To the Glory of God and for the Common Good, we make God's love known now and for generations to come through worship and service to all.
Dear Friends in Christ,
Summer is coming to an end and I hope that it has been for you a time that has included some rest and renewal. In our season after the Pentecost, I hope that it has been a time of growth, a time filled with awareness of God's Spirit in your life. My own summer has been influenced greatly by a curious little book sent by a friend sometime past but that I only opened for the first time this season, and then opened again and again, and couldn't put down. It is called Fire in Coventry. It was published shortly after the consecration of the new Cathedral in Coventry England, built after World War II when the first Cathedral was bombed and destroyed. It was republished a few years ago in preparation for the 50th anniversary of that consecration. It is a fascinating story, a priest's personal witness to God's Spirit in the Church. It begins when the Diocesan missioner asks a group of clergy what are the special problems and opportunities facing them. In conversation someone says that the consecration of the Cathedral in three years will be a great spiritual opportunity. Conversation continued and they came to believe that God wanted not just a consecrated Cathedral but a consecrated people living around it. There followed then "a second uncomfortable discovery," that if there was to be a consecrated people, "it would have to begin with ourselves." And so begins a great adventure that affects not only the clergy of the Diocese, but the partnerships and relationships with the laity. It affects the lives of lay people across the Diocese, their fellowship and sense of God's presence between them, their connection to each other across the Diocese and their outward witness to the world. At the heart of their discovery was a simple truth that emerged gradually, one "so crashingly platitudinous that we kick oursleves and wonder" how it had gone so long unseen. That truth was: "A NEW COMMANDMENT I GIVE UNTO YOU, the new commandment at the heart of my kingdom, the new commandment without which there can be no kingdom, THAT YE LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS I HAVE LOVED YOU, that is with a deep self-giving compassion." Hearing how this truth emerged and where it led is well worth reading and the book is an inspiring treasure. And perhaps it is relevant to us at St. John's.
We are at a time when we have reached some stability in staffing and governance and we don't need to simply respond to emergencies. For the past 30 years, it is about this time (after 7 years) that Rectors have left and the parish has needed to search for a new Rector. Rector searches push parishes to consider their identity and God's call on their common life so it can be better articulated in call documents, such as the parish profile. Developing a parish profile requires input from as many members as possible, gathering in groups, and listening to each other. This time the parish doesn't need to engage in a Rector search and turn its energies and resources there. We can take advantage and enjoy the stability we've achieved. And so perhaps more than ever it is an appropriate time to consider our identity and God's call to us, in this particular time and place. What are the particular challenges and opportunities of our time? How does God wish us to respond, to make his love known here and now? These are questions of discernment.
The Vestry at its June meeting resolved to initiate two important discernment processes for our parish to help us as a parish focus, listen and respond to God's Spirit. The first you have already heard mentioned in the June newsletter, in this newsletter, and in our recent Sunday announcements. It is the Renewal Works process, offered by Forward Movement of the Episcopal Church, to facilitate spiritual depth and growth in parishes. It asks that all parishioners take part in a Spiritual Life Inventory, providing honest answers about our spiritual beliefs and practices. It then compiles the responses and gives an analysis to a parish's discernment team as that team considers how its community is called to grow in the Spirit, and to be a place that nurtures spiritual growth for its members - what God is calling the community to be and do and how to respond.
This work will be a beginning for us, and the fruit of the work will be presented at our Annual Meeting, January 29th, 2017. It will also support and inform the next work of discernment before us. After much consideration, the Vestry has decided to engage the Episcopal Church Foundation to lead us through the Discernment Phase of a Capital Campaign. This will presumably and hopefully lead us to a Capital Campaign - depending on additional phases, including a later feasibility phase. Hopefully we will be able to renew our church's worship space: its windows, its floors, walls and ceiling, its stones and mortar (some of which needed emergency repair this summer and for which scaffolding has gone up just this week) before or around the time of the 100th anniversary of the consecration of our sanctuary in 2018. Such an anniversary makes it more than appropriate to ask our selves what a consecrated church for the 21st century looks like and needs to be, and (just like the people of Coventry asked) what does a consecrated people for God look like? Our initial Discernment Phase will bring us together in small groups and interviews to consider these questions, to focus on what in this time and place God asks us to be and do, and what we need (from our buildings particularly) to support us in our response.
