The Sixth Sunday after EASTER May 26, 2019

8 am Sermon by the Rev. Steve Hayward
The Rev Steve Hayward & Guest Preacher The Rev Donna Downs
10 am Sermon by The Rev Donna Downs
10 am Full Service
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From the Interim’s Pew

The Rev. Steve Hayward

Winter has given in to a long, wet spring as we await our “snow birds” and the return of summer.

Meanwhile we charge ahead to be the church in the “meantime” – working while waiting for God’s call to settle on the next rector for St Francis Church. I am grateful to all of you who have either continued to serve or who have jumped in to support our ministry. There is nothing a new rector would love more than to walk into a parish that is busy about its tasks even as it awaits new leadership.

One thing that is true in all churches is that only a small percentage of the members do most of the work. The Alban institute would tell you that about 20% of us are engaged in the weekly and monthly routines that make our life go. In a really active congregation it might be 30-40%. But in smaller churches like St Francis, which has an average attendance of 75, we need even greater participation or the core leadership will simply burnout – including your rector (or even the Interim, perhaps!).

St Francis has an impressive cadre of active leaders, and it carries a pretty heavy agenda for its size. To continue apace, we need each of you to find your place in our common life.

A good start is simply to join us each Sunday morning. And there are simple ways to help when you’re here – lectors and intercessors; acolytes and Eucharistic Ministers; Altar Guild and Flower Guild, Children’s Education, Coffee Hour and Adult Education planning and implementation. It takes a village as they say.Beyond Sundays, there are the outreach and inreach ministries that are the heart of the Gospel. The members of the Outreach Committee can provide opportunities, but they can’t accomplish it all without our help.

I hope each of you will and will continue to find ways to accomplish part of your ministry through your life at St Francis by the Sea.


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Sunday, May 19, Sermon by Rev. Steve Hayward


Easter 5, 2019

“Love one another as I have loved you.”     John 13

In this Easter season we are back at the table of the Last Supper this morning, and Jesus is delivering his Last Will and Testament – the New Commandment: Love one another as I have loved you. ”But the central figure in this story is not necessarily Jesus. It isn’t the Beloved Disciples who sits at the Lord’s right hand. It isn’t Peter.  Instead, the focus of the story is Judas, the Betrayer. Continue reading

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Sunday, May 12, Sermon by Rev. Steve Hayward


Mothers’ Day, the 4th Sunday of Easter, 2019

“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand.”                      —  John 10

I’m not sure whether it was simply a coincidence or whether somebody planned it, but it happens that Mothers’ Day often falls on Good Shepherd Sunday, and so it is often easy to link the two celebrations if you happened to have had a mother such as mine. Rosemary Barber Hayward came out of the hills of Ogden, Utah  where she was born in 1911.  She brought with her a strong arm, a strong faith, and an unrelenting love for her family – especially her four boys. Continue reading

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Sunday with the Presiding Bishop

You are invited to join us for a special worship service at the Ocean Park Temple with guest preacher, the Most Rev. Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church.

Bishop Curry is excited to be in Maine with us to share the good news of Jesus Christ with everyone not just Episcopalians but people of all faiths and even those who are “just looking”.

The Temple at Orchard Park is a historic, interdenominational  space open only during the summer months. We are thrilled that Bishop Curry is the first preacher for the 2019 season.

Remember how Bishop Curry captivated the world with his words at the Royal Wedding last year?  Well, this will be an extraordinary opportunity to hear Bishop Curry preach in his inimitable style.

Bishop Curry is quick to say it is not about him. Rather, it is the message itself. “The God who loves us into being and redeems us envisions more for us than we can imagine. Our call, in faith and hope, is to live in to that dream by following in the footsteps of Jesus – not just in our heads, but with our hears, and with our feet.”

If you cannot join us, you will be able to see the sermon via live stream or a recorded version on the Diocese of Maine website. And, in case you don’t already know, Bishop Curry will be back with us in Bangor, Maine on 2 May 2020 to help us celebrate the Bicentennial (200th) Anniversary of the Episcopal Diocese in Maine.

