He Is Risen Indeed!

The Rev. Claudia Smith
Rector St. Francis by the Sea

Dear friends,

I write this at a time when here in Maine we have been blessed with a number of springtime days with abundant sun, warm temperatures and blooming crocuses. After a cold and snowy winter the joy of these days is palpable and can be seen on the smiles of people I meet as I go throughout my day.

Of course one only has to turn on the television or read a newspaper to have that joy dashed and turned to fear. These are dangerous days around the world as bombs are dropped, threats are made, and military resources are moved to within striking distance of enemy’s borders. Regardless of one’s political affiliation there is no denying that these are fearful times.

How appropriate that Matthew’s account of the resurrection speaks to this mixture of joy and fear.

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.” So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” (Matthew 28:1-10)

On the one hand, the message delivered by the angels is clear and compelling. Their message -“do not be afraid” – is in many ways the hallmark of good news that is announced throughout Scripture by angels and messengers at key moments of tension and drama in the biblical story. But on the other hand these women have just been witnesses to the crucifixion of their beloved teacher and now, as they go to perform the prescribed rituals for his burial, the earth literally shakes and they see an apparition speaking to them. Surely any joy they felt at the reassuring words of this angel saying “do not be afraid” had to have been tinged with great fear and misgiving. And yet, it was here, scripture tells us – in this place of mixed feelings – that they have an encounter with the risen Christ and told to go and share this ultimate good new with others.

Like them, in the midst of life’s joys and fears, Christ is waiting to meet us. Our Presiding Bishop, +Michael Curry, in his Easter message speaks about Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday as an intentional act to contrast God’s way with that of the Roman Empire whose troops were entering the city through another gate. He writes: “Jesus entered the city at the same time as Pilate to show them, and to show us, that God has another way….The way of unselfish, sacrificial love. That’s why he went to the cross. It was the power of that love poured out from the throne of God that even after the horror of the crucifixion would raise him from death to life.

God came among us in the person of Jesus to start a movement. A movement to change the face of the earth. A movement to change us who dwell upon the earth. A movement to change the creation from the nightmare that is often made of it into the dream that God intends for it.” [watch the Presiding Bishop’s message at the link below]

So in the season of Easter, as we celebrate that “Christ is Risen,” even as we experience fear over the state of our world; may we allow ourselves to deeply consider that Christ’s resurrection truly means. In the words of our Presiding Bishop, it tells us “That not even the titanic powers of death can stop the love of God.  On that Easter morning, he rose from the dead, and proclaimed love wins.

So you have a blessed Easter. Go forth to be people of the Resurrection. Follow in the way of Jesus. Don’t be ashamed to love. Don’t be ashamed to follow Jesus.

Have a blessed Easter.  And bless the world.  Amen.”



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2nd Sunday of Easter Sermon and Full Service for You

The Saint Francis by the Sea Full 10 am Second Sunday of Easter service.

The Second Sunday of Easter 10 am Sermon by Saint Francis by the Sea Rector, The Rev. Claudia Wyatt Smith:Audio Player 


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Easter Sunday Sermon and Full Service for You

The Easter Morning 10 am Sermon by Saint Francis by the Sea Rector, The Rev. Claudia Wyatt Smith:

The Saint Francis by the Sea Full 10 am Easter Morning service, including The Sunday School Singers:

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Easter Vigil Service and Sermon for You

The St. Francis by the Sea Easter Vigil service begins in darkness as the new light of Christ’s radiance is ignited marking Jesus’ passing over from death to life. It is by this light that the sacred story of God’s saving acts are told, prayer and praise are offered. Drawing on this ancient tradition therefore, this service becomes the first Eucharistic celebration of Jesus’s resurrection at Easter.

Sermon by guest preacher The Rev. Bob Tobin:

The full St. Francis by the Sea Easter Vigil service was celebrated by Saint Francis by the Sea Rector, The Rev. Claudia Wyatt Smith:

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The Good Friday Ecumenical Service of The Stations of the Cross commemorating Jesus’ crucifixion.

This solemn  service was led by:
The Rev. Doug Drown,  the North Sedgwick Baptist Church
Rev. Gary Brinn, First Congregational Church of Blue Hill
The Rev. Claudia Wyatt Smith, St. Francis by the Seat Episcopal Church
Lorna Russell, Organist


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Maundy Thursday Sermon and Full Service for You

The Monday Thursday Sermon by Lay Preacher Heather Ford, April 13, 2017:

The Maundy Thursday 7 pm Service was celebrated by Saint Francis by the Sea Rector, The Rev. Claudia Wyatt Smith:

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This Palm Sunday’s Sermon and Full Service for You!

The April 9, 2017, Palm Sunday Sermon by guest preacher, the executive director of Camp Bishopswood, Mike Douglas.  Located in the beautiful woods of mid-coast Maine, Bishopswood is an Episcopal coed overnight camp affordable and open to all youths ages 6-16 :

Click here for more on Camp Bishopswood.