I hope that you will lend your voice to this work and participate fully. To begin, please save 30 quiet minutes in September to take the Spiritual Life Inventory for Renewal Works. Please plan to take part in the small groups and interviews ahead. Please pray for St. John's, our mission and ministry. And through these processes, please join our Vestry in its commitment to our community fellowship. The Vestry will be renewing its Dinner Initiative, hosting small dinners to bring together members new and old alike for the purpose of getting to know each other better and enjoy each other over a shared meal. Dates and sign ups will be coming soon in our Sunday announcements. Please join us as together we seek to love one another as He has loved us.
Yours in Christ,
A Pastoral Letter to Episcopalians in Maine
(Editor's Note: this was read from the pulpit during the August 7th service)
Beloved in Christ Jesus,
While I was on vacation in July, it seemed for a while as if all hell had broken loose. There were the killings of unarmed black men by police in two cities, the sniper attack on the police in Dallas protecting a Black Lives Matter rally, and the murder of 80 persons run over by a terrorist truck driver during Bastille Day celebrations in Nice, France. All this while the nation prepared for the Republican and Democratic Nominating Conventions. The newscasts and the internet were alive with exaggerated statements about the unleashing of a race war among us and the end of life as we've known it. I eventually needed to stop paying attention to preserve my vacation.
It's true, of course, that life as we've known it is ending. That's always the case. Change alone is constant. And the pace of change is much more rapid today.
Our country is becoming increasingly diverse with more and more persons holding to traditions other than those from England and northern Europe. Millennials now outnumber Baby Boomers. In a very short time, there will be no majority culture in America.
More and more of us find our standard of living declining. Real income has been declining in America for more than 40 years. It now takes two incomes to earn less in real dollars than what one earned in 1965. The American Dream of homeownership and a comfortable retirement is increasingly difficult to achieve.
And our racism is a real problem. Not bigotry - all people prefer their own clans and cultures - but racism: personal prejudice enforced by power that makes it difficult for people to drive while black, rent an apartment in a burka, or get a job while speaking Spanish. Our old white-Anglo prejudice, our sin of racism, is staring us in the face, and the picture isn't pretty.
None of these things is new, of course. But a majority of us suddenly seem to have become aware of them. We seem to have reached a tipping point. It's as if we awoke recently from a long sleep to realize that this is no longer the world of our grandparents.
For many of us, the changes are frightening. We don't know what to do. It is all too easy in the face of these things to try to build dikes to hold back the tide and to fall prey to fear and panic: to believe that the solution to the ills we face is to close our borders, purify our communities, and buy guns. But none of these efforts have ever prevented change, and they won't now. Change will come because the forces driving it are larger than we are, and because it is God's will. "Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?" (Isaiah 43:18-19)
God surely does not want a world that looks like the present one, filled with divisions, genocides, poverty, and terrorism. Rather, I believe God seeks a new world where people of every race and color are affirmed in their dignity as children of God and have the means for safe, secure and happy lives. As Christians, as members of the Body of God's Son, we are called to join God in building that new world.
I think we are called now to nothing less than being who we say we are: members of the Body of Christ. We are called to trust that God is in charge, that God is working God's purposes out can be trusted to be faithful to the world God has made. We are called to love God and neighbor and to act on that love every day.
As Christians our trust is in God, not the next President. No matter who is elected in November, neither will save the world. Both candidates are fallible humans who will have to deal with an stubborn political process and prickly world neighbors. Both will be found to make mistakes, to be less than perfect in relation to the economy and terrorism and climate change. They will be sinners in need of redemption, as we all are. We can not put our trust in them. We must vote as wisely as we know how, but we must not kid ourselves that the election will make everything right.
