St. Francis by the Sea Episcopal Church

A National Day of Mourning Prayers

Today, Monday June 1, 2020, is a National Day of Mourning in which we are asked to join people of all faiths to mourn the more than 100,000 Americans who have died from Covid-19.   At the Episcopal Church of Maine’s Bishop Thomas Brown along with The Very Rev. Dr. Benjamin Shambaugh, Dean of the Cathedral Church of St. Luck in Portland offer prayers

4th Sunday of Easter May 3, 2020

The Zoomed 4th Sunday of Easter Service from St. Francis by the Sea Episcopal Church in Blue Hill, Maine. This Prayer Service is by the Rev. Dr. Brent Was (Rector) and was conducted Live from Cape Rosier! at 10:00 AM on Sunday May 3, 2020.

4th Sunday in Easter Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Brent Was
The Full Prayer Service for 4th Sunday in Easter

If you prefer to read Fr. Brent’s Sermon check it out here:

St Francis by the Sea Creatures

How a Blue Hill church is using lobsters to jumpstart its local economy

Milissa LaLonde, a parishioner at St. Francis by the Sea in Blue Hill, gestures with another church member as he gets out of his car Friday at the church to pick up his weekly lobster order. LaLonde, who runs the program, had customers place their checks in the aluminum pot. The church is buying lobster in bulk each week from an area lobsterman in order to help boost the local economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

(Bill Trotter, BDN)
BLUE HILL, Maine — 05/01/20 — Milissa LaLonde, a parishioner at St. Francis by the Sea in Blue Hill, gestures with another church member as he gets out of his car Friday at the church to pick up his weekly lobster order. LaLonde, who runs the program, had customers place their checks in the aluminum pot. The church is buying lobster in bulk each week from an area lobsterman in order to help boost the local economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Bill Trotter, BDN Staff • Updated: May 2, 2020 8:11 am

BLUE HILL, Maine — In an effort to help support the local economy during the global COVID-19 pandemic, a local church has organized a weekly bulk purchase from a local lobsterman.

The program, now entering its fifth week at St. Francis by the Sea, is part of a broader movement among Mainers to support local businesses while measures aimed at preventing the spread of the disease have forced many retailers to shut down for several weeks, with many facing several more weeks of closure. The program also reflects efforts by local food and beverage producers to stay in business by delivering their product directly to customers.

On Thursday dozens of members of St. Francis drove into the church parking lot on Hinckley Ridge Road to pick up their order, paying $6 for each lobster — below normal retail prices — all of which goes directly to the fisherman who caught them.

Church officials have not identified the fisherman supplying the program, saying he does not want the attention, but they have said he has a family and fishes far offshore. The $1,632 he is getting this week from church members is helping to pay the costs of operating his boat, maintaining his equipment, and to support his family.

“He’s pretty shy,” the Rev. Brent Was, rector of the church, said Monday.

Was, who has a background in local food systems and community supported agriculture, said he brought up the idea last month with church’s members. They in turn contacted the fisherman, who said he’d be happy to sell them some of his catch.

“This was a way we could [support local food producers] quite easily,” Was said. “Agriculture is such a vibrant part of the community here.”

Milissa LaLonde, a member of the church, said Wednesday that for years St. Francis staged an annual fair at which donated household goods were sold, with all the proceeds going to a local community organization. The church decided the fair last August would be the last one — “it became too much work for a bunch of old people,” she said — and so the lobster-buying program, which she helps to run, now is helping the church fulfill that part of its mission.

“We’ve been looking to replace the community service part” of the defunct fair, LaLonde said.

BLUE HILL, Maine — 05/01/20 — Bucksport resident John Paul LaLonde, a parishioner at St. Francis by the Sea Episcopal Church in Blue Hill, holds up a lobster order outside the church Friday while waiting for another parishioner to come pick it up. The church is buying lobster in bulk each week from an area lobsterman in order to help boost the local economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo Courtesy of John Paul LaLonde)

For several years, fishing industry advocates have encouraged direct-to-consumer sales as a way to help ensure that fishermen can sell what they catch and get a decent price for it, even if their harvests and sales volumes are fairly small.

