From left: Rep Josh Morris, Ann and Paul LePage,, Blue Keim, Senator Lisa Keim, and Rep. Sheila Lyman. Submitted photo

JAY — It was an incredible Sunday at New Life Baptist Church of Jay. The church set aside this Sunday, Sept. 11,  to honor area first responders. The fire departments of Jay, Livermore Falls, Livermore, Wilton and Dixfield were all invited along with the Livermore Falls, Jay, and Wilton police department, as well as the Franklin County Sheriff’s department. Former Governor Paul LePage was there as special speaker to honor the first responder who attended. In speaking to honor those who serve, LePage pointed out the need for more police officers in Maine. “As of the first of the month, there was 528 vacancies in local, county, and state police.” LePage lamented the fact that hundreds of first responders lost their jobs because they refused to take a vaccination, and they were not allowed to collect unemployment. He went on to say that in 2020, our first responders “became the heroes of America. In 2021, they became the zeroes of America.” He pointed out that Maine was the only state in the country that treated the heroes of the pandemic so poorly. Maine was the only state that did not allow masking or testing options. He declared that to be poor treatment for people who should be honored for saving lives. LePage clearly thanked the first responders for saving lives. “Every day, our first responders get up, put on their uniform, say ‘bye’ to their family, and hope that they’ll be back in the evening. Sometimes, they don’t… today, we say thank you for the service of our first responders. We pray for you. We hope that you can leave every morning and come back every evening, healthy, be with you family and your loved ones, and it is so, so, important that we learn to start respecting our first responders.”

After the church choir sang, Pastor Grimbilas spoke from 2 Samuel chapter 23 about a military leader in Israel named Benaiah. He brought up the fact that Benaiah had proven to be a valiant man. The parallel was drawn between those who served as first responders, men and women who had proven themselves valiant in their service. Pastor Grimbilas then explained the characteristics of Benaiah’s life that helped him become valiant. It began with the fact the Behaiah understood faith. He was raised as the son of a priest, and would have learned about God, and the Word of God at an early age. It continued as he stepped out on faith to join young David, who was on the run from the king. It grew as David went on to become king. Without faith, Benaiah could not have been valiant enough to help David in a time of great need. The next point made by the pastor was that Benaiah understood the need for action. It was here the parallel was drawn to the brave actions of our first responders today, who put their lives on the line for others. It was pointed out that Jesus laid down His life for each one of us, so that we could be rescued and given a new home in heaven. Benaiah also understood courage, claimed Pastor Grimbilas, who went on to explain that courage was not the absence of fear, but rather the will to take action in spite of the fear. He declared his thankfulness that we have first responders with courage. Finally, Pastor Grimbilas explained that Benaiah understood the need for continuation. Benaiah grew to be valiant, helped David train Solomon, and Benaiah served Solomon when he became king. Dr. Grimbilas then pointed out the need for us today to train up young people with the character needed to carry on doing right, helping others and saving lives.

After the message, Dr. Grimbilas introduced other guests, including Representative Sheila Lyman, Representative Josh Morris, and Senator Lisa Keim who were also in attendance to honor those who serve as first responders. All guests received gifts from New Life Baptist Church as a thank you for being there, either as a first responder, or to support the first responders.” Following the service, a meal was provided for all who were in attendance. It was great time to spend saying “thank you” to those who put their lives on the line on our communities.

In the afternoon, Pastor Grimbilas spoke on the topic, “What the Church Needs To Do.” He made four simple points from Jeremiah chapter four. The church is to declare the Word of God. The church is to assemble together to worship and teach the Word of God. The church is to put up the standard. We declare ourselves to belong to Jesus Christ. Do we have the sense of right living that He taught? Do we shun sin the way Christ shunned sin? Do we love like Christ loves us? These are the standards we should hold to. Do we plan to make a stand for Christ when the world challenges our freedom to live the way Scripture says we should? Following the afternoon service, the church discussed upcoming renovations to the building, including the addition of a new youth center and plans for the upcoming world missions conference.

Pastor Grimbilas was excited about all the upcoming plans and events. Everyone is invited to visit the 10:30 a.m. Sunday morning services of New Life Baptist Church, which is located at 66 Hyde Rd in Jay. For more information, people can visit the church website,

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