President Obama recently said that America is not as deeply divided as recent events would make it seem. I agree. Most of us do our jobs, raise our kids, care for our communities, and live peaceably with our neighbors. When we get a chance, we try to have fun. We don't all like one another, but we get along. And we all want a better world for our children.
The thing Jesus said most often in scripture was: "Do not be afraid." I believe that's the Word we need to hear now. Do not be afraid. Trust in God. And do your part, however small, to love the world God has made. Be kind to one another and civil to those with whom you disagree. Share what you have and work to affirm the dignity of those who are different. Pray for the wounded and the dead. Hope for a better world. Only love has the power to overcome the world as it is, and we have that love in Christ Jesus.
My greetings and love to each and every one of you. May God bless you and keep you today and always. I encourage you to be in conversation with one another and with me about these things.
The Rt. Rev. Stephen T. Lane
Bishop of Maine
Judy Allen & Jim Blanchette
Jeff Perry and Jim Blanchette recently discovered the presence of major gaps in the mortar of the church tower/pinnacles as seen in the accompanying photos. Repair work needs to be done as soon as possible for safety reasons and will necessitate the rental and placement of scaffolding and hiring a company to do these repairs.
Informational meetings were held after both Sunday services on July 31st. The cost for the repairs is approximately $4800 and the cost of the scaffolding which is rented by the month is $15,200. This cost will be financed using a line of credit. The work on the identified areas will take approximately six days to complete with an additional six days required for erecting/removing scaffolding. It was suggested that any other work which could be done while the scaffolding was in place should be done at the same time to maximize the use of the scaffolding during the remaining time in the rental period. Additional work would increase the cost of repairs but no further cost for the scaffolding if it can be done in that time frame.
The plan is to proceed with these repairs immediately.
Please contact Judy Allen, Senior Warden or Jim Blanchette, Junior Warden if you have questions.
Editor's Note: THE PROJECT HAS BEGUN!
August in Maine brings gardens bursting with green beans and cucumbers, barbequesand back-to-school sales. It is a time to relax, renew and, at the same time, prepare for another academic year.
We have had several years filled with changes and growth, and it's a beautiful and wonderful thing that we are not the church that we were many years ago. It's important for us to be dynamic: a church that is always moving to embrace the people and missions that it values. And, through all of this, we hope to be guided by a sense that we are growing and changing deliberately into the community that we want to be.
How do we take this next step in our faith journey? Over the next four months, St. John's will participate in a series of conversations inspired by a spiritual formation program called RenewalWorks and supported by our bishop, rector and Vestry. As its web site notes, "RenewalWorks is a catalyst for refocusing parishes (and the individuals in them) on spiritual vitality. It has been tailored to the Episcopal tradition, adapting 10 years of research that has uncovered key characteristics of flourishing congregations."
Some conversations will be open to all members in the form of a confidential spiritual survey; others will be in a small group representative of our church and charged with reflecting on where we are and where we are called to be. The goal is not to introduce new programs, but to help our members and ministries move toward a deeper, richer expression of faith.
The process will begin in September with a survey focused on your spiritual life and how St. John's supports you in spiritual growth. We hope for 100% participation from ALL who attend our church- from those who attend many times a week to those who attend a few times a year. The survey is anonymous and run by a third party, so we will only see aggregate answers. We will use this data in our small group discussions to guide our parish leaders in discerning where our community is called. We will provide full details as we draw closer to that time.
We look forward to this process! Would you like to learn more about this program? Check it out at
Would you like to be a part of the group that will guide us through this process? The RenewalWorks program consists of four formal 2.5 hour workshops, including study of Episcopal beliefs and practices and best practice principles of spiritually vital churches. If you are interested, we would welcome your participation! Please contact Mother Rita or Faith Erhardt.
