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.
Summary of Cottage Meetings
Ben Treat & Sarah Danser
In March and April of 2017, St. John's held a series of eleven Cottage Meetings as a way of bringing small groups of parishioners together to stimulate ideas and share thoughts about our dreams for the church and, through sharing, to listen to where God is calling us as a church. This document summarizes the observations of parishioners at these eleven meetings.
These meetings were part of the Discernment phase of the Capital Campaign, to determine whether the parish should proceed to the Feasibility Study phase. Over 70 people took part in this process, including 10 hosts who provided refreshments and meeting space, and 8 discussion facilitators who were coached in the process by Leslie Pendleton, the Episcopal Church Foundation consultant engaged by the Vestry to lead us through the Discernment phase.
The level of participation in the meetings and the ideas brought forward indicate sufficient interest in capital projects to justify a feasibility study for a capital campaign
What We Do Well
Participants in the Cottage Meetings were asked what we St. John's do well. The general themes that emerged in the responses to this question can be grouped into the areas of, in no particular order: Liturgy and Worship; Music; Pastoral Care; Outreach and Feeding Ministries; Worship Setting; Sharing our Facilities; Community and People; and Youth. Values we found central to St. John's identity had to do with community, family, and offering a sense of warmth, beauty, and home.
What Might We Do Better? What Are Our Challenges? Who Do We Want to Become?
Examination of what we find challenging or burdensome brought forth ideas about steps we might take to align our facilities and programming with who we are and want to be as a parish. These ideas centered on a number of different themes. Those include, in no special order:
Liturgy and Worship
Chiefly, we wish to reach out to new people and new generations by offering a variety of worship services and by reducing barriers to understanding and participating in them.
Buildings - the Church and its rooms, the grounds, and the Parish House
Parishioners expressed concern about our buildings. Many or most meeting participants view our buildings as not representing optimally who we are or wish to be; participants also feel that our buildings are not optimal for our current needs and are not equal to the task of realizing the future participants spoke of during Cottage Meetings.
While the Church, in particular, is deeply cherished, people also described this building as expensive, outdated, worn, underused, or used inefficiently. The worship space is beautiful, but it is also uncomfortable and can be intimidating. Participants see a contradiction between a grand Nave and an underwhelming Undercroft. Many suggestions centered on updating and refreshing the interior of the Church; making the Undercroft and other rooms more functional, versatile and inviting; and ensuring that our spaces are clean, safe, pleasant, and easy to navigate. Maintaining the Church is expensive, and an outlying opinion exists that we can no longer maintain the Church at all and should divest ourselves of all our properties.
We would like to add beauty, appeal, and spiritual richness to our Church grounds. Participants spoke of the memorial garden and the possibility of a labyrinth.
A variety of ideas came forward about optimizing or repurposing our Parish House space, to make it more productive in serving our ministries. A minority opinion prefers to sell the Parish House, which would necessitate buying another property or moving the Parish House's functions (office space, Sunday School, Al-Anon and AA, and so on) into the Undercroft. The Capital Campaign will need to address the need to maintain these services while the Parish House structure is in need of significant repair.
Generally, we seek a cost-aware balance between an appreciation of our aesthetic and historic value (including the stained glass windows) and a desire for functionality appropriate to the needs and ministries of a modern urban church. We must prioritize our structures and plan for their ongoing maintenance.
Outreach and Community
Participants envision a church that is out in the community - sharing resources, fostering relationships, providing spaces, services, and events for our neighbors, and making sure we are communicating widely and effectively.
We want to improve communication and personal connection among parishioners. This could mean offering additional and more varied fellowship opportunities that encourage us to share of ourselves and get to know one another.
Children and Youth
The chief theme that emerged from the youth was variety and interactivity. We want to offer activities and formation that engage and involve youth in worship and in the parish community, helping them to stay spiritually connected as they grow older.
Christian Formation and Spiritual Life
We seek creative opportunities for adults to wrestle together with scripture or life issues. Questions were raised about the impact and attendance of current offerings. We welcome opportunities to gather together in small groups and retreats.
Parish Growth and Newcomers
Our sense is that we must be reaching out, going where the people are and "sowing the seeds." We will need to grapple with how to appeal to the unchurched, which could include researching and understanding what they want and need from church. We note that we are part of a diverse community and our growth is tied to the patterns of growth in the surrounding community. Additionally, our overall patterns of behavior should be welcoming, and we should engage newcomers.
