It is Lent!

Dear Friends,

On March 1st, we began our Lenten journey with the observance of Ash Wednesday. Traditional liturgies for the day focus on the brevity of life and remind worshippers that they came from dust and will soon enough return back to the earth, dust once more.  For our ancestors in the faith, Lent was a morose season in which they gave up something as a way of mortifying the body.  They believed that God’s salvation required turning their backs on the joys of embodiment and the beauties of the earth.  Faithful Christians trained their eyes on heaven, forsaking this present life for the life to come.

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

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

No wonder so few people choose to come to Ash Wednesday services if that is the message. I have to admit that for years, I struggled with Ash Wednesday Service precisely because of the asceticism it implied.  At best my self-denial in Lent was typically half-hearted and short-lived.

These days, I am reconsidering the meaning of Ash Wednesday and the whole of Lent for that matter.  The brevity and uncertainty of life now invites me to praise, wonder, and beauty, and to seize the moment – for this is the day God has made and I will rejoice in it!  When so much that I love and care for is mortal and transitory, I am finding that these fragile lives are something to celebrate and cherish.   We are constantly in the process of dying – each of us; but we are also constantly living as we reflect God’s vision in the world as en-fleshed creatures. This day, this moment, is a “thin place” for God is with us – revealed in flesh and blood, and healing touch.

Yes, we are dust, but we are heavenly dust, springing forth from a multi-billion year holy adventure.  Carl Sagan used to talk about the fact that humans are made up of (in his words) “star stuff:” The same basic elements that make up our bodies, also make up the suns and moons and stars throughout the universe. Thus, we are inextricably linked with the cosmos; we are part of a larger reality, because at our most basic molecular levels we are linked with all of creation.

2016AshWed - 16So when I trace a cross on your forehead with ashes and say, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return” remember that dust is good, after all; it is the place of fecundity, of moist dark soil, emerging from God’s intergalactic creativity.  We are frail, but we are also part of a holy adventure reflecting God’s love over billions of years and in billions of galaxies.

May Lent’s 40 days provide you with the opportunity to celebrate the goodness in these all too fleeting and fragile lives we have. And may we look for how God is calling us to use this precious time to create the Kingdom of heaven right here on earth.

Faithfully,

Claudia+

 

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This Sunday’s Sermon as well as the Full Service for You!

The Third Sunday in Lent Sermon by Saint Francis by the Sea Rector, The Rev. Claudia Wyatt Smith on March 19, 2017:

The Saint Francis by the Sea Full 10 am service on March 19, 2017, the Third Sunday in Lent:

In the Full Service you are able to hear some of the Sunday School children sing as the service began! (Photo by John Higgins)

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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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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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The Three L’s of Lent

Embracing a Life of Meaning is the title of this year’s Ecumenical Lenten Lunch and Learn program. Drawing on the wisdom of best-selling author Kathleen Norris providing her unique viewpoint through short video presentations, the group will look more closely at the following topics: Belief Matters: Why does belief matter? To what do we give our hearts? What is the core message of what we believe―creeds or commitment? To what extent is to believe also “to belove”?

· The Bible Matters: The Bible is our collective story. How isimg_1418
that story reflected in our daily lives? What is it about the
Bible that always seems to address our present moment?

· Community Matters: In community, individualism and
imperfection meet grace and acceptance. What is our part in
the Body of Christ?

· Place Matters: In what ways is faith set within the physical
space of home, church, land and people?

· We Matter: What it means to remain in God’s image and to
counter our selfishness by embracing the world and its needs?

The group will each week for one hour beginning at noon and alternating between  The First Congregational church of Blue Hill and St Francis by the Sea Episcopal Church. A light lunch will be provided by the hosting congregation at no charge. The third session will be held at the Congregational Church this Thurs., March 23th. All are invited to attend.

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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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If They Build It.. You Will Be Warmer

During the last week of September St. Francis by the Sea took part in this year’s Window Dresser’s “build”.  Volunteers from around the Blue Hill Peninsula put the finishing touches on the window inserts, or “inside storm windows” as some call them, that were ordered several months ago.  The finished products were delivered to the clients by week’s end.

Monday morning the build site in the Brooksville Community Center was visited by WABI-TV 5 news reporter Brenna Kelly.
Click here for the video of her report

Here is a slide show of volunteers:

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A Sunday Brunch Bunch

The St. Francis by the Sea Outreach Committee reached out itself by serving a delicious fundraising brunch Sunday September 11, 2016.  Here are some pictures of the fun.

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All Was Much Better than Fair!!!!

The 2016 St. Francis Fair was a super success!  Thanks to all of the work by so many volunteers.  So how did we do??

Fair poster 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our 2016 Fair Partner was Nichol’s Day Camps and will receive a sizable portion of the net income to help fund scholarships to the camp.

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