Maine Episcopal Summer Chapel Tour: St. Philips by the Sea, Fortunes Rocks, Biddeford

St. Philips by the Sea was on our original itinerary for a visit today, but I had crossed it off a few weeks ago after our unexpected experience.  St. Philips doesn’t have a website nor a contact phone number, and its location, Fortunes Rocks, is on a public road but much of the rest of it is private and a part of an exclusive association. I was apprehensive thinking we shouldn’t go without being able to ensure we wouldn’t be intruding somehow. All we knew from the Diocese website was that services are at 9:30. At the last minute, as in this morning, instead of taking a week off from the tour, I decided I wanted to give St. Philips a chance.

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No one was yet there when we arrived at 9:00 a.m…

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or so it seemed, however the back door was open so someone was inside. We quietly stood outside wondering if we would be asked to leave.

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It sure is a pretty chapel nestled in flowers and greenery.

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We waited by the front doors. They opened! And a lady began to yell! But not at us. “Oh look! The fox!” she exclaimed. I turned in time to see it run away on the other side of the church.

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Meet Judy and Charlie, local neighbors who, for many summers, have been opening the chapel and getting it set up every Sunday. They are also a fine welcoming committee/couple! Yay! They were happy to see new visitors!

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One of the stained glass panels on the front doors.

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Charlie pointed out that the bell got stuck a few weeks ago.

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He decided to give it another try but it’s staying put for now. They also recently got a brand new roof after problems with leaks. I’m sharing these details with you because a lot of time, care and expense goes into the upkeep of these seasonal gems.

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The organ on the far left still uses tubes. It was originally in a Methodist’s home, then a Jewish home before coming to the Episcopalian chapel.

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And more stained glass to appreciate.

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Fresh flowers on the altar.

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Facing the entrance.

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The original chapel was built in the early 1900s but burned down in the forest fires of October, 1947.

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So much to see! Click each to enlarge the stained glass.

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I could really relate to today’s sermon given by the visiting Rev. Whitney Z. Edwards. We have inherited a legacy of religious practices and beliefs about prayer, some of which aren’t conducive to our spiritual enrichment and connection to God. The specific example she gave us is the idea that God is up in the sky far away from us vs being here with us right now every day. The Reverend likened it to inheriting a house full of antiquated goodies that besides the diamonds and first edition rare books also contains boxes of chipped china and wool coats with sleeves that are  too short. 

Hold up right here!

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It was just a couple of days ago that I finally accepted that the vintage never worn Pendleton wool coat that still has the original tags that I purchased at an estate sale many years ago will never fit me. The sleeves are too short! Every year I tried it on again because I otherwise loved it, and wondered maybe the sleeves really aren’t too short. But my arms haven’t shrunk so the “fit” is the same: it doesn’t! I realized it was pointless to hold onto it and keep trying to fit myself into something not suited for me. So I completely was nodding my head as she spoke and thought the example was uncanny.

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Afterward was a lemonade on the lawn with homemade blueberry cake. I chatted with a lady named BJ who lives right across the street from the church and has for decades. I asked her how she felt about people visiting the chapel since it’s almost literally in her backyard. She said she loves it and wishes more people would come for the services! 

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As you can see, St. Peter’s by the Sea welcomes you!

(P.S. If you are in the market for a vintage Pendleton wool coat with shorter than usual sleeves, let me know!)

About our 2017 Maine Episcopal Summer Chapel Tour: Wayne and I plan to visit numerous seasonal chapels in Maine over the next few months. I will be sharing our experiences here on Serene New England. You can see all posts related to the tour here. I hope you will enjoy them and would love to have you share your thoughts in the comments!

7 thoughts on “Maine Episcopal Summer Chapel Tour: St. Philips by the Sea, Fortunes Rocks, Biddeford

  1. Beautiful photographs & lovely descriptions of our wonderful summer chapel . So glad you felt welcomed to join in our service. Hope you both come back again. Congratulations on your engagement. BJ

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another exquisite jewelbox of an Episcopalian chapel! These chapels demonstrate a common denominator which helps makes them so lovely. The proportions are just right. My eye and brain are very conscious of proportions in buildings of any kind. The golden mean at work? Another feature: no matter how tiny, or rustic, they all have stained glass which adds immeasurably to their charm. Services in these chapels must be so lovely and spiritual!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Thatcher! Wayne enjoyed chatting about sports with Watson, too and it was a pleasure to meet you. Thank you for visiting my blog to let us know. 🙂

      Like

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