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The French Speaking Baptist Church of Stratford is now located in the former Jehovah's Witnesses Kingdom Hall at 494 Milford Point Road.By Jack Ryan
The French Speaking Baptist Church of Stratford has moved into the former Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall on Milford Point Road, and has been meeting in its new location for about a month, a church official said.
Church leaders had been looking for a building in the area while renting space at the First Congregational Church on Main Street in Stratford.
Sauveur Joseph, a deacon, said the congregation is fairly new and has 60 members. The church meets from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays and at various times during the week for Bible study and other events.
“Our job is to spread the gospel in Stratford and Milford,” Joseph said.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses sold the building at 494 Milford Point Road to the French Speaking Baptist Church of Stratford for $400,000 in June.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation that had met on Milford Point Road merged with other congregations in Orange and Stratford, according to spokesman Bryce Hemmelgarn.
Hemmelgarn said the sale and merger is typical of what is taking place on the national level. He said the consolidation is not because of shrinking numbers but rather growing numbers of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The majority of growth has been in foreign language congregations, he said.
A study completed about five years ago indicated there was room in existing Kingdom Halls to house the growth.
Instead of buying new buildings, current halls were being looked at to incorporate other congregations, sometimes by offering different time slots.
“Evidence showed there was enough space to merge and share times,” Hemmelgarn said, adding that “full is ideal.”
Funds garnered by sales like the Milford sale are redirected to Bible and educational work in the United States and other countries, he said.
By Guest Nicole
A collage of photos of Liza Jade Parker and her children were displayed during a graveside service Saturday afternoon celebration her life. Parker died last week when her car crashed into a heavily wooded median along the northbound lanes of Interstate 95 in Old Town.
An estimated 250 people gathered Saturday afternoon in a small cemetery in Wytopitlock to celebrate the young mother whose life was abruptly cut short last week in a crash off Interstate 95 in Old Town.
Liza Jade Parker, 26, died after her car crashed Sept. 24 into a heavily wooded median strip along the northbound lanes of Interstate 95 in Old Town. Her two small children, 5-year-old Mason Worcester and 1½-year-old Tiaona Robinson, were secured in car seats and suffered minor injuries.
Parker’s car was not found until the following day, when it was spotted by a passing tractor-trailer driver, according to police.
Saturday’s graveside service took place on a sunny, cool, crisp autumn day at Evergreen Cemetery, where her great-grandparents, Dale and Wilma Dow, are buried.
Set up near the Dows’ grave was a display of photos of Parker and her children, a framed poem, pink flowers and candles and some mementos from her childhood, including the tiny pink dress she wore home from the hospital shortly after she was born.
“I wouldn’t have it any other place and neither would Liza,” her brother, Rory Parker of West Palm Beach, Florida, said before the service began.
Parker’s grandmother, Marilyn Dow, said she and her husband, Rodger, were devastated by the untimely death because out of all of their 12 grandchildren, she was the only granddaughter.
“Liza was his diamond. That’s what he called her. It’s terrible at home, terrible. You can’t expect anything different,” Dow said.
“We would feel the same if we lost any of our family members, any of our other grandchildren but the difficult part is that she was the only granddaughter,” Dow said. “ She was Puppa’s girl. They had a wonderful relationship.”
Dow said she, Liza’s mother Shauna Dow and several other family members were drawing strength from the Jehovah’s Witness community to which they belong.
On hand were family, friends and many of the people who were part of the support network that helped her beat an addiction to heroin more than a year ago.
Parker’s success on that front captured the attention of Gov. Paul LePage, who held her up as a role model during a visit from former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and senior presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway.
During the service, Brother Rory Merrill from the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Bangor shared memories about the young mother that family and friends told to him.
Common themes from those who knew her included her devotion to her children, her smile and the twinkle in her eye and the strength and courage she showed during her battle with addiction.
Rory Parker had this to say:
“Liza did not suffer. She left this world in the best possible version of herself and her life. She was amazing. I miss my sister. I love my sister and always will.”
Parker was reported missing after she did not show up in Howland for a meeting with her son’s father in Howland scheduled for Sept. 24.
It’s still not clear what caused the crash, which remains under investigation by Maine State Police.
“It was just an accident. She drifted off the road,” her brother Rory said. “She died instantly. She did not suffer.”
Parker died from head and neck injuries she suffered in the crash, according to autopsy results released Wednesday by Mark Belserene, spokesman for the state medical examiner’s office. Belserene also said the manner of her death was ruled accidental.
By The Librarian
3 days because there were 3 KH auditoriums in one.....A LOT of work
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