Click on the link below to register.

Thank you for your attention and response. We look forward to seeing you at the service.
John Hennessy
Episcopal Diocese of Maine
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A Letter from the Discernment Committee

Guide us, Holy Spirit, to share our thoughts openly and honestly, respect the opinion of others, and encourage humility, patience, and joy as we search for our new rector. Help us move through our doubts until we discern your calm wisdom.

April 26, 2019

Dear Friends,

Part of the discernment process is to understand the direction we as a congregation want St. Francis Church to take and discern who should lead us in that direction.  To that end, The Episcopal Diocese of Maine has a list of questions for the congregation to answer that are the same questions each candidate will answer.  The hope is that we find similarity in values, religious views, and goals.

The answers are meant to be short, no more than 1200 characters, and should reflect what you feel is most important about St. Francis.  The Rev. Canon Michael Ambler, our guide in this process, suggests that focusing in on one event rather than listing several tends to more accurately reflect our values. Please feel free to change or adapt any questions to meet your needs.  We would like the questionnaires returned by June 9th.

The questions can seem a bit obscure, so the Discernment Committee will be holding three gatherings to discuss them together for those available and interested. The gatherings will be:

Friday, May 10th at 5:30.  This will be a potluck and Rev. Ambler will be
joining us. (This date is a correction from a previous letter.)

Sunday, May 19th after church.

Friday, June 7th at 6:00.  This will be a pizza party, with movies for the kids.

We hope you will join us for at least one if not all three events.  I’m sure we will have a few laughs as we enjoy each other’s company while tackling the questionnaire.

We welcome all questions, comments, and suggestions and encourage everyone to participate.  Thank you for your involvement and support.


Sarah Everdell, Chair

Members of the Discernment Committee are Ruth Billings, Charity Chung, Heather Ford, Peter Gilchrist, Sue Grindle, Kate Mulrenin, Robert Publicover.


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Questions for the Search Process

A printable pdf version of this questionnaire is available by clicking on this link.
St. Francis Discernment questionnaire

Please print and return this form by June 9th to:
St. Francis Episcopal Church
PO Box 76
Blue Hill, Maine 04614

In 1200 or fewer characters each, please answer the following questions:

1. Describe a moment in your worshiping community’s recent ministry that you recognize as one of success and fulfillment.

2. Describe your liturgical style and practice. If your community provides more than one type of worship, describe all.

3. How do you practice incorporating others in ministry?

4. As a worshiping community, how do you care for your spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being?

5. Describe your worshiping community’s involvement in either the wider Church or geographical region.

6. How do you engage in pastoral care beyond your worshiping community?

7. Tell about a ministry your worshiping community has initiated in the past five years.  Who can be contacted about this?

8. How are you preparing yourself for the Church of the future?

9. What is your practice of stewardship and how does it shape the life of your worshiping community?

  1. What is your worshiping community’s experience with conflict? And how have you addressed it?

11. What is your experience leading/addressing change in the church?  When has it gone well?  When has it gone poorly?  And what did you learn?

12.  In no more than four descriptors of one or two words each:  Provide words describing the gifts and skills essential to the future leaders of your worship community.

For the next two questions, please mark on the line where you feel St. Francis should focus:

13. to heal wounds________________________________________to serve the

14. to be cared for_____________________________________to care for others

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A Green Light for Bishop-Elect Thomas Brown

Today, (April 11, 2019) Presiding Bishop Michael J. Curry announced that a majority of the bishops with jurisdiction and a majority of diocesan standing committees of The Episcopal Church have consented to the election of the Rev. Thomas J. Brown as the Tenth Bishop of Maine.

In The Episcopal Church, a bishop is elected for the whole Church and now the whole church has spoken and affirmed our election.

Meanwhile, the Standing Committee and the Trustees of the Diocese of Maine, along with Thomas, agreed to the terms of an Episcopal Letter of Agreement. We will complete the signing process in the coming days. Thomas isn’t a bishop yet; that will happen when he is ordained and consecrated as the Tenth Bishop of Maine on June 22, 2019, at St. Luke’s Cathedral in Portland.

