Christmas IS Coming!

Dear friends,
I always feels a bit out of sync at this time of year because when the rest of the world is putting up decorations and singing Christmas carols enter any Episcopal church and you’ll experience a decidedly more somber atmosphere. So while some of you may view my message as sounding a bit like the Grinch, let me assure you that I love Christmas as much as the rest of you. I just don’t want us to miss the opportunity to allow these last days of Advent to prepare us for the big day to come.

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

You see in the midst of all the craziness of the holidays, the church bids us to carve-out some space and time to prepare ourselves for Christ’s coming. In a sense it is to remember what the days must have been like for Mary and Joseph as they attempted to plan for the coming of a new life among them even as they had other duties to perform – duties like making plans to make the journey to Bethlehem to be counted in the census. We tend to glamorize all of that now, but in truth it was a terrible burden for an impoverished couple in the late stage of pregnancy to make such a journey. And yet the level of difficulty and complexity of their situation is an important part of the story for it demonstrates that God comes to us when we are in the midst of our everyday life and often feeling at our wit’s end.

But I am getting ahead of myself for the Christmas story is not yet ready to be told – that is another part of the Advent message that for now we are to wait…..prepare….and watch for God’s movement among us, even when the journey seems long and the night is dark. “Stay awake” the Advent texts tell us. So in this season of Advent, my prayer for us all is that amidst the worries of the world and the busyness of holiday preparations we will be able to stay alert to God in our midst even as we make a space for him to be born yet again on Christmas.

Advent blessings,
Claudia+

Posted in Uncategorized

Christmas Service Schedule

Sunday, December 24, Last Sunday in Advent Eucharist with no music at 10:00 am

Mary and Joseph make their way around St. Francis to the Altar Nativity Scene

Sunday, December 24, Christmas Eve Service at 5:00 pm

Christmas Eve Pot-Luck Dinner following  the Service

Christmas Day Service, Monday, December 25 service with be a Eucharist with no music service at 10:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized

This Sunday’s Sermon and Full Service for You! * 12/10/17

The Second Sunday of Advent December 10, 2017 10 am Sermon by Saint Francis by the Sea Rector, The Rev. Claudia Wyatt Smith:

The Second Sunday of Advent December 10, 2017  full service from St. Francis by the Sea:

*Just a quick note: We attempt to post the sermon and service each week as soon as possible. Most weeks it is late evening of that day. But, for various reasons, sometimes it is not until Tuesday Morning. Thank you for your inquiries and understanding.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Surprise in Church???

It can happen!!   On Sunday November 12, 2017 the Rector St. Francis by the Sea Blue Hill, Maine the Rev. Claudia Wyatt Smith was serenaded by the Sunday School Singers under the direction of organist Lorna Russell. It was part of a surprise for Claudia’s 10th anniversary at the helm of St. Francis. The celebration was coordinated by a number of parishioners under the leadership of Charity Chung and Brenda Higgins

Claudia was visibly touched:

Dear Friends,

As you are aware, I am rarely lacking words and yet that is what happened to me last Sunday. Not only did you totally surprise me with your amazing gifts, but also I was so deeply touched by your love, that it was beyond my ability to find the words to express my thanks at the time. That said, I hope you will now accept my thanks and appreciation for all that was done to celebrate my tenure here. In truth any celebration is one that needs to be shared among you all since all of the good things that have happened at St Francis have very much been a combined effort.

So thank you…thank you…thank you for the amazing party last Sunday AND thank you… thank you…thank you for the past 10 + years together. May God continue to bless our work in the days to come.

With love and thankfulness for the people of St. Francis,

Claudia+

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Among the gifts,  a color painting of St. Francis by a parishioner 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

How to deal?? Pray!

That is the recommendation of the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.

In the wake of the deadly shooting at the First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, Texas The Most Reverend Michael B. Curry says, “We pray for those who suffer and for those who have died”.

 

You can view the video he posted by clicking here.

Posted in Uncategorized

Helping Heal Hurricane Hurts

When disaster strikes many of us want to help in some way. Presiding Bishop The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry reminds us not to send food, clothing or other items because affected dioceses have limited or no capacity to receive, store or distribute goods. It is more efficient and better for the local economy to make a donation. He strongly suggests a donation to Episcopal Relief & Development is an excellent way to do it. The reason is that Episcopal Relief & Development already has actions in place for assistance.

Give to ERD’s Hurricane Relief Fund and help people recover. This fund will support affected communities in the Caribbean and the US devastated after hurricanes and tropical storms. Your donation will help meet urgent needs after Hurricane Irma and other storms by providing critical supplies such as food, water and other basics and offering long-term assistance as needed.

As Saint Francis by the Sea Rector, The Rev. Claudia Wyatt Smith explained during the Sunday Announcements:

· To donate to the Hurricane Response Fund to support impacted dioceses as they meet the needs of their most vulnerable neighbors after this event, click here.

· Sign-up on the Ready to Serve database to register as a possible volunteer in the future.click here. Episcopal Relief & Development staff share these lists with dioceses when they are ready to recruit external volunteers.

Posted in Uncategorized

Where do we go from here: chaos or community?

In this video Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry shares his thoughts and prayers about the recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the interesting timing of the readings of Scripture Episcopalians heard this Sunday.

Updated Resources | Episcopal Church

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Behind The Scenes — The Unsung Heroes

Holy Moly it’s the Holy Mowers.

By Terri Stephens Smith

One of the things that makes the local church a success is the volunteers that take a special interest in blessing the church with their talents and time. We wish to share with you our current heroes and invite you to join them.
Now, we will be enlightening you with our “Holy Mowers” volunteers. This group keeps the outside of St. Francis by the Sea looking neat and green to those that attend our church and those that drive past. Organized years ago by Peter Smith, this summer group of volunteers meets every other week for 2 or 3 hours to mow the lawns, trim the bushes, etc. And then meets at Marlintini’s for lunch and socialization.