Please stay tuned for more information about the survey this September and pray for us as we enter this rich process.
Chalice & Paten History
Last Sunday (21st) after church, I gave a presentation at the altar guild meeting about the chalice and paten.
The paten of the ornate set we use on Sundays is engraved on the bottom with: "Given for the Holy Sacrifice to St. John's Parish, Bangor by R.G.A. Freeman, 1867." This puts it before the Great Fire of 1911 (April 30), when almost half of Bangor burned. We lost our first building with the Tiffany window, but the Baptists lost the brand-new pipe organ they had just installed.
The question is: how did it survive? Was it stored in another place or was it rescued?
Things were saved from buildings that people knew were going to be burnt. For instance, the two heaviest things from the first church were the brass eagle lectern and the marble baptismal font, both of which were saved. In other places on this side of town, the pastor at the Universalist Church took portraits of founders to his house, and when that was about to be lost, he buried them; the newspaper reports that a woman was so confused in the haste, all she grabbed was a throw pillow from her couch. Broadway Park became littered with belongings taken there, and fortunately the fire stopped just shy of it.
As an aside, I also mentioned some other things of ours that were affected by the fire.
* The cross was either saved from the first building or an exact copy was made, this is a shot taken from the 1906 (?) photo I took to the Bangor Public Library to put on
Maine Memory Network
, and was scanned at so high a resolution the cross can clearly be made out. If there is a maker's mark on the bottom, it has since been weighted, and I wouldn't even attempt to take off the wooden bottom. If one looks closely at the side of the cross, it appears that there's some damage where the front and back plates join, which might have been caused by its hasty removal from the burning area.
* We have a book of vestry minutes from 1875 that has our notes, a few blank pages, then the diary of some woman who ran a private hospital in her house in Old Town and Hampden, which leads to the question of who she was, how she got the book, and how it got back to us.
However we were able to keep our chalice and paten, disaster struck in 1972, as was reported in the June 3rd Bangor Daily News article.
Jewel-Studded Chalice Stolen
Two sneaker-clad thieves broke into St. John's Episcopal Church late Thursday night and made off with a small wall safe and two bottles of sherry, police said Friday.
The safe was located in the sacristy off the choir area, and contained a jewel-studded chalice used during communion services.
The Rev. John P. Miler, rector of the church, said the chalice is of great sentimental value to many parishioners.
He said the break was discovered Friday morning by Mrs. Lloyd Coffin, director of the Altar Guild.
Police were at St. John's Friday afternoon taking fingerprints from the sacristy, and seeking clues. They theorized that the thieves probably thought the 25-pound wall safe contained money from the offerings.
The thieves got the safe out of the wall by breaking away plaster and boards. They paused long enough to steal two bottles of sherry used in communion services.
Plaster dust clung to the shoes of the thieves, and two sets of sneaker tracks were left on the sanctuary carpet.
The thieves entered the church by forcing open a basement window.
Damage was limited to the sacristy.
Where we covered the hole with a chalkboard.
We needed another chalice to use for the Eucharist, since we no longer had the one given a century earlier. There is a letter from Jack Hemenway, widower of Harriet Rawle Hemenway, dated April 3, 2013. It begins: "Years ago, John Miller, [sic] commissioned my wife, Harriet Rawle Hemenway, to fabricate a silver chalice, large enough to communicate 250. A parishioner had given a gift to be used 'at the altar' - and the vestry
really wanted the money to fix the roof. John was adamant - 'the altar.'" The letter ends with how the wax model had been broken and put on backwards, and that she had taken it
to master jewelers on Deer Isle to be fixed correctly. He enclosed her original drawings of how it might look, as well as photographs, one majuscule the paten made at the same time. I showed this to those at the meeting, some of whom didn't even know we had a paten to match it. I also related that I'd heard that it was Tom Benson who was instrumental in getting the chalice made, and that the gold cross was made from rings donated by parishioners for that purpose.
