At South China Community Church, we are a multi- denominational Christian church and are congregational in government. We believe our purpose is to worship God as revealed through Jesus Christ our Lord. We have a strong Biblical foundation, accepting God’s Word as our only rule for faith and practice. Our worship is traditional and contemporary as we try to meet the needs of people of all ages and backgrounds. Together, we learn, grow, share and offer fellowship in Christian love.
Simply put, most of us come from different church backgrounds. Our former ties still hold meaning for us, so we celebrate them by incorporating them into our life together here at SCCC. We were congregational, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and many other denominations and we employ modes of worship and operation from them all. We welcome input from our members to retain the best of what we once were in our new church. Thus, we are not affiliated with any one denomination, but we hold emotional ties with many. Our aim is to challenge each other to become new creations in Christ, centering ourselves in Him in word and deed and letting go of that which divides us from one another.
by David Preston/reprinted from the Town Line January 17, 2013)
For Paul Harwath it has been a long trip from hanging out of an airplane filming the Blue Angels flying corps to leaning over a pulpit on Sunday. The new pastor of So China Community Church has worn many hats throughout his interesting career starting out as a videographer and television journalist in Rockford, Illinois. There he covered a wide array of stories, including shooting the Blue Angels while dangling from an airplane harness, interviewing the 91-year old archbishop of the Russian Orthodox Church, meeting two presidents and Bob Hope, and covering baseball. A skilled video-photographer, he also produced many TV commercials, including five ads for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.
These ads were so successful, the church administrator recognized Paul’s talent and urged him to devote himself full-time to the church. Always a strong Christian, Paul decided to take the plunge and trade in his video camera to follow God. While at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, he found himself having to defend biblical teachings against some of his doubting professors. After successfully obtaining a Master of Theology degree, he was told that the funding for further church advertising was gone, and his services weren’t needed! It seems God had other plans for Paul.
Paul was then called to St. Paul’s Lutheran church in Holstein, Iowa, to serve as Youth and Family Minister. Later, he took a position in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, as minister at St. Francis House, a homeless shelter. There, Paul worked with homeless families and prison parolees. While Pastor Paul says he enjoyed the challenge of trying to help the disadvantaged, he longed to pastor a church of his own.
Luckily for us in South China, Paul answered the call and became the minister in 2012, replacing retiring Pastor James Ferrone. “I never really intended to take the position,” says Paul, “but when I came for a visit, I fell in love with the people here and the beauty of the area. Everyone was so welcoming!”
Paul also had his eye on the surrounding lakes and forests. An avid outdoorsman, he is a devotee of primitive bow hunting, and prefers to shoot his deer with bows and arrows that he has made himself. His skill as a craftsman extends to carpentry, which he learned from his dad. Paul has plenty of opportunity to hone his carpentry skills fixing up an old 1840s cape-style house he bought in Albion.
“It’s a real fixer-upper, to put , it mildly,” Paul quips, “but it’ll look great when it’s done,” he adds with characteristic optimism.
His congregation really enjoys his Sunday sermons, often sprinkled with stories of his real-life adventures. Although Paul enjoys preaching, he admits that he likes making home and hospital visits to people unable to get to church even more. Paul has also capitalized on his experience with youth ministry and the outdoors to start a youth group for teens at South China Community Church. He has led canoe trips, camp-outs, and even a lesson in metal detecting, another hobby of this eclectic minister.
From TV journalist in Illinois to country pastor in Maine, Pastor Paul has covered a lot of ground. Come check out Paul and our church! Don’t forget to stay for delicious food and some friendly Maine chatter after the service. For more information, please call Pastor Paul at 207-385-0799 or at 207-314-3551.