Localcatch.org, an online network that connects commercial fishermen directly with consumers, was co-founded in 2011 by Joshua Stoll, an assistant professor of marine policy at University of Maine, as a way to boost the viability of small-scale fisheries throughout North America.

Stoll said Friday that since mid-March, there has been a 447 percent surge in traffic to the network’s website, where an interactive map provides locations and contact information for fishermen and regional seafood marketing groups who have registered with the network.

“The pandemic seems to have raised our collective consciousness about a lot of things, including where we get our food,” Stoll said. “I don’t know if interest in local seafood will stick, but in times of disruption when everyone’s routines change, people are trying a lot of new things and these ‘experiments’ may become habits. That could be transformative.”

In Maine, there has been an increase in recent years in smaller retailers and specialized distributors — Linda Bean’s Perfect Maine, Luke’s Lobster, and Downeast Dayboat among them — that focus on and emphasize the quality of Maine seafood in hopes of solidifying a niche market in which they can get higher prices for their products.

Ben Martens, executive director of Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, said that since COVID-19 pandemic has spread to Maine and disrupted the availability of many foods, and the way that people buy it, there has been a much higher interest in buying from Maine fishermen and specialty seafood retailers. Since early March, the association has gotten more inquiries about where to buy Maine seafood than it has in the prior eight years, he said.

“We’ve seen a huge uptick in local demand for Maine seafood,” he said.

It’s not just a matter of supporting local fishermen, Martens said. In times of disruption, when travel or trade is restricted, fish and other marine organisms harvested in the Gulf of Maine generally are more readily available to Mainers than food shipped from elsewhere.

He said many people also are more willing to take the time to prepare food, instead of just buying a frozen dinner and heating it in the oven, because they are home all day and have time on their hands. The association’s blog, which includes some recipes on how to prepare seafood, is getting more than 10 times as many readers than it did before the pandemic arrived in Maine, he said.

“We’ve got people ordering whole fish [from association members] and learning how to fillet them,” Martens said.

It has been helpful that the volume of seafood harvested in Maine this time of year typically is fairly low, which has helped lessen the impact of the plunge in global trade, Martens added.

Lobsters, which make up 47 percent of the annual statewide marine harvest by volume and 73 percent of its value, are harvested in much greater quantities each year from July through November than in the spring. Fisheries for baby eels, which almost exclusively are shipped overseas, and scallops — both of which take place in winter and/or spring — have been hurt more significantly by the ongoing pandemic and are fetching lower prices than in recent years, Martens said. Together, Maine’s eel and scallops harvests comprise less than 5 percent of annual statewide commercial fishing value of nearly $674 million.

Given the volume of fish or other marine species that are harvested in Maine each year, Martens said, direct-to-consumer sales in Maine might be helpful for fishermen who deal in small volumes, or may buoy incomes in the short term, but they are not a substitute for a nationwide or global distribution network. If overseas trade and domestic restaurants continue to stay shuttered or significantly restricted into the summer, weekly parking-lot sales won’t provide much help to Maine’s fishing industry.

Local demand can’t absorb 100 million pounds of lobster, or 3 million pounds of groundfish, Martens said.

Even in times when trade restrictions cause international exports of Maine seafood to drop, there is opportunity to boost demand, he said. Americans on average each eat only 15 pounds of seafood every year, he said — far less than the annual averages of more than 100 pounds of chicken, more than 80 pounds of beef, and more than 60 pounds of pork, according to USDA statistics.

“People should be demanding [Maine] seafood,” Martens said. “There’s a lot of room for seafood consumption to grow in the U.S.”

In the meantime, increased efforts to buy local are helping to keep at least some Maine fishermen afloat, and with luck those efforts won’t fall off after the pandemic passes, he said.

“It’s been revealing,” Martens said of the pandemic’s impact. “Hopefully we can learn from this and build off it.”

The 3rd Sunday of Easter’s Surprise

One thing that CoVid-19 has robbed from us is the Sunday morning beauty of the music provided by the St. Francis Music Ministers and Choir.

This piece is based on the Gospel for today (Easter 3A), Luke’s story of the journey to Emmaus.