I was unable to find any mention in the archives about how the original chalice was returned to us. I've heard that it was found behind a barn, and that all the jewels were pried out, except for one diamond (I probably heard this from Steve Gatchell, our former sexton). When it was refurbished after it was returned, they must've made those little diamond-shaped inserts to go over where the stones used to be.
I was also unable to find where I'd read that the original gift was a seven-piece set. It wasn't listed what pieces went with it, but I've found in our silver what is in the same style. The original chalice has written in the design on it "Lamb of God, grant us they peace," and the paten has "Glory to God in the highest, Alleluia." (I've since noticed the design at the base it appears to be "Christ" written three times in Greek.) Three other pieces I have found are in the same style and appear to have the same maker's mark on the bottom, but I've since noticed that the lettering is all in majuscule letters. However, the letters on all pieces are raised on a background of horizontal lines, and there's a braided pattern at the edges of all.
There is a ewer on which is the phrase "ON EARTH PEACE GOOD WILL TOWARD MEN." There is a larger plate with "LORD EVERMORE GIVE US THIS BREAD." It is larger than the paten we use every week, and either it is a supplemental piece (Mother Rita had since left the meeting, so I was unable to ask what purpose it might have.) or a large
paten from some other set. These two pieces almost never get used, and in my time here
I've only known them to be used at Fred Jones funeral.
There is also an alms basin with "THINE O LORD ARE ALL THINGS OF THINE OWN DO WE GIVE UNTO THEE." I've only known them to be used at Fred Jones funeral.
It's interesting to think what we have hidden away around the church, and it's one of the things I like about working with the archives.
Each time questions get answered, more questions arise!
Where Two or Three are Gathered
On July 1st 2016, there was a wonderful visit and reunion at Stillwater Health Care where Tom is a
Pictured: Archdeacon Tom Benson, Rev. Maryann Taylor and Rev. John Miller.
All three are Alumni of St. John's Episcopal Church. Tom had the pleasure of working with Maryann and John over the years in various ways.
(Editor's Note: Rev. John Miller was rector of St. John's from 1967-1981 & Rev Maryann Taylor is the retired rector of St. Jame's Old Town and
was our Pastoral Associate from 2008-2013)
Music Summer Intern
St. John's would like to thank Julia Alexander for her musical leadership throughout the summer and
for all her offerings of preludes, postludes, service music, and hymns for our congregation. She did an excellent job.
A Thanks from First United Methodist
To the "Keeper of the Racks",
A big thank-you from our clothing department at the annual yard sale at the First United Methodist.
What a difference the clothing racks made for our sales! We had a "rummage boutique" look. :)
Really appreciate this big help from our neighbors.
Blessing, Skippy Valentine
(Editor's Note: The Fall Rummage Sale will be held Saturday October 22nd, so when you are getting your students ready for the coming school year or sorting summer/fall clothes and items, please think of saving some things for our sale. We would welcome clothes, small household items, books, toys, music, and jewelry.)
Patricia Sprague & Mo. Rita
New in the Library:
The Dream of God: A Call to Return, by Verna Dozier. Verna Dozier was best known as a believer in and advocate for the ministry of the laity. She believed that God has a dream for every one of us, as individuals and as members of the Body of Christ. In this book she writes that we are called to follow Jesus and not merely to worship him. This may sound familiar to those of us who last spring read Crazy Christians: A Call to Follow Jesus by our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. Bishop Curry cited Dozier, and this book in particular, as being foundational to his thinking. If you are seeking inspiration for living as a disciple of Christ every day of your life, for having the gospel affect every aspect of your life, this book, The Dream of God: A Call to Return, will be well worth spending time with.
Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and Their Parents), by Eline Snel. This book introduces simple mindfulness practices to help your child deal with anxiety, improve concentration, and handle difficult emotions. It introduces the basics of mindfulness to children in an easy-to-understand and playful way. Included with the book is an audio CD with guided meditations. There are several other books in our library on meditation for children and youth. For adults, too. (Reminder: a Centering Prayer group meets in the oratory every Thursday at 5:45 p.m.)
