First Sunday after Pentecost Trinity Sunday June 16, 2019

10 am Sermon The Rev. Steve Hayward
Full 10 am service with choir celebrated by the Rev. Steve Hayward
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The Day of Pentecost Sunday June 9, 2019

It was a beautiful day except that the gremlins returned to the St. Francis Audio System. A persistent crackling disrupted most of the service and recording. This part of the sermon was salvaged but Rev. Steve’s set up was not. We pick up where he is referring to his favorite part the Blue Hill Fair.

The Rev. Steve Hayward’s 10 sermon

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Discernment Process Update June 10, 2019

During announcements Discernment Committee Chair Sarah Everdell gave a short update.

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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 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 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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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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From The Vestry January 10, 2019

Dear Friends,

By now you have received the news of our beloved Claudia’s well-deserved retirement. During her almost twelve-year tenure we have grown spiritually and prospered as a faith community. We have faced difficult decisions about the church building, hosted four DownEast Spiritual Life Conferences, collaborated with other churches, welcomed people of different faiths, and enjoyed the benefits of learning and fellowship. And that’s not all. Our children’s ministry was restarted and is expanding. Our Outreach Committee is unmatched in its passion to help our neighbors in need.  We have extraordinary music on a weekly basis, and our eClare gets hundreds of “clicks” on each issue.  We have proved ourselves to be a vital, involved, and caring community.

As your Vestry, we are already at work ensuring a smooth transition. Our first priority is to honor Claudia’s years of loving St. Francis with her heart, mind, and soul. To that end, there will be two celebrations of Claudia’s faithful ministry: the first, on March 3, will be Claudia’s final day as Rector; the second will be held on July 7, when Claudia will return one last time so that she and our summer congregants can bid farewell to one another. If planning and participating in these upcoming celebrations is your passion and talent, please let us hear from you.

Concurrently, we have made certain that the uplifting worship we enjoy at St. Francis will continue without interruption. Already, supply priests are scheduled through May 12, 2019. In addition, we are actively seeking to hire an interim priest to serve St. Francis until our new Rector is called.

In addition, the vestry has appointed Sarah Everdell, our highly respected former Fair Chair and current vestry member, to serve as Chair of the Discernment/Search Committee, which will be charged to identify our next Rector. The vestry will appoint the Committee before the end of February, when its work will begin in earnest. In constituting the Committee, it is the vestry’s top priority that all constituencies of the church be reflected in its membership. Once the Committee has completed its charge, a final recommendation will be made to the vestry, whose responsibility it is to call and contract our new Rector. We anticipate that he or she will be installed as Rector within the next twelve to eighteen months.

The vestry is already consulting with The Reverend Canon Michael Ambler, Canon to the Ordinary for the Diocese of Maine. As the Bishop’s representative he helps to smooth the clergy transition process for the Diocese and for St. Francis.  Michael will visit St. Francis on March 17, 2019, to meet with the congregation. This will be an informative gathering, lots of Q&A, and we hope you will plan to attend.

Finally, please know that each and every member and friend of St. Francis is invited and encouraged to be an active participant in the discernment/search process. We are a talented and committed congregation and everyone’s views are crucial to a successful discernment. We want to hear all of your cares and concerns, as well as your hopes and dreams; and there will be many opportunities over the coming months for you to make them known. In addition, the Search/Discernment Committee will provide regular updates to the vestry and to the congregation throughout the entire process, via announcements, eClare, and on our website.  
We have come such a long way together. With God’s help, under Claudia’s dedicated leadership, and with your active and positive participation, St. Francis is a grateful, grace-filled, and healthy congregation. We are a steadfast worshiping community of the faithful, committed to the care of our neighbors. As such, St. Francis is unique here in Blue Hill, on the Peninsula, and in the state of Maine. We are the kind of church our next Rector cannot help falling in love with. We are connected by Love, one to another…. Let us hold tightly to each other as we worship, walk, and work to build the future of St. Francis by the Sea Episcopal Church.

Trusting the steady hand of God to lead us forward, I remain, faithfully yours,

Robert J. Publicover, Senior Warden
On behalf of the Vestry

From Claudia on January 3, 2019

For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: Ecclesiastes 3:1 American Standard Version I have always loved the way these words from the book of Ecclesiastes are embodied in our Anglo-Catholic pattern of worship. Each year we live-out our faith following an ancient sequence of events, beginning with the season of Advent with its quiet preparation for God’s breaking into the life of the world in the form of a vulnerable child; to Christmas with its celebration for the gift of Jesus’ birth; to Epiphany and the long season that follows when we learn and grow into all that it means for a human to be the incarnation of the Divine; and so on. Our life in the church follows this pattern of Jesus’ life, death and ultimate resurrection as the Christ. With each year we have the opportunity to deepen our understanding of how God works through all of the moments of our own lives as well. In my eleven and a half years of walking this path with you, I have been privileged to be a part of so many of your individual journeys through both the joyous, as well as the most difficult, of times. I suspect I have not always told you how much you have taught me about how God works over the arc of time – or said another way, in each season of life. It is therefore with a heart filled with gratitude for you and our time together that I write today to tell you that we are all moving into another phase of our shared journey. Just as surely as the church calendar advances us from one liturgical season to another, our journey together is moving into a new season with the announcement that I will be retiring on the last Sunday before the beginning of Lent (March 3, 2019). My guess is that for some of you this will not be a huge surprise since I have been trying to prepare you for some time that this day was approaching. Others of you may be stunned by the news and for that I am sorry. Let me assure you all however, that this sort of transition is a natural part of the life of the church – another season as it were. As you are well aware, clergy come and clergy go but YOU are the church and that continues on. Over and over you have demonstrated the truth of that statement. In fact part of the reasoning behind choosing this time to retire is that during my prolonged medical absence this past year, you have shown your strength and resilience. You have carried on being the church even though your rector was absent for a time. Certainly there were wonderful supply clergy rotating through, but on a day in and day out basis, YOU were the church. You are ready to move into this new season without me while you discern and ultimately “call” another rector to lead you into the future. Our journey together over these eleven and a half years has taken many turns, but with each one we met the challenges that were thrown at us, together and in doing so, we have all grown. In many ways it is fair to say that you are not the same congregation that you were when I arrived. I am proud of the work we have done together but now it is time for a new clergy person to grow with you in fresh ways. That is the way God’s plan always works each season propelling us forward on the path. In the next several months we will have much conversation about all of this I am sure. In fact this Sunday, Jan 6th, there will be an opportunity for anyone desiring it, to gather after church to ask questions and learn more about the process moving forward. For now however, let me assure you that there IS a process and St Francis won’t be left to figure this out on its own. Already your vestry is working with the Bishop’s office, as they begin to make plans for the work that lies ahead. Your participation in that work will be vitally important. You’ll be receiving a letter from the vestry soon that will outline the process and ways for you to be involved. For now however, let’s take these next two months to celebrate the time we’ve shared. I suspect there will be laughter and some tears as well, but most of all I hope you will feel the love I have for you all. At the end of the day, isn’t that the ultimate mission of the church – to provide a place that teaches us how to love? So in this season as in all seasons, may we strive to walk in God’s way of love. Faithfully, Claudia+
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