The 2017 group includes Brent Follweiler, Brinley Hall, Steve Hayward, John Higgins, Kevin Hunt, John Paul LaLonde, Bob Publicover, Ralph Topham, Tom Boardman, Giffy Full, Peter Smith, Simon Wesley, and Coordinator, Page Williamson.

 

More help is still needed to help with tree trimming, and flower beds. Also, it would be great if the shed behind the church could be enlarged to fit all the lawn equipment in it.

Left to right Steve Hayward, Page Williamson, Brent Follweiler and Ralph Topham re-hydrating at Marlintinis after and morning of Holy Mowing!

 

If you have an extra weed whacker, we could certainly use it. Please call Page Williamson at 207-359-0903 if you can be a blessing to this group. Women are encouraged to help, also.

Photos by Marshall Smith

Posted in Uncategorized

How Did The 2017 St. Francis Fair Do?

Fair co-chairs Mary Hartley and Nancy Doane were happy to share the news during a packed 10 am day after the fair service.:

Congratulations to the more than 200 volunteers who made the Fair possible and all those who donated items for sale.  It will be a “few weeks” before anyone starts to think about collecting items for the 2018 St. Francis Fair.

Posted in Uncategorized

27 Years and Counting

It was a somewhat gloomy start to the 27th St. Francis Fair held this year on August 12th at the Blue Hill Fairgrounds. Despite the fog and drizzle (OK, rain at times) the crowds came.

For more than a quarter century St. Francis has donated more than $120,000 to local organizations that have partnered with us including Tree of Life, Habitat for Humanity, CFO, THAW, Peninsula Ambulance Corp, H.O.M.E, Nichols Day Camp, and this year our partner was The SPCA of Hancock County.

 

 

This is a yearlong project for St. Francis led by unsung dedicated volunteers.

Suzanne Decrow has been a part of the Fair longer than anyone else, from its inception when Junque for Jesus was called the White Elephant Table.DSCN8679Once again she and her very loyal crew handled this gigantic yard sale, and Joe Thompson graciously, once again, offered his barn for storage. He also heads up the Tool Booth.

David Decrow was in charge of the beverage booth again but what he does behind the scenes is really his gift to the Fair.

Kevin Hunt & John Chappel wrangled all the set-up and take-down chores in addition to solving last minute problems.

The Grillers have become an institution led for years by  Brinley HallDSCN8754 who has passed the “grills” on to Brenda Higgins this year. Few can pass up the sausage or hamburger offerings, or the aromas.

 

Nor can many pass up the delicious offerings at the food table chaired by Chris Ramsay and Judy Rountree. DSCN8472Almost everything sold out quite quickly. MaryBoyd1

 

And, of course, next to the food is the ever popular Strawberry Shack chaired by Mary Boyd which also will sell out on a hot day.

Thousands of books DSCN8478are for sale by a committee headed by Julie Boardman and Marcia Fenn and a number of others who spent the early spring sorting books in Marcia’s basement.

Another other very popular booth, of course, is Jewelry and Scarves chaired by Sandy Snow who always does a wonderful job of organization and presentation.

Granny’s Attic (all things kids) is back again led by Everdell and Judy Rountree offering new and very slightly used toys and books and will again be DSCN8602located in the same tent as Children’s activities organized by Andrew Chung where face painting and crafts are free as is the horse-drawn wagon ride.

Sums up the Fair with a smile!

Children’s Books are again being lovingly cared for by Kathy DeSilvey.

The Treasure Chest, with chairs Milissa LeLonde and Katie MacLeod, will have wonderful antiques and modern discoveries, and there will also be a small silent auction as part of the overall booth.

The incredibly popular Garden Shed is back and chaired by Sue and Pudge Grindle. This  offered all things gardening including plants, herbs, arrangements, tools, books, vases, and even free advice from master gardeners.

DSCN8640There is always a lot that goes on behind the scenes including the coffee cart with Fred and Prudy Heilner which started early on Saturday morning providing coffee and donuts to not only everyone setting up, but also to the many who are lined up waiting to get in.

Jack Joyce and Page Williamson  were once again masters of ceremony making important announcements and  coordinating music including the very talented Scott Grindle.  Who entertained for four hours and whose ‘gratuity’ filled jar realized more than $200 dollars of donations for St. Francis and our partner  The SPCA of Hancock County.

Joe Lendvai has agreed to photograph the whole event as he has been doing for over 15 years. Anne and Brent Follweiller always take care of any signs that need to be put up or taken down, and Judy Rountree does an exceptional job of publicity.

Elaine MacLean handled the Package Check, a very necessary addition to the Fair, and unseen by almost everyone, Jon Dullnig is our security force on Friday evening throughout the night. He is our Wyatt Earp.

The “Money Man” was once again Tim Thomas who making sure there was change for you when you spent your money to help St. Francis and our fair partner The SPCA of Hancock County.

Nancy Doane, Fair-Co-Chair, (on the right) as a past fair chair is ever-present, from helping to count the money, to working at the Treasure Chest, to making sure the chair is organized. The Fair could not happen without her gentle and gracious support.

The magician who pulled it all together this year: Fair Chair Mary Hartley who has been going full throttle for months and after Fair weekend needs some well deserved rest. Thank you, Mary and your all-volunteer staff.

This was a truly wonderful afFAIR.

StFrancisFair2010_webAnd Thank You!!!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

The St. Francis Sunday School Singers

Posted in Uncategorized

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

Posted in Uncategorized

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. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized

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!

Posted in Uncategorized