Festival of faith

MILFORD – Ten years ago, Milford United Methodist Church moved into a beautiful new building on a spacious lot on North River Road.

The congregation is going to celebrate that anniversary with a Christian music festival on Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 27-28.

Church members recently talked with the Rev. Casey Collins and "decided the celebration can’t be about us. We’ve got to lift someone up," said Steve Rafter, who was on the building committee 10 years ago and has been planning the festival.

The church already had a relationship with Greater Nashua Habitat for Humanity, so it decided to make the festival a benefit for the nonprofit, which helps needy people build houses for themselves.

The event is called Hopefest 2016, and two nationally known Christian artists, Mark Schultz and Ryan Stevenson, will be the headliners on the evening of Saturday, Aug. 27.

Local artists include Jonas Woods, Ryan Bossie, the band Epic Season, the Rock My Soul Gospel Choir and the New Fellowship Baptist Church Choir.

Gates will open at 9 a.m. Saturday, with Epic Season kicking off the music at 10.

There will be camping on the big field behind the church, and arts and craft vendors, children’s activities and food.

Another New Hampshire Christian music festival, SoulFest, brings several thousand people each summer to the Gunstock Mountain Resort in Gilford.

Rafter said he is hoping for 700-1,000 people, and organizers have been trained on crowd control by the Milford Fire Department.

The field is about the size of a football field and can hold much more than that, Rafter said. There will be overflow parking available in one of the Trombly fields and a shuttle bus.

Greater Nashua Habitat for Humanity serves a 14-town area that extends from Windham to Greenville. Over the last seven years, it has built only seven houses but has done many smaller home projects, said Rafter, who said he thinks many people don’t know it exists.

"We want to raise awareness of the wonderful work they do," Rafter said. "There are plenty of people around here" who could use their help.

The Merrimack Home Depot is donating materials and volunteers, but it is still a huge challenge to put on an event such as this for the first time. Rafter calls it a "leap of faith. … It’s amazing to see how God makes things happen."

Tickets are $50, with no charge for children 12 and younger. For tickets, visit hopefestnh.org.

To volunteer, email info@hopefestnh.org, or call Rafter at 582-1352 or the church office at 673-2669.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.

Festival of faith

To the Editor:

Cheryl Thompson, program manager at Harbor Homes’ BAE Independence Hall, a 26-apartment veteran housing facility located in Manchester, is passionate about helping her residents be their most healthy, prosperous and productive, which naturally includes eating well.

During the early months of this year, Cheryl had the vision to begin a vegetable garden in the backyard of the veterans’ building, and so began planning how to garner donations of supplies to get this idea off the ground.

During the past holiday season, Carolyn McLaughlin, an employee of Harbor Homes in Nashua, was at a Christmas party where her neighbor Ron Christie, owner of the Living Earth Farm in Brookline, excited to offer his assistance, asked her how he could get involved in helping Harbor Homes. It was serendipitous!

Thrilled by the prospect, an Independence Hall resident who is wheelchair bound got the other residents involved, and together they drew up a design and plan for building raised beds that allow anyone – even someone in a wheelchair – the ability to garden. Ron Christie donated materials, expertise and precious time up at Independence Hall to get the beds built and planted, and even designed a water wicking system that keeps the beds hydrated. The garden is already "bearing fruit!"

The veterans who reside at the Manchester facility have plans to come down to Brookline for a day to help Ron on his farm in hopes to give back to him in any way they can, since this is definitely the busiest season of the year on a New England farm. At the same time, the residents are getting exposure to yet another possible career path, and a deeper appreciation of what it takes to eat well.

Donna Albertelli Collins, M.Ed.

Development manager

Harbor Homes, Nashua

Festival of faith

MILFORD – Ten years ago, Milford United Methodist Church moved into a beautiful new building on a spacious lot on North River Road.

The congregation is going to celebrate that anniversary with a Christian music festival on Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 27-28.

Church members recently talked with the Rev. Casey Collins and "decided the celebration can’t be about us. We’ve got to lift someone up," said Steve Rafter, who was on the building committee 10 years ago and has been planning the festival.

The church already had a relationship with Greater Nashua Habitat for Humanity, so it decided to make the festival a benefit for the nonprofit, which helps needy people build houses for themselves.

The event is called Hopefest 2016, and two nationally known Christian artists, Mark Schultz and Ryan Stevenson, will be the headliners on the evening of Saturday, Aug. 27.

Local artists include Jonas Woods, Ryan Bossie, the band Epic Season, the Rock My Soul Gospel Choir and the New Fellowship Baptist Church Choir.

Gates will open at 9 a.m. Saturday, with Epic Season kicking off the music at 10.

There will be camping on the big field behind the church, and arts and craft vendors, children’s activities and food.

Another New Hampshire Christian music festival, SoulFest, brings several thousand people each summer to the Gunstock Mountain Resort in Gilford.

Rafter said he is hoping for 700-1,000 people, and organizers have been trained on crowd control by the Milford Fire Department.

The field is about the size of a football field and can hold much more than that, Rafter said. There will be overflow parking available in one of the Trombly fields and a shuttle bus.

Greater Nashua Habitat for Humanity serves a 14-town area that extends from Windham to Greenville. Over the last seven years, it has built only seven houses but has done many smaller home projects, said Rafter, who said he thinks many people don’t know it exists.

"We want to raise awareness of the wonderful work they do," Rafter said. "There are plenty of people around here" who could use their help.

The Merrimack Home Depot is donating materials and volunteers, but it is still a huge challenge to put on an event such as this for the first time. Rafter calls it a "leap of faith. … It’s amazing to see how God makes things happen."

Tickets are $50, with no charge for children 12 and younger. For tickets, visit hopefestnh.org.

To volunteer, email info@hopefestnh.org, or call Rafter at 582-1352 or the church office at 673-2669.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.