St. Francis by the Sea Episcopal Church

Blue Hill ~ Maine

March 26, 2024

The Celebration of Easter

Sunday, March 31, 2024

10 AM

 "For I remember it is Easter Morn and life and love and peace are all new born."

-Alice Freeman Palmer

A Message from our Rector,

The Rev. Douglas Beck

Dear Friends in Christ,

Palm Sunday morning was the most amazing liturgy from the Blessing of the Palms to the stirring Passion Gospel from Mark, and the sharing of Christ in blessed broken bread and outpoured wine. When I opened my eyes and read the clock that told me it was 5:00 AM, my first Palm/Passion Sunday, as it turns our, had been a marvelous dream. The Versant power outage map confirmed that this dream would be fulfilled in another year. While we did not get to share in any of the above this year, I pray that not doing so will only compel us more fully to enter the drama of Jesus’ last week leading up to what happens next.

In the early part of this Holy Week, I hope you will take a few moments to pray Mark’s Passion Gospel (14:1-15:47). Notice that it is introduced by an act of lavish love. Then, amid all that transpires, what happens to the thread? Do you notice it when you reach the end of your praying of the reading?

“The Three Days” begins Thursday evening, also known as the Triduum. One service stretches across three days, beginning with Christ’s final, great commandment that all is held in love through the institution of the Eucharist (literally “thanksgiving”). We then go out silently and re-enter the church silently on Good Friday as the liturgy continues with scripture, prayer and Eucharist reserved from Thursday as a reminder of the thread of lavish love that keeps us. Leaving again in silence, we return for the climax of the three-day liturgy. We do so, reminding ourselves of our beginnings that are held in God, even when all looks like despair and destruction. Even when we cannot see where we are going, when we are faithful to God’s lavish love, there is a way forward. That way forward will have us burning those things we wish to put behind us and which we have buried in the salt bowl throughout Lent. They need not return. For the present reality is about to get transformed. The final blessing of the Three Days is that of the resurrection.

The Triduum service takes place at 7:00 PM Thursday through Saturday of this Holy Week. Then, of course, comes the Great Easter Feast beginning Sunday, March 31 at 10:00 AM. Alleluia bells are welcome on Saturday and Sunday as you are welcome to joyfully ring their return every time the word is proclaimed!

Very soon we shall do just that. My prayer is that this Holy Week may be one of blessing to you as we are on this road together.


We pray for our loved ones:

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

For those with March Birthdays: Julie Boardman, Mary Boyd, Libby Buck, Ambrose Chung, Suzanne Decrow, David Falck, Steve Hayward, Prudy Heilner, Fred Heilner, Ed Manual, Sandy McCurdy, Pam Peters, Bill Petry, Maren Rosborough, Colleen Spangler, Hannah Maeve Was, Gerald Wheeler.


The funeral service for Joan D'Agostino will take place on Saturday, March 30 at 2:00 pm. All are invited to attend.


We pray for the soul of Louise Vialle, long-time parishioner of St. Francis Church, who has died at her home in Lewiston, Maine

Holy Week Services to Come

Maundy Thursday, March 28 at 7:00 pm

Good Friday, March 29 at 12 Noon and 7:00 pm

Easter Vigil, Saturday, March 30 at 7:00 pm

Easter Day, Sunday, March 31 at 10:00 am

The Schedule of Current Events

A Very Special

Wednesday Seekers

10 AM

(beginning Wednesday, April 3)

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!"

This wonderful book is a gift from St. Francis Church (at no charge) to all who would like to join the discussion of Presiding Bishop Curry's theme of love. Friends are welcome.

Please call the church office (374-5200) to reserve a book or drop by during office hours to pick up a copy for the study. The book will be available as of this coming Thursday, March, 28th.

Adult Forum is Active!

(following our 10 AM Sunday Service)

Ladder to the Light by the Rev. Steven Charleston 

-former Bishop of Alaska, and an Indigenous Elder. Please join us:

“In the darkness, in the valley of shadow, we can feel isolated and afraid. But once we have the light of hope, we begin to see just how many people share in our struggle. The first step toward community is recognizing our common humanity. Instead of seeing strangers in the dark, we recognize fellow climbers in the light.”


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 reception 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 of our treasured Organist and Choir director

"Lorna and Carlton"

A Message from The Rev. Carlton Russell and Lorna

(and Mr. Blue who loves choir practice!)

"Though we began attending St. Francis in the summer of 1985, it has been our spiritual home since 2005. We shared for 33 years a deeply fulfilling church job with an historic organ and wonderful small choir in Massachusetts, this on top of Carlton teaching music full-time at Wheaton College and Lorna teaching French full-time at Norton High School. Understandably, Lorna swore that when we retired to Maine, she would not get tied down again every Sunday. HA! In July of 2007 we were offered the position at St. Francis, and here was an organ that Lorna could not resist. Carlton had thought he’d exercise his priesthood in retirement more than activity in church music. But there was something enticing for Carlton, too … another small, capable choir. The God of Surprises strikes!

Fast forward to Easter, 2024. The music for Easter Sunday reflects our commitment to a variety of styles and our love of traditions that reach far back into the history of the church. Lorna’s prelude is Baroque, based on a Lutheran chorale. The sung psalm includes the Easter gradual Haec dies: "On this day the Lord has acted; we will rejoice and be glad in it". Before the Gospel, the choir sings Victimae Paschali laudes, the Easter sequence, more than a thousand years old. It is strengthening and inspiring to think of all the Christians who have sung these chants on Easter Day across the centuries. The anthem is a jazzy number with blue notes and cool solos sung by Heather. Douglas will sing the service, and we will belt out well-loved Easter hymns. The communion hymn was written by a woman, about women in the gospels. The author wrote this guitar hymn and composed its tune in 1980. If Heath were here, Lorna would ask him to play the accompaniment on the guitar.

Though it is always thrilling to play Easter Hymn at the close of the service, for Lorna the opening hymn is an emotional high point. No matter how many times she has played this hymn (starting with her first organ position in 1965), she is always moved by Neale’s 1859 translation of this 8th century text by St. John of Damascus: “Come, ye faithful, raise the strain of triumphant gladness!” …"Tis the spring of souls today … all the winter of our sins, long and dark, is flying from his light, to whom we give laud and praise undying.” Amen!

St. Francis Continues the Special Tradition of our Salt Bowl this week.

Everyone is welcome to drop by the church, sit for a bit, and bury our thoughts and concerns in the Salt Bowl. This tradition began with the now-permanent gift of the beautiful copper bowl donated by Carla Rosensweig - an idea prompted by her discussions with The Rev. Claudia Smith. It was at another time when jobs were lost and worries seemed everywhere. People were encouraged to drive by and bury their worries in salt and the new tradition was born.

All of the messages are buried in the deep salt, never read, and burned on the evening of our Easter Vigil service. Please come into the sanctuary on any week-day morning when Barbara is in her office.

All are welcome to a Celebration Coffee Hour following our Easter Service!