St Francis by the Sea Episcopal Church
Blue Hill~Maine
eClare

Advent and Christmas, 2020
Greetings Parishioners and Friends!
Please join us for our Services

Christmas Eve – 7:00 PM on Zoom
Christmas Morning – 9:00 AM on Zoom
"Pippin", Brigid, Windy, Hannah Maeve, and Fr. Brent
A Christmas Message from
The Reverend Brent Was

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward all.’”

What else is there to say? 

In a year like this, the worst we’ve had around here in a very long time, where do we find the comfort and joy of Christmas? Where do we find the peace of the season? 
“Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”

What else is there to say? 

Hard times, upside-down times, scary times call for the very best of us. We are needed. We need others. And as it so often works out, the more we need of others the more we realize how much we have to give.
“For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

What else is there to say? 

In this extraordinary year, Windy, Hannah Maeve, Brigid and I offer our gratitude for the warm welcome, the love and support we have received since our first day in Maine with you all. Thank you for being you and doing all the marvelous things that need to be done.

What else is there to say? 

Just, “God Bless us, Everyone!” 

From our Senior Warden, Milissa LaLonde,

Dear Friends,
"As I ponder this, a year like no other, I am warmed by the bright lights; the positives among a sea of negatives, the love and kindness at the time of pandemic. I have had the unique privilege of witnessing incredible acts of kindness and generosity by many who wish to remain anonymous. I see the hard work that is carried out with open hearts and smiling faces. I speak with those who have been hurt but are unwilling to speak poorly of those who caused the hurt. I have watched the angels among us reach out again and again to those who need endless support. I have reveled at the willingness of so many to share their time and talents in ways that enhance the quality of our community. I have enjoyed the fun and frolic created by wise folks who understand the need for both. And I have been inspired by the attitude and open-mindedness of so many at St. Francis-By-the-Sea. You have taught me much and I am so grateful.

Blessings at this beautiful season and may each one of you remain healthy through the new year."
A Wonderfully successful
Festival Of Lights at St. Francis Church

From The Rev. Carlton Russell...
Lorna, Blue and I experienced the amazing St. Francis light show last evening: we even drove through it a second time, observing some subtle details we’d missed on the first round.
Thank you for the imagination, planning, expense, time, and labor which culminated in a remarkable display -- one that symbolizes the bright spirit of St. Francis, Blue Hill.
Faithfully, in Christ, Carlton

Kathy DeSilvey put it this way,

"What a joy! I did my little thing - climbing ladders, extending myself, falling into the fluff twice - all in good cheer. This is what the precious season is all about. D and I are privileged to be part of such a joyful, caring crew!"

and Bob Publicover...it really was a wonderful time despite the chill in the air, the snow on the ground and Fr. Brent and John Paul’s total disregard of the laws of gravity. The combined love and energy of our St. Francis family still makes me smile... now that my face has thawed (toes not so much). Thank you all for making this a Merry Christmas to remember and a new tradition!!  
From Gail and Page Williamson in Tennessee
We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and are praying for a kinder, calmer 2021. We are looking forward to June when we predict we can safely return to our pew at St. Francis. Here is a photo that we hope in some small way captures the spirit of the season. The image is from Terlingua, TX with the mountains of Big Bend National Park in the background....our love to all....
Gail and Page
Also from The Rev. Carlton Russell
My colleague Tim Harbold, choral director at Wheaton College, sent this virtual Christmas card yesterday, featuring his Gospel arrangement of “O Holy Night”, sung by the Wheaton Chorale some previous year. Brad and Tim live in Boston and attend Old South Church, which explains most of the photography (except for one photo of the Chorale in the Wheaton Chapel).

Stewardship Is Serious Business!
...which is why our very sedate, bingo-calling
Stewardship Chair, Lynne Yurosko,
had so much success and took us over the top of our 2021 goal.
Lynne has sent a short, subdued Christmas Greeting from her winter home in Boca Raton, Florida!
Click below!

From Chris Ramsay
This is my great-nephew Parker (age 5 and a half) and the letter he received from Santa.  
He decorates Christmas cookies with enthusiasm and certainty. "It's NOT too much!"