September is Nouwen Month in the Library!
We are scouring our shelves in search of books authored by Henri Nouwen, the Dutch Catholic priest, writer, professor, and theologian. We're on the hunt for such titles as
The Wounded Healer, The Way of the Heart, and
The Return of the Prodigal Son. All these and more will be available to borrow during coffee hour for the entire month of September.
Adult Christian Education and Formation
There will be a number of education and formation opportunities for adults this fall. The schedule is still being finalized, but here are a few items:
The Great Bible Experiment
St John's will be hosting a watch party for The Great Bible Experiment on Tuesday, September 27th at 7 p.m. in the library at 234 French St. We will be viewing the event live as it occurs at Harvard University.
Four cities that research suggests are among the least "Bible-minded" in the U.S. were chosen as sites for a town-hall style discussion about the Bible. Boston (Cambridge, really) is the last stop in the series and will be webcast live over the internet. There will be three panelists advocating biblical literacy from humanist as well as religious viewpoints.
If you are interested in the issue of
biblical literacy, please consider joining your fellow parishioners on September 27th. The webcast begins at 7 p.m. and should conclude at approximately 8:30.
An Introduction to Bible Study
In October we will be offering the first of three courses as an introduction to Bible study, all authored by the Massachusetts Bible Society, an organization founded in 1805 for the purpose of promoting biblical literacy. We will begin with the 6-session
What is the Bible? This course will provide a broad overview of the Bible, including chapters on how to select a Bible suitable to your needs, how the Bible is organized, how the collection of books that comprise the Bible were chosen, different ways that people approach the text, and what archaeology has to tell us about the text and its stories. There are two other courses in the series - Introducing the Old Testament and Introducing the New Testament - which will be offered later in the year.
What is the Bible? Wednesdays, 1:00 in the oratory, beginning October 5th. There will also be a closed FB group for those interested in increasing their knowledge of the Bible but who cannot attend the Wednesday group.
Embracing the Prophets: We will be re-showing the Walter Brueggemann dvd series called Embracing the Prophets. This will be presented in the chapel on Sundays at 11:30, beginning on October 9th.
A complete listing of fall offerings will be made available in the coming weeks.
Sunday School Choir Rehearsal: September 4th. There will be a brief music rehearsal following the 10 a.m. service for Sunday School children. A piece will be prepared to sing at the September 11th Youth Sunday service. All children, grades 1-6, are invited to participate.
Youth Sunday: September 11th. Children are asked to meet in the chapel at 9:45 a.m. Sunday School registration will be in the undercroft following the 10:00 service. Parents, please bring a refreshment to share at coffee hour.
Sunday School begins: September 18th. Wigglers (ages 3-kindergarten) meet in the Crane Room, located in the basement of the church. Grades 1-3 and 4-6 meet in classrooms on the 2nd floor of the parish office building (across the street at 234 French). All classes begin at 9:45.
JR YES: first class on September 11th. Class meets in the back room on the 2nd floor of the parish office building.
SR YES: first class on September 11th. Class meets in the library at 234 French St. Pizza is served at 11:30; the CnC lesson begins at noon. This month's topic will be
Faith in Action: The Issue of Power.
Sunday School registration packets will be mailed to all parents during the first week of September. If your child is new to St John's or has not previously been a student, call the office (947-156) or speak to Pat Sprague to ensure that you receive registration materials. All information and forms will also be available in the undercroft on Youth Sunday, October 11th.
Good News 3/4
Rite I: Tone
(Editor's Note: This is Part III in a four part series on Rite I. A Rite I Eucharist is planned for 10am on October 16, 2016)
Once we become accustomed to the style of Rite I and learn the meaning of some of its less familiar terms, we may notice the tone of the service. It is more inward than Rite II, and more penitent. The General Confession in Rite II has no phrase like "We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness." The Prayer of Humble Access ("We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy table") is eliminated from Rite II entirely.