“All Along the Way” Gregory Norbet, O.S.B. (Heather Ford, soprano; Lorna Russell, piano;  Carlton and Lorna, backup choir)

Copyright © 1973 from LISTEN, The Benedictine Foundation of the State of Vermont, Inc. Weston Priory, Weston, Vermont. Used with permission.

It is important to know that this was recorded while paying strict attention to proper social distancing.

Lorna notes, “As to how this recording was created, Carlton and I recorded our parts (piano and back-up vocal sounds) in Stockton Springs,

They then sent the file to Heather who added her part at her home in Trenton using “GarageBand.”

Third Sunday of Easter April 26, 2020

This Sunday finds our new Rector The Rev. Dr. Brent Was resting and healing, not from CoVid19 but from Viral Syndrome. He is on the road to recovery. In his step we have video of the service organized by the Episcopal Diocese of Maine including music and a sermon from Bishop The Rt. Rev. Thomas Brown, compiled by a diocese-wide team of clergy and lay leaders.


Full Service from the Episcopal Diocese of Maine

“A Win-Win Net Result”

St. Francis by the Sea is living up to it’s name thanks to some forward thinking friends looking to the ocean. They began realizing that CoVid19 has dried up the Lobster market, a huge part of the Blue Hill Peninsula economy. So here’s the story of neighbors helping neighbors with a true win-win proposition. Our thanks to the Episcopal News Service for covering it.

Click Here to Read All About It!

A Higher Calling for High Tech

While CoVid19 kept our churches closed for Easter. It didn’t dampen either faith nor creativity. The National Cathedral and The Episcopal Church Office of Communication/Multimedia Services unit produced a viritual choir and orchestra. They combined, “nearly 800 submissions from more than 600 participants all around the world” and invite you to celebrate Easter as they came together in one voice to proclaim – The Strife is O’er, the battle won!”

From the National Cathedral Easter Service

Good Friday 2020

For our Good Friday service we once again zoomed. Led by our new Rector The Rev. Dr. Brent Was with the Rev. Carlton Russell joining with the chanting.

Above is the audio only
Above is a video of the complete Good Friday Zoom

If you wish to follow along here is a link to the printed service:

Click to access ce6f5ab4-5c18-483b-bac0-1aa89119219c.pdf

Worship in the Time of a Plague

In this extraordinary time, our buildings are closed but the Church is not!

We continue to turn the prayer wheel each week a Zoom-based Morning Prayer Live from Cape Rosier! at 10:00 on Sunday.  

Login information in our newsletter, the eClare.

Due to concerns about Zoombombing, unwelcome, often offensive intrusions into online worship, we are not publishing the login information publicly. To join in email Fr. Brent at bwas@riseup.net.

Good Friday Order of Service, Click here:

Good Friday Stations of the Cross, Click here:https://stfrancisbluehill.org/the-way-of-the-cross/

Easter Vigil Order of Service, Click here:

Easter Order of Service, Click here:

Easter Sermon, Click here:

        

Palm Sunday April 5, 2020

Sadly There Is No Recording BUT!!!

Technical gremlins played havoc with the recording of the Palm Sunday Zoom. But it was a meaningful virtual gathering of more than 50 people. Part of the traditional Palm Sunday service is the reading the Passion. For this year Fr. Brent treated us to a virtual performance created by members of Parishes around the Diocese brought together on Zoom.

Click here to see and hear it read by members of Parishes around the Episcopal Diocese of Maine.

Read Fr. Brent’s Sermon here!

Palm/Passion Sunday

April 5, 2020

The Reverend Dr. Brent Was

       “Truly this man was God’s son.”

       Good morning everyone out there in TV land.  It has been another tough and unprecedented week.  I pray that you are as well as you can be in these circumstances.

       It is Palm Sunday, Passion Sunday.  I was always a little peeved at the change in the liturgical calendar to add “Passion” to the Sunday, which was more or less done because too many of us don’t go to the Holy Week services of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and/or Holy Saturday, meaning that many of us went Palm Sunday straight to Easter without any exposure to the Passion.  That won’t do.  You can’t get to Easter without Good Friday. 