Church Administration and Finances
Concerns centered on planning for the future; transparency; and making best use of the resources that we already have, including knowledge
We would like a wider range of musical expression and participation; youth particularly voiced this interest. Hosting musical events draws in funds and brings us recognition by engaging the wider community.
With gratitude to the participants, hosts, and facilitators of the Cottage Meetings, and drawing upon the views expressed at those meetings, the Vestry is working to identify specific Capital Campaign projects that will help us to become the church that parishioners have envisioned. These projects will be described in a forthcoming letter from the Vestry to the parish, after which the cost of these projects will be assessed and a Feasibility Study will be conducted.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the Vestry,
Sarah Danser and Ben Treat
American Folk Festival
On August 25-27 Saint Johns once again ran fundraising booth, "We're All Ears", at the Folk Festival on the Bangor waterfront. Due to the limited financial success of the fundraiser in 2016, we expanded our menu in 2017 to include popcorn and baked goods in addition to corn-on-the-cob.
It was a significant effort and a good booth thanks to participation by dozens of parishioners who worked at the stand and contributed baked goods for sale at the booth. Regrettably, I do not even know of all who contributed their tome and treasure to the effort..
I would like to thank all who contributed their time and delicious baked goods to the effort. I want to especially thank several people for their major and important efforts. Setting up and disassembling the booth, including moving the 10' counter out of the church and back in is probably the task i looked forward to least. With the efforts of Jim Blanchette, Cindy Lufkin, Jason Spearin, Frank Bennett, Stephen Miller and one of the cooks who works for John Bapst, the task was accomplished gracefully. Anne-Marie Miller was very valuable in coordinating the booth volunteers and making sure that the booth was adequately staffed at all times.In addition to working at the booth with his family, Ralph Robbins loaned us his propane burner and other equipment to cook and serve the corn.
We had a lot of volunteers who did not know each other well working with each other at the booth. I think that is a good thing. I got to meet and work with people i had never seen before at church. I hope a good time was had by all who contributed.
The bottom line is that the booth was done as a fundraiser and we did not show a monetary profit from the effort. I do not have a final tally but we came close to breaking even.
Youth Sunday/Parish Picnic/Food Truck
A New Hymn to Celebrate St. John's
Ardent in spirit, patient in prayer,
God's love with friend and stranger
Joyfully we share!
These words form the refrain of a new hymn written to celebrate the 100th anniversary of worship at St John's in our current building. The lyrics were written by the Rev. Dr. Jennifer Reece, who is currently serving as Priest-in-charge at Church of the Good Shepherd in Rangeley. Nancy and I spend a good bit of time in Rangeley, where we have had a home for a number of years, we're officially members of Church of the Good Shepherd. We've played "Stars and Stripes" July 4 concerts there for the past ten years. This past year I played the organ there for the Sunday after Christmas, and Jenny had written the text for a new Christmas carol about the flight into Egypt. I was very struck by her imaginative use of language, and Mo. Rita agreed with my suggestion that we ask her to pen a new hymn text for St. John's. The vestry met in June and honed the ideas coming out of last year's cottage meetings. Then in the summer, Mo. Rita and Sarah Danser further refined those ideas with the addition of some scriptural passages, as requested by Jenny. Once her first draft of the text was completed in August, I began composing a tune to fit with her words. We're now on the fifth, and final, draft of both words and music, and we both think the hymn reflects the joy, passion, outreach and prayerful presence of St. John's. I especially love the first word of the refrain - "Ardent" - a word meaning "enthusiastic" or "passionate" - perhaps not a commonly used word, but still full of power. The tune is named Queen City, one of the nicknames for Bangor. We will sing our new hymn at a number of services during the next twelve months, beginning with our celebratory Choral Evensong on Sunday, October 1 at 4:00 pm.
Choral Evensong, October 1, 4:00 pm
Evensong on October 1 will commemorate the 182nd Anniversary of the Founding of St. John's. In addition to the premiere singing of our anniversary hymn, Ardent in Spirit, the choir will sing A. Herbert Brewer's setting of the Evening Canticles in D. Brewer served as Organist of Gloucester Cathedral for more than 30 years from 1896-1928. The anthem is John Joubert's (b. 1927) powerful setting of "O Lorde, the maker of al thing," a text attributed to Henry VIII. Joubert, a native of South Africa, has lived in England since 1946. This anthem won first prize in the Novello Anthem Competition in 1952, and is sung regularly in churches and cathedral around the world.