How can we engage with these self-abasing sentiments, and why should we? We all suffer challenges to our self esteem. Our efforts fail, our ambitions go unfulfilled, our relationships sometimes turn bad. Doesn't all this language needlessly aggravate life's burdens? Doesn't it mask God's love for us?
It does not. Here's how this language--this tone--can help us live into God's love.
Imagine you came face to face with God. Would you greet him as a familiar, reach out to shake his hand? Likely not. Most of us would be seized with the realization of the wrongs we had committed, the good and necessary things we had left undone, all our secret guilts and sorrows. We would fall to our knees in shame.
God would hear us out as we described our manifold sins and wickedness. God would acknowledge our faults. God would acknowledge our humility before his hospitality. And then the miracle: God would forgive us and welcome us to his table.
Rite I invites us to see ourselves as God sees us. Only by seeing the depths of our shortcomings can we appreciate fully God's forgiveness, compassion, acceptance, welcome, and infinite love.
This is an opportunity to embrace. The more we can see ourselves as God sees us, the better we can see his vision for the lives we have yet to live.
New Staff at St. John's
Please welcome our new Nursery Director, Mary Ann Bennett. Mary Ann has been one of our nursery attendants this past year and she will now have responsibility for scheduling attendants, training of attendants, ensuring the safe practices and maintenance of the nursery. Mary Ann will still work as an attendant on many Sunday mornings and also at most of our special services/ family events. She is an experienced Montessori teacher and has MaryAnne has been a private caregiver for several parish families and other families through out Bangor. We are very fortunate to have her now serving the Church in this important capacity.
Please also welcome long time parishioner, Pat Sprague, to a new position of Formation Director. Pat entered retirement last year and began developing and directing adult formation at St. John's. This year Pat Sprague will continue working for adult formation but will now begin overseeing and supporting Christian education for our children and youth. Pat has a passion for formation and has long been involved in adult programs here at St John's, including Education for Ministry (EfM). Last year she also began leading our confirmation program for teens. She is excited to start working with teachers and youth leaders, as well as with parents. While we will continue with the same curricula as last year for the weekly classes (Weaving God's Promises), Pat intends to develop ways of supporting parental (and grand-parental) teaching in the home. If you have interest in being part of formation at St. John's for adults or for families, please be sure to let Pat know. She welcomes your ideas and your involvement.
Patricia Sprague MaryAnne Bennett
Missions' Trip Timeline
"Be still, and know that I am God..." - Ps. 46:10
After a lesson on service led by Pat Sprague, and a blessing at the mid-week Eucharist, the SJ youth and leaders [pictured below] headed south to Cambridge, MA.
After arriving Wednesday evening, we were blessed to spend some time with Brother Keith from
before Compline. He led the group in a time of silence and reflection. This time with Br. Keith, as well as the Compline services we participated in throughout the trip, was a highlight for many of the youth.
On Thursday, we began to explore the idea of stillness together; our devotional time was centered in Psalm 46, where our theme verse came from. We talked about the connection between our bodies and hearts-how we can work to be still in our bodies, which then helps our hearts and minds quiet. This stillness is one of the gifts we can offer each other.
In the afternoon, we helped set up for and serve their Harvest Meal. The youth made
about that service experience the next day.
will take you to a YouTube video that is only accessible to those with the link. Special appearance by Sock Puppet John.
On Friday, the group split up: half of us served at Friday Cafe, and the other half visited the beautiful
Isabella Stewart Gardiner Museum
. In the early afternoon, we all met up at the Museum of Science-the group's choice for a fun activity. We enjoyed a planetarium show, astronaut ice cream, and a spider exhibit (well, the teens enjoyed the spiders!) You can see a video of the girls on the piano steps of the museum above.