(to read more click on “Next” below)

Behind Our Kneelers

The history of St. Francis is an exciting example of the power of a vision and the deep faith needed to pull it off! Still, It Takes A Peninsula!

One of those is the person most responsible for our very special kneelers 97-year-old parishioner Mary Semler.

The 5th Sunday of Lent Zoom Morning Prayer

On Sunday March 29, 2020 in continuing our efforts to provide spiritual sustenance during this COVID19 crisis St. Francis tried something new Zoom-based Morning Prayer Live from Cape Rosier!

Listen here to the audio of sermon by St. Francis Rector The Rev. Dr. Brent Was
Hear the audio of the full service here by St. Francis Rector The Rev. Dr. Brent Was.

Sermon for March 29, 2020 Year A, Lent 5

The Reverend Dr. Brent Was

“To set the mind on the flesh, is death, but to set the mind on the spirit is life and peace.”

        It is really good to see you here, everyone who could navigate the digital wilderness to get here, be it today, the morning of Sunday the 29th of March, or on some later date.  I hope you are holding up.

(Continued: Click on Next below)

The 4th Sunday in Lent March 22, 2020

This Sunday St. Francis conducted the first Live-streamed Mass offered by the three Episcopal parishes on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle: St. Brenden the Navigator, Deer Isle – Trinity, Castine – St. Francis by the Sea, Blue Hill –

Sermon by The Rev. Elaine Hewes

The video of the Live-Streamed service is being uploaded to YouTube right now but should be available by mid-day Monday.

The Full 10 am Service The Rev. Dr. Brent Was, Celebrant

There were many challenges which we hope to minimize next Sunday (not minimized like the start of this week’s video LiveStream).

Thank you for your understanding as we continue to navigate these uncharted waters.

The 1st St. Francis Live Streamed Service.

The Full Service Celebrated by St. Francis Rector The Rev. Dr. Brent Was.

The 2nd Sunday in Lent March 8, 2020

Sermon by St. Francis Rector The Rev. Dr. Brent Was.

With the Beginning of the new Ministry of St. Francis Rector The Rev. Dr. Brent Was a new tradition has begun with the Children of St. Francis ringing the bell to start the service. The Second Bell Ringer is Taggart Chung.

Each Sunday another Sunday School child will be The Bell Ringer

The Full Service Celebrated by St. Francis Rector The Rev. Dr. Brent Was.

You May Read The Sermon Here!

March 8, 2020 The Reverend Dr. Brent Was

       “…no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.”

       Good morning everyone!  A blessed 2nd Sunday in Lent to you.  I think this is going to work out, you now, us.  I am meeting people here and a bunch of clergy colleagues.  Just great.  And last Sunday came together!  I was a little nervous, seeing you all here for the first time, getting used to this new chasuble and altar and teeny-tiny microphone switches. 

(continue by clicking “next” at the bottom of the page)

The 1st Sunday in Lent March 1, 2020

Sermon by St. Francis Rector The Rev. Dr. Brent Was.

With the Beginning of the new Ministry of St. Francis Rector The Rev. Dr. Brent Was a new tradition is beginning with the Children of St. Francis ringing the bell to start the service. The First Bell Ringer is Brigid Was who inspired the idea.

Each Sunday another Sunday School child will be The Bell Ringer

The Full Service Celebrated by St. Francis Rector The Rev. Dr. Brent Was.

Who IS Our New Senior Warden??

On Sunday August 25, 2019 the St. Francis church family gathered for the Annual Meeting.  Among other important issues they voted in a new Sr. Warden.  Vestry member Milissa LaLonde is now the new Senior Warden for St. Francis by the Sea.

She replaces Bob Publicover who served four years as Sr. Warden.  During the annual meeting he shared: “this is the perfect time for new blood in the church leadership.  And, Milissa LaLonde brings new energy, new ideas, an ear that really listens as well as a mind that is truly open.”

We asked Milissa to tell us about herself: “I hail from Michigan but have lived in Bucksport for 36 years, where my husband and I raised 4 children.  I retired from teaching in 2016 but continue to substitute and tutor children on a regular basis.  I love to cook, garden and am an avid reader. I am deeply involved with Restorative Justice; a process in which those who break the law or do harm can repair that harm and victims can be made whole.  John Paul and I were active Catholics for 57 years until discovering the open arms and spiritual life of St. Francis by the Sea.”

