On August 1st, 2007, I began my time as the 3rd rector of St. Francis by the Sea. When, then Bishop, +Chilton Knudsen came in September to officially celebrate our new life together (a service referred to as a Celebration of New Ministry because it is less about the new clergy person and more about the ministries we share), I gave to the church a stone lithograph by the Spanish artist, Sunol Alvar. It currently hangs in the back stairwell and is reproduced as the cover of this year’s Annual Report. This piece of artwork is titled “Joseph Interprets Pharaoh’s Dream” as it depicts the enslaved Hebrew Joseph interpreting the images from Pharaoh dream and rightly understanding them as a prediction of the famine to come. Because of Joseph’s God-given gift of interpretation, Egypt was able to prepare and survive when others did not.
The Rev. Claudia Smith
Rector St. Francis by the Sea
It seemed important to give this piece of artwork to St. Francis because I felt that the ultimate job of our church is to act as interpreters of God’s dream. After all, on page 855 of the Book of Common Prayer, one finds the “mission” of the church – what one might call God’s “dream” – described as “to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.” It then goes on to say, “The Church pursues its mission as it prays and worships, proclaims the Gospel, and promotes justice, peace and love.” It seems to me that how we interpret those words – that dream of God – into effective programming is the task before us.
So, in my naiveté nine years ago, I guess I thought that focusing on God’s dream, would provide a clear road map of how St. Francis by the Sea was to proceed. Little did I know what a convoluted route we would take, involving a leaking building; huge cultural shifts leading to less interest in organized religion; an aging congregation; and limited fiscal resources. I confess that there were times in the last nine years when I truly didn’t feel very hopeful about my ability to remain as your rector when all around us churches were being forced to reduce their clergy time and the programs that they could support.
I think it has been nothing other than God’s abounding grace that even in those times when we seemed to be floundering in the wilderness, we were able to stay focused on God’s dream – God’s mission. In the end, it enabled us to continue to remain “light on our feet” and adapt to an ever-changing set of circumstances. This ability to be flexible has allowed us to avoid some of the rigidity that speaks more of inanimate objects: learning instead, that we are most alive when we are able to flex. So through all the ups and downs, we have stayed focused on God’s call to us, and in the end, each challenge has only made us stronger as we have gained the ability to adapt. Continue reading
The Saint Francis by the Sea sermon for the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, August 21, 2016, by St. Francis Rector, The Rev. Claudia Wyatt Smith:
The Saint Francis by the Sea 10 am service for the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, August 21, 2016:
Have you ever wondered what it takes to make the flowers on the Altar look so lovely? Each week a group of dedicated and talented women who make up the Flower Guild take a turn arranging flowers for the altar, narthex and on occasion downstairs in the Parish Hall.
When you ask a member of the Flower Guild what attracts them to this ministry they will easily tell you it’s a combination of their love of flowers and joy that comes from beautifying the Altar. “The flowers represent a visual feeling of beauty and cheerfulness which is a great accompaniment to the spiritual experience,” states Flower Guild Chair, Patty Deetjen. If you love flowers and would like to participate in this ministry, please let the church office know 374-5200.
Flower Guild members are responsible for creating the flower arrangements that grace the front of the church sanctuary each Sunday. Members share responsibility for flowers on a rotating basis throughout the year. During Advent, unadorned greens are used, and for Lent, bare branches signify the austerity of the season. In the spring and summer, guild members often bring flowers or greens from their own gardens and the variety and creativity make for bright bursts of color. The Flower Guild is also responsible for dressing the church for Christmas and Easter.
Funding for flowers comes from donations. The guild often receives requests for flowers in memory of loved ones and will honor these requests. At the end of the service, flower arrangements are distributed to members of the parish family who are ill or celebrating milestone events or anniversaries.
