St. Francis by the Sea Episcopal Church

Blue Hill ~ Maine

February 27, 2024

The Season of Lent

(photo with thanks to Peter Ralston)

 Every moment of light and dark is a miracle.

—Walt Whitman

From The Rev. Douglas Beck

This Saturday, I will meet with our vestry for a workshop. This will be an opportunity to gather around extraneous issues beyond what our usual allotted meeting time allows. We’ll discern what God is calling us to at this time as we review what the greater Church asks of us. Ours is a model of shared collaboration historically. It is rooted in the ancient universal Church.

The vestry is an elected body according to church canons and the by-laws of St. Francis by the Sea. According to our by-laws, two wardens may be nominated from the current pool of vestry members-at-large or from those previously served respecting term limits. The clerk and treasurer are also elected as part of the vestry.

I am grateful to our officers Milissa, Prudy, Kevin, and Chris, and members-at-large Tom, Dennis, Bill, Tyler, Katie, and Kate, as well as those having served during the many years of planned and unplanned transition at St. Francis by the Sea. And I am grateful for all the laity who rallied together for the good health of this church that we enjoy today. Your work is deserving of honor. Your work was hard, and I commend how well you did it. This has brought you and me to this place of respectful collaboration that we are now beginning together.

As far as my personal leadership model is concerned, I want you to know how vital you are to every aspect of ministry as I work with you in collaboration in the ways appropriate for our mutual sharing, life, and work in the name of Christ. 

Pray for our beloved church and its elected leadership, particularly this week, anticipating the coming vestry workshop. We need never underestimate our prayers, as prayer is the first step to every action taken.

Ever living God, whose will it is that all should come to you through your Son Jesus Christ: Inspire our witness to him, that all my know that power of his forgiveness and the hope of his resurrection; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

In Christ,



An added editorial eClare note: As we continue to become acquainted with our wonderful new rector (and terrific preacher!) there are writings in other publications which bring our rector into even more focus and continue to grow our appreciation for his many talents. Here is one of those.....

"Douglas Beck loves his life of service to others. Living in Maine, Douglas exhibits all of the signs of a twenty-first-century renaissance man. Music caught his heart from a young age. He sang his first solo in church when he was four years old with his mother accompanying him on the piano. He went on to play many instruments but concentrated mostly on piano, pipe organ and harpsichord. Pursuing music degrees from the Peabody Conservatory of Music, Douglas is an engaging performer. These days the harp, singing and composing have won over Douglas' musical heart. He loves experimenting with harp sounds and putting them to paper in his arrangements and original compositions. Sharing life with others is his passion, whether it is teaching, writing and performing music, making visual art, or his work as an Episcopal priest, spiritual director, or retreat leader."

A Message from our Senior Warden, Milissa, (who is gallivanting out west with John Paul) and tapping the trees for maple syrup!

Dear Friends,

Well, it looks like we’ve struck gold with Fr. Douglas Beck! I cannot keep up with his enthusiasm and energy. He is so happy to be with us and is busy filling needs and gaps in Pastoral care, Faith Formation, scheduling and community relations. I find him to be accessible, easy to talk to, and quick to laugh. I hope you will find the same as you make time to meet with him one-to-one.

Many positive items to report include: a vibrant and well attended Adult Forum is meeting regularly after the Sunday service, Monday lectionary study is going strong and Wednesday Seekers is growing each week. Fr. Douglas will be holding a monthly service at Parker Ridge and is making connections with area churches and community organizations. Bishop Thomas will be coming to preside at our Celebration of New Ministry on April 14 at 4:00 and all are invited! and plans are underway to expand and improve Pastoral Care ministries.

I must share with you one frustration I am experiencing with our Rector. He asked me to replace the wheat Altar bread with gluten-free and, if you were to see and taste my first attempt, I’m afraid you would kick me out of the church! My future efforts will come after some expert advice from Suzanne Decrow, who makes the small gf wafers we currently use. Please pray!!!

Please consider contributing to coffee hour; bake a favorite or simply grab an item at the grocery store; folks are easy to please! The sign-up sheet is outside the kitchen and has a few empty slots. Many thanks.

Have a peaceful, prayer-filled Lent, and I’ll see you in a few weeks. John Paul and I are off on our annual maple syrup-making adventure in Northern Michigan. 

Blessings always,


Thank you


St. Francis' fabulous

Librarian and Archivist,

Colleen Spangler

Did you know?


"Did you know that our St. Francis Church was once a Methodist church?

Yes, the very same church sanctuary that we worship in today was once the North Penobscot Methodist Church located in Penobscot. In 1978, a small group of Episcopalians in Blue Hill had been gathering to worship on Sunday mornings without a church building, sometimes meeting in the Blue Hill library or the Bar Harbor Bank and for seven years in the American Legion Hall. When the opportunity to buy a neighboring house of worship, they bought it! After removing the steeple, the entire structure was moved to its present location on Hinckley Ridge Road. Quite an undertaking!


This bit of information is gleaned from a document written by former member, Emily Chaney, who wrote an Informal History of St. Francis by the Sea. The original document is housed permanently in the St. Francis archives which contains a remarkable collection of important records and memorabilia of the life and work of the church.

Maintaining church archives is mandatory for a church to be recognized in good standing within an Episcopal Diocese."

As archivist and librarian, Colleen Spangler is responsible for maintaining these records and our church library located in the lower level of the building. She encourages you to browse through our updated book collection and check out any titles that appeal to you.

"And remember our church is more than the building. It includes every one of you! So let’s make some more history. Attend our Sunday morning worship service, several of our Holy Week services, and any of the midweek programs by Zoom or in person in our beautiful church."

The original 1837 structure restored and renovated with a large addition and basement as today’s St. Francis by the Sea

The Schedule of Current Events

Wednesday Seekers


(Wonderful is not too late to join this lively group)

Please join us (in person) as we continue to read and discuss John Philip Newell’s The Rebirthing of GodWe will have a closing Eucharist at the end of each session. The book is available at Blue Hill Books with a 20% discount! It is never too late to join in the conversation. The book is also available on Amazon to download.

Adult Forum is active again

(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.”


Holy Week Services

Holy Week Services -- Save the Dates

Palm Sunday, March 24 at 10:00 am

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


Future Events

Bach's Birthday Bash Concert presented by Blue Hill Bach featuring Dr. Kevin Birch. Friday, March 22 at 5:00 PM. Tickets are available at

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.

We Pray for our loved ones:

Mary Boyd, Cynthia, Bill Casale, Kathy Caudill, Cynthia, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry+, Allison Eaton, Mark Ford, The Fowler Family, Giffy Full, Julia, Chris Koch, David McBeth, Lorelei McKinnon, Ronan, Dinny Robson, Donny Smith, Peggy Smith, Carolyn Taylor, Robert Tobin, Tracey, and Persis Williams 

We pray for the repose of the soul of Rick Cross+

For those with February Birthdays: Pam Berry, Diana Brown, Cheryl Coffin, Mary Crawford, Joan D'Agastino, Mary Catherine Dunn, Giffy Full, Mary Alice Horrigan, and Joe Thompson

Congratulations, Marge Wilson and Richard Butts on the arrival of their beautiful grandson,Theo Devoe Wilson born Feburary 1, 2024 in Kensington. Maryland!

Many St. Francis parishioners know and treasure "Beloved". It was designed and created by Marge many years ago. It hangs permanently where all can appreciate it in every gathering in the Vesting/Meeting Room in our undercroft.


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

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.