The Vestry is made up of nine St. Francis members, each elected for a three-year term. 

The Vestry is responsible, with the guidance from a search committee, to call a new rector if needed. They are also responsible for filling other positions in the parish, thus ensuring that appropriate programs, policies, duties and committees have been developed and are followed.

The Senior Warden is often referred to as the Rector’s warden and the Junior Warden (TBA) is known as the People’s Warden.

Milissa LaLonde, Senior Warden (Vestry Term ends: 2021)
Kevin Hunt, Treasurer
Sarah Everdell (Term ends: 2022)
Bill Gould (Term ends: 2022)
Prudy Heilner (Term ends: 2021)
Katie MacLeod (Term ends: 2020)
Ellie Neuhauser (Vestry Term ends: 2020)
Bob Publicover (Vestry Term ends: 2020)
Teri Stephens (Term ends: 2021)
Lynne Yurosko (Term ends: 2022)

A NEW Senior Warden

On Sunday August 25, 2019 the St. Francis church family gathered for the Annual Meeting.  Among other important issues they voted in a new Sr. Warden.  Vestry member Milissa LaLonde is now the new Senior Warden for St. Francis by the Sea.

She replaces Bob Publicover who served four years as Sr. Warden.  During the annual meeting he shared: “this is the perfect time for new blood in the church leadership.  And, Milissa LaLonde brings new energy, new ideas, an ear that really listens as well as a mind that is truly open.”

We asked Milissa to tell us about herself: “I hail from Michigan but have lived in Bucksport for 36 years, where my husband and I raised 4 children.  I retired from teaching in 2016 but continue to substitute and tutor children on a regular basis.  I love to cook, garden and am an avid reader. I am deeply involved with Restorative Justice; a process in which those who break the law or do harm can repair that harm and victims can be made whole.  John Paul and I were active Catholics for 57 years until discovering the open arms and spiritual life of St. Francis by the Sea.”

The Vestry is made up of nine St. Francis members, each elected for a three-year term. 

The Vestry is responsible, with the guidance from a search committee, to call a new rector if needed. They are also responsible for filling other positions in the parish, thus ensuring that appropriate programs, policies, duties and committees have been developed and are followed.

The Senior Warden is often referred to as the Rector’s warden and the Junior Warden (TBA) is known as the People’s Warden.

Milissa LaLonde, Senior Warden (Vestry Term ends: 2021)
Kevin Hunt, Treasurer
Sarah Everdell (Term ends: 2022)
Bill Gould (Term ends: 2022)
Prudy Heilner (Term ends: 2021)
Katie MacLeod (Term ends: 2020)
Ellie Neuhauser (Vestry Term ends: 2020)
Bob Publicover (Vestry Term ends: 2020)
Teri Stephens (Term ends: 2021)
Lynne Yurosko (Term ends: 2022)

Les Petits Chanteurs September 1, 2019

The Full 10 am service with Les Petits Chanteurs Performing
10 am Sermon by The Rev. Steve Hayward

Maine’s New Bishop Thomas James Brown! Amen!

The Reverend Thomas James Brown was Ordained and Consecrated as the 10th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine on Saturday June 22nd in the Cathedral Church of St. Luke, 143 State Street in Portland.

Watch the ceremony via YouTube  using this link (https://youtu.be/ecpU2vkDFTM)

DOWNLOAD ORDER OF WORSHIP HERE

About the liturgy

The Most Reverend Michael Bruce Curry, the Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church was the chief-consecrator. The Reverend Barbara K. Lundblad, a Lutheran pastor and a retired homiletics professor, preached.

View or download the Order of Worship here. 

Pentecost May 31, 2020

This service was transmitted from the St. Francis Altar via Zoom. As soon as that is available for downloading it will be posted.

Meanwhile you may read Fr. Brent’s Sermon here.

Year A, Pentecost

May 31, 2020

The Reverend Dr. Brent Was

“For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.”