During Holy Week and a good part of Eastertide, we’ll all enter into a time where gracious space is made for Thomas and Tom to get settled into their home and rest up a bit from the excitement of the transition. Starting on May 6, Thomas will be closely working with Bishop Steve at Loring House and around the diocese.

We rejoice in the completion of this important phase of our election process. We are grateful for all who faithfully participated in our quest for the Tenth Bishop. Many wheels are turning as Thomas, and his husband, Tom, make their way to Maine this week and settle into their home in Portland. In March, their friends and their two parish churches in Massachusetts gave both of them heartfelt and loving farewell celebrations.

Together, they will be determining their schedules throughout May and June.

Nobody knows right away how to be a bishop. That happens in the fullness of time. It will be Steve and Thomas’ work to collaborate together as Thomas leans into “learning the ropes”.

Keep watch on the website for the latest information on the Farewell events for the Lanes in May and the details of Thomas+ Ordination on June 22. Seats at the cathedral are limited, and each parish will be given a limited number of tickets. We also expect a number of bishops from across the Church to join in our celebration. The entire Consecration will be live-streamed and we invite you to begin planning now for a “Watch Party” at your parish so everyone can enjoy this very happy day.

Again, on behalf of the Standing Committee, we want to extend our deepest thanks to all who have brought us to this day with your faithful participation and prayers during our quest to call the Tenth Bishop of Maine.

We believe the Holy Spirit continues to walk with us as we move more deeply into this season of transition.

Let us pray: We give you thanks, O God, that you have called us to a goodly fellowship of faith in the Diocese of Maine. In the power of the Spirit, you have guided us in the election of the Tenth Bishop. We ask your blessings on all our people, especially on Bishop Lane, Bishop Elect Brown and their households that each may move safely into their new callings and that, together, we may work to strengthen and share your Mission among us. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.

The Rev. Maria J. Hoecker, President, Standing Committee
The Rt. Rev. Stephen T. Lane, Ninth Bishop of Maine
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It WAS a Wonderful Week at St. Francis

We held six services during Holy Week, commemorating Jesus’ finals days before his death, and resurrection.


Sunday, April 14, 10 a.m.

Sunday, April 14, 10 a.m

Palm Sunday 10 am Sermon by The Rev. Steve Hayward

The traditional Liturgy of the Palms service began with everyone picking up a fresh palm leaf to wave during the processional and includes The Passion Gospel from the book of Luke.

The Full Palm Sunday Service
including the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke.

by itself: The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke.
Narrator: Maurine Tobin Jesus: Bob Publicover
joined by members of the Congregation.

Maundy Thursday, April 18, 7 p.m.

The Maundy Thursday Service is held to commemorate Jesus’ last supper with his friends and his commandment, “As I have loved you, you should also love one another.” (John 13:34)

7pm Maundy Thursday Sermon by the Rev. Steve Hayar
7pm Maunday Thursday full Service

Following the ancient tradition, based on Jesus’ washing of the disciples feet, the congregation is offered the option of having their feet washed by The Rev. Steve Hayward or by someone else of their choice as well.

The service ends on a poignant note as the altar and all decorative furnishings are removed and the lights dimmed; communicants leave in silence.

Good Friday

Friday, April 19, noon. The Good Friday Ecumenical Service is to commemorate Jesus’ crucifixion.

Clergy and members of the congregations of the First Baptist and First Congregational churches in Blue Hill joined those from St. Francis in a deeply meaningful service of The Stations of the Cross.

Good Friday Noon Stations of the Cross

At 5:00 p.m. we had an Episcopal Liturgy Service. The Passion Gospel was read, followed by the solemn Collects which date back to the 3rd and 4th Centuries. The service concluded with brief devotions and a final prayer.

The 5 pm Good Friday Sermon by the Rev. Steve Hayward
The full Good Friday 5 pm Service which includes The Passion narrated by the Rev. Dr. Carlton Russell.

