St. Francis by the Sea Episcopal Church

Blue Hill ~ Maine

April 9, 2024

A Celebration of St. Francis New Ministry

Sunday, April 14, 2024

4 PM

 A message from The Rev. Douglas Beck

Dear People of God,

This coming Sunday, April 14 at 4:00 PM we will gather for a special celebration. The Rt. Rev. Thomas James Brown, the tenth Bishop of Maine, will renew our shared ministry. The Bishop’s presence ties together the elements of our mutuality and continuity as St. Francis by the Sea.

Stewart Zabriskie, in the book, Total Ministry observes that “there is one ministry of the one body, which is Christ’s ministry as exercised through that body. All vocations contribute to the efficacy of that one ministry, expressed in mission. All baptized people – lay and ordained – participate in it according to the gifts given them.”

The framework of a relationship with a rector is rooted in understanding the responsibility of living our shared life with ordained pastoral leadership and oversight on behalf of the bishop that includes the ministry of the laity.

Our community is only complete, the Body whole, when all of our gifts get raised up. The success of our relationship relies on each on of us, and our ability to see God’s presence working for the good in and through all things. This is what we celebrate.

I am grateful that we can share in this celebration of our mutual ministry together. As Paul writes in the Letter to the Church in Phillipi, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Hear these words to the Church that is Christ’ Body present and active today. “We do all things through Christ who strengthens us.” May our mutual life together be shaped by this. Amen!

Faithfully in Christ,


We pray for our loved ones:

Mary Boyd, Lucius Bridges, Bill Cary, Cynthia, Bill Casale, Kathy Caudill, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry+, Julia, Chris Koch, David McBeth, Lorelei McKinnon, Ronan, Dinny Robson, Donny Smith, Rod Smith, Peggy Smith, Robert Tobin, Tracey Hair, and Persis Williams. 

For those with April Birthdays: Fr. Douglas Beck, Lucy Bowick, Jim Briggs. Richard Brown, Lee Buck, Lindsay Decrow, Tony Everdell, Heather Ford, Maynard Gretchell- Forbes, Sue Grindle, Kathleen Hayward, Brenda Higgins, Jack Joyce, Nancy Peers, Persis Williams


We are sad to have lost a long-time faithful parishioner and friend. We pray for the repose of the soul of Tony Newton and for Merry and all of their family and friends.

The Schedule of Current Events

(Come! Tomorrow!)

A Very Special

Wednesday Seekers

10 AM

The study of this book begins Wednesday, April 10

All are welcome!

From a reviewer:

"A readable, upbeat discourse on the power of redemptive love. A book I read, loved, gave as a gift, and a book that I will re-read again. An enjoyable and hopeful message! So well written!"

A Current Event, for sure!

Our Senior Warden, Milissa, and Jon Paul are having well-deserved family time "sugaring" in Michigan!

Have fun and bring that maple syrup home!


Future Events

Celebration of New Ministry celebrates new ministry collaboration with our new rector. The Rt. Rev. Thomas J. Brown, Bishop of Maine, will be our celebrant, Sunday, April 14, at 4:00 PM with a light supper following in the undercroft.

Evensong with guest choir Euphony under the direction of Francis Vogt, accompanied by Dr. Laura Artesani will take place Thursday, May 2 at 7:30 PM. Douglas, our rector, will be the Officiant. The service is a form of sung Evening Prayer from The Book of Common Prayer. This will be a beautiful evening of prayers chanted, sung, and spoken and an excellent opportunity to bring a friend who may have yet to enter our beautiful church.

The Gifting and Blessings


Suzanne and David Decrow

-a special "thank you" to David who headed up our enormous renovation just a few years ago. It was a huge project!

