Blessing of the Animals: The Degu Sisters

The Episcopal church commemorates St. Francis of Assisi, Patron Saint of Animals, by offering a blessing to all creatures brought to a service by their caretakers, usually in October. Our summer church, St. Ann’s in Kennebunkport, offers the blessing in July. Luckily for us, the wife of the Rector of our “winter” church, Rev. Sara D’Angio White, is a visiting pastor at an Episcopal church just a mile away from our home.  I asked her if she would like to come to our house and bless our new family members from the Kennebunk shelter after a Sunday service, and she readily agreed! For the week leading up to this morning I let the Degu Sisters know that the “Holy Lady” would soon be coming to honor and bless them. (Someone suggested that we have the Rev. bless only one of the sisters to see if there is a difference in behavior afterward, ha!)

Continue reading “Blessing of the Animals: The Degu Sisters”

Our Christmas 2018

This was the first Christmas for Wayne and I as a married couple, so for the weeks leading up to it we talked about what we will do to create lasting traditions. Tradition is such a comforting word in an uncertain world, isn’t it? Yet things didn’t happen as we had hoped. The cold I had from last week continues to steal my voice and morphed into a nasty cough, the kind that leaves my ribs aching, so I’ve been consuming lots of cough syrup, lozenges and medicinal teas. Because of that we obviously needed to forgo a Christmas Eve service, something we really had been looking forward to doing, especially after missing church on Sunday. Yet things turned out in ways we couldn’t have anticipated.

Continue reading “Our Christmas 2018”

St. David’s Episcopal Church in Kennebunk

Wayne and I are now members of St. David’s in Kennebunk during the off-season of St. Ann’s. We have some dear friends from St. Ann’s who are members and it’s a really good fit for us. Despite the half hour ride early in the very cold morning we enjoy it! I’ve come to realize that when the fit is right, it doesn’t feel like a hassle. Life is too precious, whether it be short or long, to not go someplace every week where we feel uplifted and what we can bring is appreciated.

Today after the early service there was an “alternative gift market” offering handmade treasures from Bethlehem and Haiti!

Continue reading “St. David’s Episcopal Church in Kennebunk”

Reflections: Why I Love Going to Church

Wayne and I are missing church this morning due to a “winter weather advisory” which includes icy rain and slick roads. Then we’re getting some snow! I’ll miss going this morning because weather and wellness permitting, during the fall, winter and spring, Wayne and I go to our Episcopal church in Cape Elizabeth* every Sunday. We prefer the early morning quiet and “contemplative” service which means there are no hymns, choir nor an organ being played. Unlike the later service there is a relatively small attendance of regulars. Here are some things I really love about our ritual:

Continue reading “Reflections: Why I Love Going to Church”

Spiritual Guideposts: Advice from Maine Football Coach John Wolfgram

“It’s not whether we win or lose; it’s who we help along the way.”

Retired Maine football coach John Wolfgram has won ten state championships and more than 300 games during four decades as a head coach at four schools. John is also a champion at ushering at the 8:00 a.m. service at our church, St. Albans in Cape Elizabeth. When he asked if Wayne and I could fill in for one of his slots, I told him we’d trade in exchange for a blog interview! He cheerfully and graciously agreed. I’m so happy and honored that he volunteered to share his inspiring approach to “winning” with you here on Serene New England.

Continue reading “Spiritual Guideposts: Advice from Maine Football Coach John Wolfgram”

Maine Episcopal Summer Chapel Tour: My Reflections and Conversation with Rt. Rev. Stephen T. Lane, Bishop of Maine

I’m often asked what gave me the idea to do a tour of Maine’s summer Episcopal chapels. The truth is that it just came to me, the same way the idea for my blog Serene New England did during Easter Sunday while sitting in church at St. Mary’s. I love to explore new-to-me places and meet new people. The theme of renewal and strengthening my relationship with God while appreciating unique places of worship in beautiful coastal Maine settings felt like it would be Episcopal Summer Camp. And in many ways, I was right!

Continue reading “Maine Episcopal Summer Chapel Tour: My Reflections and Conversation with Rt. Rev. Stephen T. Lane, Bishop of Maine”

Maine Episcopal Summer Chapel Tour: Trinity Chapel, Kennebunk Beach

Wayne and I took a scenic drive to Trinity Chapel in Kennebunk Beach which is a seaside community filled with gorgeous Victorians and wood shingled cottages. From the church website: “We have a ten week summer season, starting the last Sunday of June and saying Goodbye on the first Sunday of September. The chapel is open every day from morning to dusk, for quiet contemplation, or a noisier visit by KBIA campers. Dogs and sand are ok too. All are welcome, all of the time. The chapel is always tucked in for the winter, to open again in the spring, and by special arrangement at other times.”
Continue reading “Maine Episcopal Summer Chapel Tour: Trinity Chapel, Kennebunk Beach”

Maine Episcopal Summer Chapel Tour: St. Peter’s By The Sea, Cape Neddick

We got an early start this morning so that we could double dip by attending two services, one at St. Ann’s and the other at St. Peter’s By The Sea. Today is also my twenty-third sobriety anniversary! Our original plan was to attend services at a local-to-us summer chapel after a celebratory breakfast at the Black Point Inn. We had to change our plans but today turned out to be another magical Sunday summer morning in Maine thanks to the welcoming Episcopalian spirit! Continue reading “Maine Episcopal Summer Chapel Tour: St. Peter’s By The Sea, Cape Neddick”

Maine Episcopal Summer Chapel Tour: We Didn’t See This Coming

Up until now, Wayne and I have been loving our Episcopal Summer Chapel Tour, and that includes everything from researching the different churches to anticipating our next visit. Something Wayne and I mistakenly believed as Christians and Episcopalians is that we would be welcome to attend services in any Episcopalian church or chapel. Continue reading “Maine Episcopal Summer Chapel Tour: We Didn’t See This Coming”