Saturday, April 20, 7 p.m. Easter Vigil

The service began in darkness as the new light of Christ’s radiance was ignited marking Jesus’ passing over from death to life.

It is by this light that the sacred story of God’s saving acts is told, prayer and praise are offered, and we celebrate the Easter sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist. Drawing on this ancient tradition, therefore, this service becomes the first celebration of Jesus’s resurrection at Easter.

The Full Service including the lighting of the fire and PaschalCandle celebrated by the Rev Steve Hayward. The Cantor is the Rev. Dr. Carlton Russell.
The Easter Vigil Sermon by the Rev. Steve Hayward.

Easter Morning Sunday, April 21, 10 a.m

A Festival Eucharist will be held as the high point of the week. Jesus’ resurrection is celebrated with word, special music, and flowers symbolizing Christ’s new life among us.

After the service, at Coffee Hour, the Joy of Easter is celebrated with great food and fellowship.

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A Very Loving Goodbye!

Sunday March 3rd was a day of celebration and goodbye at St. Francis as our beloved Rector of 11 plus years the Rev. Claudia Smith retired.

Rev. Claudia gets the first bite of the cake from organizer Mary Boyd
Senior Warden Bob Publicover reading a letter from Bishop “Steve” Lane.
Representing the Vestry, Sarah Everdell presents a special edition plaque to Rev. Claudia.
What is Persis Williams laughing at??

Rev. Claudia who has given us so much decided to present us with her sunglasses.
Her nod to the bright future for St. Francis.

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Claudia’s Farewell Thank You Note!

March 17, 2019

Dear Friends,

I am writing this on a Sunday morning, two weeks after my final day as your rector. Please forgive my taking so long to thank you for the terrific send-off you gave me. In part the delay is because I have been hustling to get my new home in South Portland ready for the move; but in part it has taken this long to process all of the emotions retiring as your rector has triggered.

Your farewell celebration was truly lovely and I thank you. Although I know many of you contributed in a myriad of ways, I would be remiss if I didn’t identify a few of you in particular for your roles in making the day so meaningful. First, thank you to Bob Publicover for coordinating the day’s activities and sharing the messages written by the Vestry and the Bishop. Many thanks to the Carlton Russell for composing a special Celtic Blessing just for me and to Lorna Russell and the choir for performing it so well.  A big thank you also goes to Mary Boyd (and the minions that assisted her) for organizing a truly wonderful coffee hour feast.  Nora Schroeder gets a special thank you as well; not for just escorting me out at the recessional (her “job” since she was a very small girl) but also for giving us all the permission for one last good cry. And finally to all of you who contributed to the very generous “purse” I was given to help me get resettled. Trust me, it is greatly appreciated and already has been put to good use.

I don’t know if the title “Rector Emeritus” is a real thing. But I love that the vestry bestowed that title on me in their farewell proclamation because of the way it speaks to the fact that we will always be connected if in no other way than at the level of the heartstrings that bind us together regardless of location. Please know that my life has been deeply blessed by my years as your rector and you will be in my prayers always.

With deep and abiding affection,

Claudia Wyatt Smith+

Rector Emeritus

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Claudia’s Final Sunday at St. Francis March 3, 2019

The 10 am Sermon by the Rev. Claudia Wyatt Smith.

This special service included a prayer for Claudia written and read by Milissa LaLonde and Katie MacLeod

The full 10 am Service celebrated by the Rev. Claudia Wyatt Smith.

At the end of the service there is a “A Celtic Blessing” written by Minister of Music The Rev. Dr. Carlton for Claudia for her last service. It is a piece written for her on a text appropriate to Epiphany Last.

Ministers of Music Dr. Carlton and Lorna Russell,
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A gift that WILL keep on giving!!

A reminder from the Planned Giving Committee. Do you have a traditional IRA. If so, and you are 70 1/2, you might want to make a distribution from that IRA to St. Francis to complete your 2018 pledge (or as an additional gift). As a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD), the amount would not be included in your income but would qualify as part of your required minimum distribution from the IRA. If you have questions, a chat with your tax advisor or IRA custodian might be helpful.

Tim Thomas

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