(The following is a well-timed history from Suzanne ---in her own words)

From Suzanne-

"In the beginning...Blue Hill had no Epsicopal Church. In 1975 a small group of local Episcopalian folks first started meeting at the Blue Hill Library then Rowantrees Pottery and then Bar Harbor Bank until 1984 when they moved to the Blue Hill American Legion Hall. Each Sunday a small altar was rolled out of a closet, a cross was hung on a wall, hymnals and prayer books were put on folding chairs and a sheet was hung to cover the American Legion Preamble. Smells of percolating hazelnut coffee from Blue Hill Tea and Tobacco would waft in during the service through the open door into the kitchen area. As the Senior Warden, David Witter was charged in the winter with turning on the water when he arrived and then baling the toilet at the end of the service. Milissa has it so easy these days... 😉 

The first St. Francis Fair was in 1991 in the front yard of the Legion Hall. The idea was Tommie Duncan's as a means to raise money for the church purchase and move. Junque only needed 3 tables for the "treasures" that year as compared to the 70+ when the fair ended at the Blue Hill Fairgrounds location. That first fair also offered the Gentlemen Grillers and a sale of art by local artists, most of whom were St. Francis members. The fair locations changed as the fair grew in size... the small lawn in front of the Legion Hall, the lawn in front of Rufus Wannings house, the parking lot of the Congo church, the Blue Hill Elementary School, the back field at St. Francis to its final years at the fairgrounds.

The term Junque for Jesus was coined by our first part-time priest John Hedger. He came down the street on fair day, saw the tables of "junk" for sale and made that comment. Emily Chaney then "classed" it up by changing the spelling to Junque.

By 1989, the congregation grew and more space was needed. The vacant Methodist Church on Rt. 15 in Penobscot was purchased, the parcel of land on Rt.177 was generously donated by the Leach family and the church was cut into 4 sections and moved down the road to the present location. The next time you drive by the Blue Hill Garage imagine seeing a church steeple sticking out of the garage doors!!! The hardworking small congregation- young and old- had it moved there to be scraped and painted one weekend before being placed back on the church!!! 

Since its initial move to Blue Hill, the church had a number of additions before the first Building Fund Campaign in the late 1990's. An architect and builder were hired. During the construction our services were held at the Congo church. They graciously adjusted their service time to accommodate us. The campaign was very successful and provided for the new space that is enjoyed today along with a percentage of the funds raised set aside as outreach to support local organizations.

The idea for a church cookbook came about in 1991 again as a means to raise money for the purchase and move of the church. After enjoying some delicious entrees brought to the church potlucks and researching that a local cookbook had not been published for over 10 years, Suzanne Decrow proposed that the church create one. The Bishop's Committee approved the venture and recipes were solicited from the congregation and the community. With the expert computer assistance of Sharon Cousins, 163 pages of recipes were collected, edited and printed. The first printing of 1000 copies sold out in less than 3 months!! The second printing of 1000 also sold out!! Due to the success of the first cookbook and the number of new parishioners at St. Francis, a second volume of new recipes of Cooking with St. Francis by the Sea Volume II became a reality in 1996. Those books are still available.

The potlucks of St. Francis are always a memorable occasion. In the past we have had many: after the Christmas Eve service, one to celebrate Mardi Gras with live music by the New Trad Trio (and dancing), a First Feast of Easter lamb barbeque, summer picnics at various locations... any excuse to gather and share food seems to be the way it goes.

The Christmas ornament tradition was started in 1997 when we first had 2 trees set up behind the altar during advent and through Christmas. They looked pretty barren so the idea was to make some ornaments to have the trees be more festive for the Christmas Eve and Christmas day services. Also, they were to be a gift from St. Francis to all the church attendees at those services. The first ornament was one of St. Francis. (I will send the photo in a separate email) Since that time they have been all types of Christmasy items- stars, angels, sheep, trees, snowflakes, snow covered pine cones, etc. etc... Many folks have collected them over the years and look forward to what will appear each year."

Our geese arrived in Maine (along with 10's of thousands of tourists) in time for the amazing eclipse!

-and we are having a much-needed showing of Maine at its April best!

Spring has sprung on the Blue Hill Peninsula!

Flocks of robins, gobbling turkeys, bright colors of crocus

Welcome Spring!