Heritage Winds Concert, Wednesday, October 18, 7:00 pm
St. John's is pleased to offer a free public concert by Heritage Winds on October 18. Heritage Winds is the woodwind quintet component of the United States Air Force Heritage of America Band, based at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. As professional Airman-musicians, the members of Heritage Winds are dedicated to using the power of music to honor our veterans, inspire patriotism, communicate the Air Force story, and recruit those who are interested in serving our nation. Heritage Winds offers innovative programming that covers a wide array of musical styles. The ensemble embraces the full range of the quintet repertoire, while also exploring various instrument combinations. The creative use of ensemble and instrumentation, combined with new arrangements and compositions, ensures that Heritage Winds provides audiences with a unique concert experience. Please invite your friends and neighbors to join us for this free concert.
Choir School for Children
Saturday, October 21 from 10:00 am-2:30 pm St. John's Episcopal Church in Bangor is hosting the first of four "Choir Schools" for children aged 7 and above. The curriculum will include -
- Reading notes and rhythm
- Using the voice; singing technique
- Playing keyboards and handbells
The day will conclude with a brief concert at 2:15 pm in the church, 225 French Street. Participants should pre-register by emailing
or calling 207-974-7715 and giving the name and age of the child. There is no charge for participation and students should bring a bag lunch. Participants do not need to be members of St. John's Church.
Brahms Requiem on All Souls' Day, Thursday, November 2 at 7 pm
Donations will benefit the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter.
The St. John's Choir will sing Brahms' Ein deutsches Requiem in the context of a Requiem Eucharist for All Souls' Day. A German Requiem uses texts from the Bible instead of the traditional liturgical Latin text. Brahms himself said he would have gladly called the work "A Human Requiem." The overarching theme of the piece is comfort. Probably the most famous section is the beautiful fourth movement - in English translation "How lovely are thy dwellings." Join us for this special service to remember all faithful departed. You are invited to submit names to be remembered during the service - either by mailing them to the parish office or emailing them to email@example.com.
Late last year I had a decision to make. Should I rent the lake house in New York as I have done for the past many years... or should I join a long time friend as she takes her 4th mission trip to Haiti?
The lake house offers me peace and solitude. It restores me and allows me to decompress, re-evaluate and reassess my goals and my relationships. It is a time to relax and enjoy life with my son, to offer to him some of the things I was able to enjoy in my youth. To spend our days jumping off docks and floating in the lake. To lie under the stars and talk about our hopes, our dreams and our accomplishments. To build our relationship and create memories to last a lifetime. It is what we have done for years. It is familiar and safe.
Haiti on the other hand is hot, poor, poverty stricken, dirty, struggling and unclean. It is an island of disrepair, turmoil and anguish. It is a place where suffering is a daily occurrence and people feel pain on a reoccurring basis. Haiti is quite simply put, broken. So, why would I entertain the idea of going there? After all, there is the lake house...
I met Alaina 16 years ago while we were stationed in Germany. She was an 18 year old mother to a beautiful 2 year old girl named Alyssa. She and her (now ex-) husband lived in the apartment above us. We spent 4 years together. I was 35 and well established as a mother, wife and nurse... but Alaina taught me much in our 4 years together. We both touched each others lives in a way that allowed us to always remain true friends though time and circumstances moved us apart. She gave birth to another daughter shortly before we left Germany, Her second daughter is named Makalia. She is an incredible15 year old young lady and she has Chiari Brain Malformation. This means , simply put, her brain is growing too quickly for her skull. One day she will no longer be able to walk or care for herself. To date she has had 35 brain surgeries. True to her nature Alaina did not lie down and quietly watch this defect change her daughter. She researched it and became somewhat of a local celebrity. She raises awareness of this defect. She speaks at hospitals, universities and churches taking time to educate people on her daughters journey. She didn't let this consume her and her family, rather, she founded an organization called "Our Strength Project" where she and her daughters take time to visit children who are hospitalized and facing difficult surgeries or treatments. Makalia made origami paper cranes to give to each child she visited. (She has had to stop recently due to problems with her coordination.) But she still visits with her service dog Bailey. It was through this project that she and her oldest Alyssa first decided to go to Haiti. It was a trip that changed them both forever. She spoke about it each year. With each time she spoke, there was such a passion, a love and a sense of peace, I envied her for all she was doing.
