Sanford Stands Tall for Religious Freedom

Posted by Archbishop Edward Ford (October 18, 2012 at 10:39 am)

One week before the nation-wide Rally For Religious Freedom takes place elsewhere in the country, Sanford, Maine held its own Rally For Religious Freedom on October 13th at Gowen Park in the heart of Sanford here in York County, Maine. The date was chosen to avoid a conflict with the state Right-To-Life Convention which takes place on the 20th and would not allow many Right-To-Lifers to attend the Rally. We were very fortunate to have received great cooperation from the Town Park and Recreation Department and the support of the Sanford Police Department in seeing to it that the site was made available to us and that all went smoothly.

Gathering at the Gazebo

Nearly 100 Mainers and people from nearby New Hampshire joined their voices together to stand-up for and to defend the principles of Religious Freedom guaranteed to all Americans by our founding fathers. They gathered at the gazebo in the town’s Gowen Park and were led in prayer and song while hearing two prominent speakers layout the case for and the need to defend our Religious Freedom rights at this crucial time in our nation’s history.

About a half-mile away in town, down the road from us, another rally America Needs Fatima – Rosary Rally with about 40 attendees, was taking place, and while the two rallies were not officially connected, they kept each other in prayer and intention for a mutual success of all our efforts.

The sight of so many young people actively participating and genuinely interested and enthused with the idea of defending their own and our Religious Freedoms, was gratifying to all present. Three young people (Andrew Aguilo, Carol Schumaker and Sarah Lawrence) from one of our local Christian Schools (Prince of Peace Christian School) read passages from the Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution and the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. Boy Scouts from Troop 324 in Sanford posted and retired the colors to open and close our program and one of the scouts led the gathering in the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem.

Andrew Aguilo reads from the Declaration of Independence

Carol Schumaker reads the Preamble to the Constitution

Sarah Lawrence reads the First Amendment

Rev Gass welcomes people to the Rally

The opening prayer was led by Bishop Rex Ferrar of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Sanford while the closing prayer was delivered by the Reverend Terry Courtney of Mt Zion Chapel in Wells, who is also the father and grandfather of two local men running for the US Senate and the State House of Representatives here in Maine. The Reverend Neil Gass of Sanford’s First Baptist Church served as Master of Ceremonies.




Stephen C Whiting, Esq.


Stephen C Whiting, Esquire, an attorney from Portland and a staunch pro-lifer was our first speaker. Steve has represented many clients (churches, Christian Schools, home-schoolers, and various individuals) in court cases involving Religious, Constitutional and Civil Rights over the years. He has also worked closely with the Christian Coalition and the Maine Christian Civic League.




Fr Jim King addresses the Rally

Father James King, Rector of the Charismatic Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit in Portland, Maine was the second speaker of the day. Father Jim is known for his public speaking abilities, his vigorous pro-life stand and for his extensive civic and Christian activism.

The combination of these two speakers focused the ralliers on the magnitude of the HHS Mandate and the threats it poses to Religious Liberties and Freedom and further guided us in the path of a true, religious, but activist defense of our God-given and constitutionally guaranteed rights under the Constitution.


Voter Registration with Sue Cote


Ms Sue Cote, the Sanford Town Registrar of Voters was on hand at a special table to enable persons who wished to register to vote, with an opportunity right there at the rally to do so.




The Reverend Peter French of God’s House on the Hill Church in Springvale assembled a team of local musicians and singers to lead us in song during the rally. The music included God Bless the USA, The Battle Hymn of the Republic, God Bless America, My Country T’is of Thee and Amazing Grace. The Rally music began with a recorded rendition of the National Anthem and a similar rendition of the National Hymn (God of Our Fathers) provided by our own DJ, John McIntosh.


Flags and signs abounded throughout the rally while Fact Sheets were handed out, and a table was provided to enable the attendees to take several of the many different Voter Guides that we had available, aong with rally buttons, flag stickers, pamphlets, brochures and several CD’s… all on Relgious Freedom and related topics.




Our display table

All in all, the day and the rally were a great success here in the easternmost state of the union, and despite the cold, brisk, weather and blowing wind, a warm and gratifying sense of accomplishment was felt by all. An added bonus was the fact that this rally brought together people from many churches in the county who had never before particpated or cooperated with each other on a joint venture or topic…sure and certain proof that this was God’s work, and blessed by Him, and we very much have our Prayer Support Partners led by Ms Bonita Dube to thank for their much needed prayerful support throughout the preparation and duration of the rally.

Editor’s Note: The Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally in Sanford, Maine was captained by Archbishop Edward J. Ford, the Eighth Primate of The North American Old Roman Catholic Church.



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