
The First Congregational Church, 35 Church St., decided to hold a community morning meal once a month. About 40 people attended the first breakfast offered Saturday by the United Church of Christ congregation. The congregation plans to continue the event on the fourth Saturday of each month.
“We mainly decided to do it because we knew of no other church in the Bangor-Brewer area that was doing breakfast,” Cleo Cottrell of Verona Island said Saturday as she helped out in the kitchen. “Building community is one of the big reasons we’re doing it. We hope it will get people out.”
Saturday’s menu included French toast, ham, fruit cocktail, cereal, juice and coffee.
J. Faye Wolfe of Holden organized the breakfast and cooked the French toast because she “has had a long career in the exciting world of food service.” She said after the meal that it took more than 8 pounds of ham, 3½ loaves of bread, five dozen eggs and 2½ large cans of fruit cocktail to serve Saturday’s diners.
“This is not about proselytizing, and it’s not about trying to bring people into the church,” Dave Bures of Monson said. “We are responsible for the world. We are responsible for its people. We hope that we can offer them something — whether it’s food, fellowship, or, both.”
Bures is a student at Bangor Theological Seminary and joined the Brewer church before moving to Monson.
Among those who came out for the meal was the Rev. Mark Doty, pastor of Hammond Street Congregational Church in Bangor. Doty, who lives near First Congregational Church in Brewer, brought his grandsons Caleb and Cole Thibodeau, ages 6 and 4, respectively, to the breakfast. The boys live in Howland and spend Saturdays with their grandfather, Doty said.
“I cleaned my plate and had some cereal,” the older boy said when asked how he’d liked the meal.
The church also serves a community meal on Christmas Day and prepares a monthly meal at the Greater Bangor Area Homeless Shelter, according to the Rev. Grace Bartlett, pastor of the church.
She emphasized that the breakfast was not intended to reach just people in need.
The minister said that nearly all of the people who attended the first offering Saturday were either members of or familiar with the church.
“We want to extend an invitation to anybody and everybody who lives, works or passes through here to come,” Bartlett said.
The next community breakfast will be held from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Saturday, April 24. For information, call 989-7350.