My friends in Christ.  I had a sermon by our Bishop on tap this morning.  It is a fine sermon, actually a conversation with a theologian here in Maine, the Rev. Dr. Diedre Goode, but a lot has happened in the few days since it was written.  We observe this Feast of the Pentecost, a great and glorious day of the church, in a dark hour in the history of this nation.  We need to address head on what is going on, if briefly.

            If you missed the news, riots happened in dozens of cities over the past few nights.  Curfews are in effect in at least 16 states.  The National Guard has been called up, it is fully mobilized in Minnesota, the epicenter of this uprising.  And it is an uprising.  We need to call it that, because the people who are doing it are calling it that.  Just like in LA after Rodney King was beaten on camera by members of the Los Angeles Police Department. Most of us know it as the LA riots, but those there still call it the LA uprising.  That might sound inflammatory, but it is not, it is uncomfortable… all of this is uncomfortable.  I know talking “politics” at church makes some uncomfortable, but remember, most of what Jesus said is about politics and economics, how we relate to each other (politics) and how we relate to material things (economics) across His society.  We are an incarnational church, the world matters, how we relate to the world, matters.  And if it matters, then we as a church need to address it.  That is that.  And this is uncomfortable: considering race; considering racial implications about how we organized ourselves and organize our country, very uncomfortable.  And for some of us, especially our neighbors of color, the situation in our nation is orders of magnitude more than uncomfortable: it is a matter of life and death.  We need to deal with our discomfort.

            I have no doubt that we are a sympathetic group, a congregation of Christians dedicated to loving our neighbors as Jesus Christ taught us to.  The work of this congregation, the spirit of this place demonstrates this.  And we are also overwhelming white.  We are also overwhelmingly people of material and cultural privilege.   That is not a judgment, it is a fact.  And this fact can make it harder for us to understand what is going on, harder for us to make meaning of the words and actions of people with experiences of the world so foreign to us.

            The COVID 19 pandemic is exposing fault-lines in our society in ways that we can no longer ignore.  Race, disparities of wealth, unequal access to healthcare, unemployment, poverty, bigotry, misogyny, the breakdown of community, crumbling infrastructure, doubt in traditional sources of authority such as empirical science, the government and the Church, lack of individual and collective responsibility taking.  Put the pandemic on top of all of that and we are in what seems to amount to a fission reactor: collisions happened in a neighborhood in Georgia, a home in Louisville, a wooded corner of Central Park, then on a street in Minneapolis and a chain reaction began.

            I have less wisdom than questions today.  Questions, like “What is going to happen?”  “What does this all mean?”  “What does a group of people like us, who live where we do, that has such amazing resources and such overwhelming good will, do in this moment?”  That is my big question and I don’t have an answer, but I do have a starting point.  We must repent.  That means, we must change the direction of our lives, all of us.  People of privilege , like, like most of us here, benefit from the system that is causing this violence to spread.  We need to change that; change the system, yes, but closer to home, change how we benefit, or take advantage of the benefits, our unearned privilege gives us.

How?  That is not for me to proscribe, it is for us to discern.  And what a moment!  This crisis is showing our fracture points in our society, but it is also showing our strength.  We, this massive freight-train of a nation turned on a dime to react to this Virus.  We moved further and faster to make changes than we could have imagined, and likely saved unknown thousands of lives by doing so.  It isn’t over, not by a long shot, but we can come together.  Right now is proving that.  That is, if we don’t tear ourselves apart.

            So I don’t know what we can do, but I know something that we must stop doing, we must repent of, and that is judging.  Judging the actions of others whom we cannot understand, whose experience of life is in some important ways categorically different than ours.  This is our starting point: to clear our minds of judgement; to try to see the world as it actually is, not how we think, or are being led to think it is.  None of us here have seen looting and shooting these past days, smelled tear gas, been rammed by police cars.  It is all filtered through media, an whether we agree with the bias of our chosen media outlet or not, it is all filtered through someone’s editorial eye.

            So our task for today is to clear our minds of presuppositions and bias, as it is presuppositions and bias that got us here to begin with.