The choice was simple. I needed to see my friend again and experience all that she had talked about through her organization. I needed to see if this place, this land of poverty and disrepair could give to me what it had given to her. I needed to experience it first hand.
I have never taken a mission trip. I have always chosen to serve God in a smaller way. I volunteer when I can, help out with the wigglers if I am not working... show up at the soup kitchen to assist a group from work. I serve Him in little ways throughout the community. This was different. This was going to be much bigger. This decision caused me to reflect a lot on His word. I spent a great deal of time thinking about how Jesus walked the earth and created a movement that would change eternity. His mission was to build the kingdom of God.
Matthew 4:19 says, "And he said to them ' Follow me and I will make you fishers of Men.'" Can you imagine what Peter and Andrew must have thought when Jesus beckoned them to follow him? They were just ordinary fishermen, there was nothing special about them... yet Jesus called them to be His deciples. Had they known what was in store for them in their journeys, I feel certain they would have been overwhelmed! However, Jesus call to follow Him is for everyone... young and old, rich and poor... the call is all inclusive. It is a call that does not discriminate. It is a call that I wanted to answer.
I made the decision to serve Him on this mission because I wanted to serve Him in a way that was pleasing. I needed a change... I needed to be surrounded by His people, His word and His love. C.S Lewis once said "I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me." This trip, this mission, this time spent closer to Him was going to be life changing. It was going to change me.
here is the first installment about my decision to take my mission trip. Mother Rita and I talked about putting there in the newsletter... next month I will write another one about the trip and the following month one about after the trip...
St. John's Stained Glass Windows
Between services or before lemonade on the lawn, please take a few minutes to look at the charming Connick and Company stained glass windows in the chapel. The six windows, all in proportion to the size of the chapel, depict Jesus' life from birth until crucifixion.
The windows to the left and right of the alter are dedicated:
(L) "To the Glory of God in loving memory"
(R) "of Katharine Reynolds Nye, 1888-1941."
Both are of the Christ Child as an infant being held by his mother. In the window on the left mother and child have their arms crossed over their breasts with, Joseph, a cow, a donkey and an angel in attendance. Below the Holy Family is inscribed,
"One of thee shall come a governor that shall rule my people, Israel."
The window on the right features a slightly older looking infant Jesus giving his blessing to the magi who are presenting gifts. Note the three crowns laid beneath them.
To the far right of the alter, on the south wall, a beautiful Jesus, at twelve, is in the temple with the elders. There is a lamp at his right and to his left Mary and Joseph appear in the distance, searching for him. The inscription, written on an open book, says,
"And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding .Luke 2:47".
There is no date, but the window was given
"To the glory of God Given by the young people of the parish."
The next window on the south, beside the lectern, tells the story of Jesus finding Simon, called Peter, and Andrew, his brother, casting their fishing net. Jesus and Simon Peter are standing on dry land while Andrew is in their boat on the lake. This window is dedicated to and given
"To the glory of God and in loving memory of Bliss Harold Colpitts and David Harold Colpitts."
Again, written on an open book is the passage,
"Follow me and I will make you fishers of men. Matt. 4:19"
Next month we will look at the two remaining chapel windows and the two on either side of the entry.
invisible wind sighs
through the pond
skim across to
touch the shoreline
So, too, actions
of small measure
other lives nearby
Announcements & Looking Ahead
Please mark your calendar and plan to join us on October 1st for our
Ministry fair and 182nd Celebration of the founding of St. John's Episcopal Church
Extra help is needed for our monthly serving at Second Saturday, hosted here in the Undercroft.
We are scheduled to serve next on
October 14th from 11:30 am-1:30 pm.
You don't need to sign up in advance, or even commit to coming monthly, just stop in to help out when you can. For more information, please see Nancy Henry.
Fall Rummage Sale
will be held on Saturday, October 21, from 8 am to Noon so now is the time to sort clothes, household items, jewelry, books, music, linens, and such. The rule of thumb is "Wear it or share it" and "Use it or loose it". What you donate will bring in much needed revenue and make someone else happy. Donations can be brought to the church Undercroft on Sunday October 15 and on set up days that week. Any questions see Nancy Henry or Claudia/Jim Blanchette.
Save the date:
October 22nd is our yearly special brunch reception for all newcomers, new members and anyone wishing to know St. John's better or to be better known
. Join with the Vestry, clergy and staff members in conversation in the Bangor Room following the 10 am service.