From Lauren Sangster
Hi. I live in Portland, Maine. It's a bit tough today as its the second anniversary of my husband, Mike’s passing. I miss him during this beautiful snow storm! He would have loved getting out with me to take snowy photos! Otherwise, I’m doing okay. Hope everyone is doing well at your end!
Christmas Greetings
from
Colleen Spangler and her Family
From Jane and Jack Hooper in New Hampshire
Joyous Christmas Greetings to St. Francis, our home away from our NH home. It is always wonderful whenever we can join you via Zoom and be with our St. Francis family.
With Hope for the New Year, 2021,
Peace, Jane & Jack Hooper
From Roxanne Jansen
"My mother always displayed these figurines with joy at Christmas, and my added sign about ‘respect’ reflects a life lesson instilled by my father."
From Libbie and Mark Cluett in Georgia
Libbie and I are fine and eagerly awaiting vaccinations; we are high on the priority list because we reside in a long term health facility. My concern is whether eating too many chocolate chip cookies will cause any problems with the success of the vaccination.
From Jo-Ann Krestan
Christmas Cat Krestan while listening To the Night Before Christmas & watching for chickadees.
 Merry Christmas! Jo Krestan
From Suzanne and David Decrow
We arrived up at Sugarloaf for the season last week- just in time for sub-zero temps!!
This is the view last week from our place up here. You can see frost on the trees and the snowmakers at work on the trails. To quote Ann Joyce, we only got a "skiff" of snow from last week's storm.
It will be a different Covid-style ski season this year, but the mountain is doing everything it can to make it work.
Our best holiday wishes to all of our St. Francis friends.
🎄  🗻  🎿  💕  Suzanne and David
From The Rev. Claudia W. Smith in Portland
I send much love to the people of St. Francis and deep thanks for all the prayers for my healing. I am doing very well, I'm sure in part, because of all your prayers. As we round the corner on this season of Advent waiting, and prepare to celebrate God's great gift of love in the birth of the baby Jesus, may we remember that the significance of the gift is not dependent on the extravagance of the celebration. This year will feel so very different for most of us, separated from family and treasured traditions, and yet it was in a humble stable that God showed His love. May we all feel that quiet presence this year. 
Peace and blessings, Claudia+
From Jim and Terry Briggs in North Carolina
It is always fun to see the greetings from all those we know and love.
Blessings, Joy, and Peace to you and yours!
Jim and Terry
We really doing this?
Keep Rolling!
WOW!
The Yardy Boys are all about Gingerbread Houses...in Colorado!
Mary Hartley’s daughter, Kira Hartley Klinger, represents two missions for her church in Ohio, and has been a Bombas recipient for three years. This year she tagged us as a sock-elf, shipping 75 pairs to St. Francis for H.O.M.E. She has also sent socks for the victims of Nicaragua and Ecuador, to people who are in touch with unsheltered homeless, and an orphanage --- geez, I am proud of her. Mary
 
Ed. Note: Please keep Mary, Kira and all their family in prayers due to a recent exposure to Covid-19
From Linda Sturtevant in Florida
"Christmas greetings and love from Sanibel. 
Stay safe and warm. I miss you all."
Some Fun Christmas Photos!
Spiffy Rowan and Keagan Everdell on the left, Jon Paul and our Rector up a tree (!) and Frances Natchez receiving her first ever baby kitten!

from Elaine MacLean
"Hello everyone and happy holidays from Elaine MacLean...still hunkering down in Blue Hill."

A Christmas Greetings from Lucy Bowick. This is her son's home in Sedgwick
From P.J. Curtis in Florida
I am really enjoying Zoom and seeing everyone. My son and his girl friend are coming for Christmas so we are looking forward to that. We are being very careful and pretty much keeping to ourselves. Ordering groceries for pickup at Walmart!! We just wish everyone up there a Merry Christmas and a happy new year from us!!!!  Love. PJ
 From Ellen Young in New Mexico

I have had a very busy year: lots of writing, many Zoom seminars and meetings, two books in production.  Transported, about my childhood travels, is due out in January from Finishing Line Press. Publicity for Lost in the Greenwood, which explores the unicorn tapestries of 500 years ago, will begin soon after. 
 
   I have so far made 200 masks for a volunteer project providing protective masks to doctor’s offices and other at-risk workers. And I spend my days in a comfortable house filled with desert light.
 
    In this year which will be remembered by so many people as the worst ever, I have been very fortunate. I can see blessings more clearly than I could when I was younger.
 From Margie Matter in Tucson, Arizona
I do think of you, dear friends....talked with Ann
Cushman yesterday just to keep in touch. She had been out for a walk and I caught her resting afterwards. I'm staying in, mostly, going to the park and walk around the track (it's flat!) Sunshine, 32 degrees this morning, up to mid- 60's afternoon...no complaints!
(Center) Ann and Brent Follweiler's beautiful Christmas tree and elf!
Left, are the daughters of Katie McCloud, Molly and Leah, with grandson Ronan, taking a snowy walk in Portland
On the right is the newest family addition: Samuel Martin MacLeod!!