The violence in the streets is the glaring issue, and opinions about riots threaten to overshadow the violence perpetrated by law enforcement officers that began the unrest to begin with.  Now this is dicey stuff, preaching on civil unrest in a time of civil unrest, so I will defer to one with greater moral authority than me.  The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  delivered a paper at the American Psychology Association’s annual convention in Washington, D.C, on Sept. 1, 1967.  It is entitled “The Role of the Behavioral Scientist in the Civil Rights Movement.”  It is a long quote,  but I know it helped me answer some nagging questions posed by myself and others.

“Urban riots must now be recognized as durable social phenomena. They may be deplored, but they are there and should be understood. Urban riots are a special form of violence. They are not insurrections. The rioters are not seeking to seize territory or to attain control of institutions. They are mainly intended to shock the white community. They are a distorted form of social protest. The looting which is their principal feature serves many functions. It enables the most enraged and deprived Negro to take hold of consumer goods with the ease the white man does by using his purse. Often the Negro does not even want what he takes; he wants the experience of taking. But most of all, alienated from society and knowing that this society cherishes property above people, he is shocking it by abusing property rights. There are thus elements of emotional catharsis in the violent act. This may explain why most cities in which riots have occurred have not had a repetition, even though the causative conditions remain. It is also noteworthy that the amount of physical harm done to white people other than police is infinitesimal and in Detroit whites and Negroes looted in unity.

“A profound judgment of today’s riots was expressed by Victor Hugo a century ago. He said, ‘If a soul is left in the darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness.’

“The policymakers of the white society have caused the darkness; they create discrimination; they structured slums; and they perpetuate unemployment, ignorance and poverty. It is incontestable and deplorable that Negroes have committed crimes; but they are derivative crimes. They are born of the greater crimes of the white society. When we ask Negroes to abide by the law, let us also demand that the white man abide by law in the ghettos. Day-in and day-out he violates welfare laws to deprive the poor of their meager allotments; he flagrantly violates building codes and regulations; his police make a mockery of law; and he violates laws on equal employment and education and the provisions for civic services. The slums are the handiwork of a vicious system of the white society; Negroes live in them but do not make them any more than a prisoner makes a prison. Let us say boldly that if the violations of law by the white man in the slums over the years were calculated and compared with the law-breaking of a few days of riots, the hardened criminal would be the white man. These are often difficult things to say but I have come to see more and more that it is necessary to utter the truth in order to deal with the great problems that we face in our society.”

We have to suspend judgement, to acknowledge that our knowledge of the world is conditioned by our experience of the world.  O!  to see the world through the eyes of another!

And then I want to pass on a quote from our Presiding Bishop, The Most Reverend Michael Curry.  He writes,

This crisis reflects deep sores and deep wounds that have been here all along. In the midst of COVID-19 and the pressure cooker of a society in turmoil, a man was brutally killed. The basic human right to life was taken away. His basic human dignity was stripped by someone charged to protect our common humanity. And perhaps the deeper pain of this is the fact that it’s not an isolated incident. The pain of this is that it’s a deep part of our life. It’s not just our history. It is American society today. 

“We are not, however, slaves to our fate … unless we choose to do nothing.”

We had a lot to think about with this plague, now the brokenness of our nation is making itself known in ways that we may not ignore.  We can, we certainly have ignored it for a long time, but now we have no excuse, truly.

Please pray.  This is a moment of existential humility, try to clear your heart and mind and gut of what you think you know.  Please explore the depths of your heart.  You know what is right, that is a gift from God, knowing right from wrong.  What do you have to give?  What are you called to give up?  How can you, can we, people of good will and power and means make a difference in this world?  

“For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.”  AMEN

6th Sunday of Easter May 17, 2020

The Zoomed 6th Sunday of Easter Service from St. Francis by the Sea Episcopal Church in Blue Hill, Maine. This Prayer Service is by the Rev. Dr. Brent Was (Rector) and was conducted Live from Cape Rosier! at 10:00 AM on Sunday May 17, 2020.

5th Sunday of Easter May 10, 2020

The Zoomed 5th Sunday of Easter Service from St. Francis by the Sea Episcopal Church in Blue Hill, Maine. This Prayer Service is by the Rev. Dr. Brent Was (Rector) and was conducted Live from Cape Rosier! at 10:00 AM…