On Friday evening July 22, 2016 St. Francis was the scene of a special program sponsored by the Episcopal Peace Fellowship with a repeat of the program they did the night before at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brunswick.Three artists/activists provided first-hand accounts of their experiences of living with Palestinians in the West Bank. Lily Yeh (of Barefoot Artists), Robert Shetterly (Americans Who Tell the Truth), and Dudley Hendrick of Deer Isle shared their stories and pictures of their work and projects over several stays in the Nablus area. You are able to hear the full presentation by clicking on this link: The views and opinions expressed are those of the presenters and not necessarily those of St. Francis by the Sea.
The Saint Francis by the Sea sermon for the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost, July 17, 2016, by guest speaker Robert J. Miller, Rosenberger Chair of Christian and Religious Studies at Juniata College in Pennsylvania.
The Saint Francis by the Sea full 10 am service for the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost, July 17, 2016, celebrated by St. Francis Rector, The Rev. Claudia Wyatt Smith:
Please forgive us for some audio interference during this recording.
- What was at the heart of his teachings?
- Why did some gospel writers put words in Jesus’ mouth that he never said?
- Is there some way to determine what he actually did say?
- How does Jesus’ wisdom compare with that of non-Christian wisdom teachers?
As intelligent seekers who would like to know more about the true teachings of Jesus, how can we find reliable answers to these questions?
The 2016 Downeast Spiritual Life Conference —“Jesus and the Heart of Wisdom”— July 15 & 16th helped us do just that in Ellsworth, Maine. This year we partnered with the Jesus Seminar on the Road to bring you ways of thinking about Jesus that are the result of more than 10 years of extensive research by the fellows of the Jesus Seminar. These have included leading theologians, philosophers, Old Testament and New Testament biblical scholars as well as anthropologists and archeologists. The goal of the Jesus Seminar was to renew the quest for the historical Jesus and his authentic spoken words and then to report the results of this research to the general public.
In Dallas 12 law enforcement officers were shot and five died. This was after the consecutive fatal shootings of black men by police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota. Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry has recorded a video asking every Episcopalian to share in deep prayer following the shootings. Click here to see the video, it may take a minute or so to play.
The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church The Rt. Rev.Michael Curry was interviewed about his first six months on the job by Judy Woodruff of the PBS News Hour and certainly worth watching.
It was a beautiful day for the Spring Clean Up! A dedicated group of parishioners turned out as did the ”black flies”. But everyone was itching to get as much done as possible before we had a super lunch! Thank you to everyone involved. Check out the slide show:
The whole week before and including Easter is the holiest time of the Christian calendar. A time of spiritual excitement, spiritual dread, spiritual shock, then a renewed spirituality and joy. It is a week of roller coaster emotions and we invite you to hear and see what has happened at St. Francis. Adding to this was a special visit by the Bishop of Maine, Rt. Rev. Stephen Lane for much of the week. You are invited to enjoy magnificent moving moments Holy Week through videos, photos, and audio recordings. Just click on “continue reading”.
With Spring in the air we need to remember the winter cold and know that no matter what we do, it will come back. But you can do something to make your home more comfortable in the winter – by installing what some call, “indoor storm windows” built by “The Window Dressers organization”.
This all volunteer-run non-profit organization manufactures and distributes these thermal window inserts at very low cost and this spring St. Francis by the Sea has been working with others to set up a local outlet for these inserts. These nearly invisible inserts reduce heat loss by blocking the air leaks from around your windows and thus the ensuing cold drafts. This results in more comfort for you while saving you money on your heating bills.
The parent ‘Windows Dressers’ organization reports heating bill savings of up to 25% and yet the inserts cost only approx. $25 per window and will, with care, last 10 years. Continue reading
That is core of the Lenten video from the Episcopal Bishop of Maine. You can easily watch Bishop Stephen Lane’s Lenten message:Simply click here.
Here is the Ash Wednesday sermon, February 10, 2016, from the St. Francis Rector, The Rev. Claudia Wyatt Smith:
Here is Lessons & Carols December 27, 2015, from St. Francis by the Sea Continue reading