From The Rev. Allan Sandlin
We send you all our warmest greetings and much love this Christmas. Like many of you, our family will be divided this year. Our son, Thomas, and his wife, Alexandra, are in Amsterdam where they live and work. Allan, Gretchen and Lizzy are in Atlanta, but looking forward to returning to Maine as soon as it’s wise and safe to do so. 
We are grateful for you all and the good work the people of St. Francis continue to do on the peninsula. Add to that a heaping measure of gratitude for Fr. Brent and his good and faithful ministry in these hard times. And how blessed we are to have Carlton and Lorna providing musical sustenance for this sometimes dark journey!
Joy and peace,

Allan Sandlin and Gretchen Nagy
(Vicar, then Rector, at St. Francis, 1994-99)
From Scott Grindle
I hope you all have a lovely Christmas. I hope this pandemic will be over sooner, rather than later. There is hope.
From Jane Reinoso
I am at my Brooksville cottage--no running water, but there's electricity and a wood stove for heat. I can create a hot spot for my phone when I need to but mostly I enjoy the silence and the sights of the Bagaduce River and nature all around. I also play my flute and play with the keyboard that Aletha gifted me before she headed south.
From Doug Worthington in Connecticut
Hope you are doing well. Jim and I are settling in at my first parish as a brand-new priest (I was ordained in September): St Andrew's in Kent, CT. We arrived here in late July, and the pandemic notwithstanding, the welcome has been warm and the rhythm of life delightful. We are so grateful to be here. We missed our St Francis friends this summer -- next year, we surely hope!
In peace and love, Doug
From Mary Tyler Knowles
Larry and I are healthy and busy despite this virus. We are in the process of redoing the foundation of one cottage, building another on the East Blue Hill Rd and loving the cozy warmth of our winter cottage at Parker Ridge. We send our Christmas greetings to all.
Tyler Knowles & Larry Flood (and our golden doodle Rufus and our adorable female cat George)
From Peter Smith
Merry Christmas from your friends in Cape Cod!  Donny and I are healthy and happy here at Thirwood Place. Moving to an assisted living facility made a lot of sense for two octogenarians with medical issues. We get great care and we also get to be only 30 minutes away from a large segment of our family. Donny and I have been blessed indeed.  
We miss our St. Francis family and keep you all in our prayers. With love, Peter.  
From Anna Brown
Hello to everyone in our St. Francis family! Emma and I are pretty settled in Bangor these days, but we still miss St. Francis and Blue Hill so much. We are hoping to Zoom with you all at the Christmas Eve service and get to see all of your shining faces! Emma is going to graduate this year from John Bapst, and I am busy as usual teaching and grading stacks of essays. Much love to all of you!
Anna
From Cathy and Ed Thompson
Here is our contribution to the Festival of Lights which we are sad to miss.
It is a White Christmas on our deck in Falmouth. 
Joy, love and peace to all. 
Cathy and Ed
From John Haley in San Diego
Merry Christmas to all or as we say in California, "Feliz Navidad"
From Aletha Langham in Georgia
We had minimal damage to our home in the Bahamas and all three of our boats are floating. It was a miracle because so many of our neighbors didn’t have a tooth pick left. Six tornadoes hit Hope Town at the same time. There is no logic- we were just spared by God’s grace. We are attempting to go to the Bahamas in January. This will be our first trip there in two years. 
The really good news is that my daughter’s family is healing. Sophie is doing well and my son -in law- is ok. I am headed north by car on Sunday and they are meeting me half way so I don’t have to fly to DC for the holidays. 
As we know all of these things just help to build hope and character in us. 
Hugs from Georgia
Aletha
A Message from Outreach Chair, Sue Grindle

A very sincere thank you to everyone who donated to our Giving Tree this year. On Wednesday, Dec. 16th, 108 books and 108 toys were delivered to and gratefully received by Emmaus. Out on a Whimsey and Blue Hill Books made wonderful age appropriate choices for our children. In return, we hope that we have helped these shops survive a devastating year in retail. Hammond Lumber's large donation allowed us to give presents to 36 additional children. Marty Hamblen was integral in getting these businesses involved and bringing the gifts to the church. We all agree that 2020 was a tragic year, but still, blessings surround us. Stay tuned for further Outreach updates on all our work in the next issue of the eClare.
Happy and Healthy Holidays!
Brigid, Hannah Maeve, Camdyn, Brighton and Taggart Chung
In addition to the extraordinary gifting fascilitated by Marty Hamblen and The Hammond Lumber Company, Nora put together the forty votives for our friends at the Harbor View Apartments and we gifted the same for sixty-plus residents and workers at the Island Nursing Home. All of this was greatly assisted by the funding for Outreach at St. Francis by the Sea.
Thank you, everyone. You are truly the givers!

*an update on The Rev. Persis Williams Persis: She sounds wonderful on the phone and says she appreciates all of the cards. She says she is well and wants to make sure everyone knows she is feeling just fine!

Also, all of the residents' votives at INH were lit last evening and were a big success for each resident and staffer.