The Saint Francis by the Sea Full 10 am Palm Sunday service on April 9, 2017 including the short version of The Passion :

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A Special Lenten Tradition

At the Ash Wednesday services, Rev. Claudia Smith explained the huge copper bowl at the Baptismal Font:

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Warming relations over a long distance!

by Bob Publicover, St. Francis by the Sea Senior Warden

Last fall a group of Maine Episcopalians from a dozen congregations (including St. Francis) traveled to Israel and Palestine. 16-10-29 Ramallah Voc Schl - 1 (2)The Episcopal Peace Fellowship (EPF)/Diocese of Maine pilgrimage was and is focused on the life and experience of Palestinian Christians. We learned about their work in the region as well as the worship of the Episcopal Church and other Christian communities; the life of Christians today as they live either under Israeli occupation in East Jerusalem and the West Bank or as they live as second class citizens of Israel under dozens of discriminatory laws.

As Pilgrimage co-organizer Maurine Tobin explained, “Like Palestinian Muslims, Christians live under dire circumstances but retain their faith and engagement in life with remarkable steadfastness (samud in Arabic), often supported by Jewish advocates for justice.”

One of our stops was to meet the students of Giovanni Anbar, Director of the Episcopal Technological and Vocational Training Center of Ramallah Founded in 2001.

It’s mission says it is: “To improve the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of Palestinian youth in Ramallah and the surrounding areas so that they can become creative and productive members of society through technological education, vocational training, music and arts instruction, communication skills development, and the building of intercultural understanding.”

Gio’s family, like so many in Palestine, are refugees, forced from their home in Ramle (now in Israel) in 1948 at gun point by the Israeli paramilitary. He has only lived as a refugee.

The Episcopal bishop offered Giovanni Anbar an abandoned building in Ramallah. Somehow over the years, through fund-raising, tenacity, and faith, he has gone from being the sole teacher/administrator of a one room computer lab to director of a program with 25 teachers, an extensive computer training program and a guesthouse/restaurant which acts as a lab for the students in the hotel and hospitality program.

We toured the facility and were moved by what we learned.

It was just one of the many emotional visits on this Pilgrimage.

When we returned to Maine we learned there was money left in the kitty and as a group we decided the fastest help we can provide was warmth. Pilgrimage co-organizers Maurine and Bob Tobin picked up the story just a few weeks ago: “We met with Giovanni Friday evening to present to him the remaining funds from the Diocese of Maine/EPF Pilgrimage, which the group had designated to buy desperately needed heating units for 2 classrooms.

This “before” picture shows students huddled around a small space heater. It has been unusually cold and wet here in the Holy Land and students are trying to work on computers and study in near freezing temperatures with only tiny space heaters for warmth. While the temperatures may not be cold by Maine standards just now, these old stone buildings without central heat are bone chilling.”

Now the heaters are already in place and working.

Gio, students and staff have sent a thank you note for warming their hearts and bodies.

The desire of those of us on the Pilgrimage is to develop an ongoing g relationship with the school so that we in Maine get to know students and faculty and connect personally with the stories of their daily lives.

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There’s Snow Business Like Snow Business…

What do you do with Fresh Snow??

The Sunday School Children of St. Francis by the Sea in Blue Hill, Maine make Snow-women!

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A Life Hack for Faith and Action

At a time when many are discerning how to live-out their faith in their daily lives, the current Adult Form is looking to the teachings of Jesus for guidance by reading together Fr. John Dear’s newest book titled The Beatitudes of Peace.beatitudes-of-peace

“The Beatitudes are the hope and prayer and vision of Jesus…the blueprint for Christian discipleship, the job description of every Christian,” says John Dear.

These stirring meditations are more than mere reflections. They are a call to action, a summons to take up the Beatitudes as a daily handbook for life, written by an internationally known voice for peace and nonviolence. Set against vivid descriptions of peace efforts in places like Afghanistan; Israel; and Los Alamos, New Mexico, Fr. Dear combines scriptural wisdom with practical advice from peacemakers like Gandhi (who regularly read the Beatitudes), Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day, and many more. In each chapter, Dear affirms that the God of peace is alive and at work among us, calling his sons and daughters into the fullness of a life of true, lasting peace.

Please obtain a copy of The Beatitudes of Peace from your favorite bookseller or library and join us on Sundays after coffee hour beginning on Feb. 12th, for what will surely be a lively conversation.

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Bishop Lane’s Post Election Message

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A St. Francis Splash for Young Swimmers

The 2016 St. Francis Fair was a super success!  Thanks to all the hard work by so many volunteers especially our Fair Partner Nichol’s Day Camps and received a sizable portion of the net income to help fund scholarships to the camp.

Here you can hear Fair Co-Chairs Sarah Everdell and Ray Yardy present the check to Nichols’ Day Camps Executive Director Nan Fowler

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St. Francis Going To The Dogs

Or more accurately, Dogs going to St. Francis for the 2016 Blessing of the Animals on October 2nd right after the 10am service.

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And then we moved outside for the Blessing of The Animals by our St. Francis by the Sea rector Rev. Claudia Wyatt Smith.

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