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) Continue reading

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The Sixth Sunday of Easter Sermon and Full Service for You

The Sixth Sunday of Easter May 21, 2017 10 am Sermon by Saint Francis by the Sea Rector, The Rev. Claudia Wyatt Smith:

The Saint Francis by the Sea Full 10 am The Sixth Sunday of Easter service May 21, 2017:

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The St. Francis Sunday School Singers

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Holy Week 2017 Service Recordings

Holy Week which begins with Palm Sunday and concludes with 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 2017 was filled with incredibly moving and inspiring services. You can listen to all of it, or just parts of it by clicking here: Continue reading

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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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