Saturday was a highlight for all of us. We were warmly received by the lovely folks at St. Peter's Church, and their hospitality seemed to inspire all of us to be our best selves. We helped prepare, serve, and clean up from their
Common Care meal
, and the 5 or 6 hours we were there seemed to fly by. Below are some candid photos of the group making food:
A photo of us with our friends at St. Peter's in Cambridge. We served alongside them at Common Care.
p.s. Ask any one of the teens about the whipped cream!
After participating in the the
's service, we spent some time reflecting on the trip before heading home. Each person shared places where they had se
en God, many of them seemingly "ordinary": in the face of one of their team members, in an open door, in a street light showing the way home, in the dynamic energy and love of one of the local leaders ... and the list goes on. I'm sure we'd all love to share with you where we saw God on this trip; feel free to ask us!
Reflection on the Missions' Trip
by Diana Meakem
Thanks for your support of the youth's mission trip in June! God blessed our service, the kids bonded, and I felt as though our devotional times were especially blessed. Everyone was safe & settled. We laughed a lot! There were few logistical surprises-definitely an answer to my prayers that God would go before us & smooth out issues before they even arose. I felt reaffirmed in my role as leader; stepping into that role came naturally, also an answer to prayers. The Lord seemed to remind me in the first few days,
see, you can do this." And of course it was exhausting & I spent a week recovering, but that is to be expected.
I love seeing how God weaves everything together in ways I wasn't expecting, how he blesses me abundantly when I think I'm the one there to bless. Let me share an example of that. One morning in devotions, we studied Martha and Mary, and asked ourselves whether it was easier for us to give or receive. Later that day, we were serving at St. Peter's Episcopal Church; we helped them prepare, serve and clean up from the meal. We were there almost six hours helping, and towards the end of the day, most of the group was tired, and was sitting down resting. We had reached that point of cleaning up where it was hard to see what was left to do, especially when it's not your kitchen. I was wiping down tables, and the youngest member of the group-a twelve-year-old who was brave in her choice to come-came up to me, took the rag out of my hand and said,
Let me do this for you. You go sit and rest. You must be so tired.
Although I handed the rag over, I didn't fully recognize this gift until later. To be honest, in that moment, I didn't go sit: I was more Martha than Mary. But later, I realized that my young friend saw me in that moment, and offered to serve me. In her voice even today, I hear the Lord's offer to come rest at His feet for a while. The in and out wave of grace: receiving from the Lord in the quiet and then offering what you've received to others.
Throughout the whole trip, I was reminded that God is present. Sometimes I'
m more attuned to
him than others, and I'm grateful for the times when He puts me in a different place, which sometimes lets me see Him just a little more, or a little differently.
Thanks again for your love and support.
Announcements & Looking Ahead
Ice Cream Social
will be on Wednesday, August 31st at 6:30 pm at Fairmount Park. Please bring ice cream and/or a topping to share.
Our next Youth Sunday is on September 11th.
Children are asked to meet in the chapel at 9:45am. Sunday School registration will be in the Undercroft after the service. Parents, please bring a refreshment to share at coffee hour.
Sunday School begins Sunday September 18th.
Wigglers, ages 3 through kindergarten, meet in the Crane Room, located in the basement of the church. Grades 1-3 and 4-6 meet in classrooms across the street at 234 French Street. Classes begin at 9:45 am.
Please join us for the Parish Picnic on September 18th, following the 10:00 am service here at the church.
Come for fun, fellowship and great food, including pulled pork donated by Moe's Original BBQ! Please bring your favorite dessert to share. Also, last year's "Red Truck Challenge" was such a big success, we're bringing it back for a second year. Please bring some non-perishable food items to church with you and let's see if we can fill up Jim Blanchette's truck bed for the second year in a row to benefit the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter.
St. Pat's is holding its third art night, and they are extending an invitation to our church members who would like to show their art work-photography, paintings, drawing, quilts, (other handiwork), pottery, sculpture, etc.) The art night will be Friday, September 30, 2016 from 6 pm to 8 pm. You can contact
directly or call 944-0838.