What a beautiful morning!
At our summer church in Kennebunkport a small group meets once a week in the rectory for Centering Prayer, a meditative practice founded in Massachusetts by three Trappist monks in the 1970s. We meditate for twenty minutes by focusing on a sacred word of our own choosing, then watch a short teaching by Thomas Keating on DVD.
The first time I went last summer I was very intimidated by the prospect of a twenty minute meditation! Sitting in a quiet room alone listening to the “noise” in my head is old hat to me and I often mistake it for being productive. Making mental to-do lists, planning, lamenting the past, worrying about the future can happen in the most bucolic of settings. Sitting with a quiet mind? It’s a challenge, but meditation gives me moments of inner silence, the benefits of which are deep and lasting.
Yesterday Wayne and I took a drive to visit the Monastery in Kennebunk, St. Ann’s (summer) Episcopal church and made a brief stop at Antiques USA in Arundel on the way home. It felt like the official marker of “We made it through winter!” THIS is why we live in Maine:
I am so saddened to learn about the passing of Barbara Bush. She has been a personal inspiration to me for two very specific reasons that I’d like to share here that were encapsulated in this one excerpt:
In 1980, George ran for president. There were endless receptions, luncheons, dinners and fundraisers. For the campaign, Barbara had to choose an official cause. She picked literacy, which became a lifelong passion. “I realized everything I worried about” – teen pregnancy, hunger, homelessness, drug use, crime – “would be better if more people could read, write and comprehend,” she later recalled. She was also pressured to change her image, with some family members urging her to “color my hair, change my style of dressing and, I suspect, get me to lose some weight,” she later recalled, driving her to tears. Jane Pauley of NBC opened a television interview by asking her: “People say your husband is a man of the ’80s and you are a woman of the ’40s. What do you say to that?” Barbara, though stung, declined to alter her matronly image, which instead helped her become one of her husband’s most powerful political assets. A critic, Andrew Sullivan of The New Republic magazine, called her “America’s queen mother” whose “mastery of frumpy do-goodery is, of course, modeled on the Windsors.”
Yesterday afternoon on his day off Wayne and I decided to drive to Kennebunkport to see our beloved St. Ann’s Episcopal Church before stopping at the antique shops in Arundel on the way back. I wasn’t prepared for the heartbreaking news that was to follow.
As I reflect on the beginning of this summer, I couldn’t have guessed what was ahead: Wayne proposing to me on the beach as piping plovers sang, a beautiful tomato bounty in our garden despite a cold rainy spring that nearly killed them, making lasting connections with new friends, and my personal breakthrough during my summer Episcopal chapel tour. It’s hard to let go of summer but I’m open to what’s ahead: the mysterious and unknown with the promise of brilliant foliage followed by a deep blanket of snow. (Can you see the boat in the foggy distance?)
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!
Yesterday evening Wayne and I enjoyed a beautiful dinner at The Colony Hotel in Kennebunkport to enjoy fellowship with members of St. Ann’s Episcopal church. All proceeds benefit St. Ann’s community outreach. The time flew by and almost three hours had passed when they began to close our room down!
Last week Wayne and I attended St. Ann’s in Kennebunkport for the first time. It truly was going to be a one stop visit in our summer tour, but we fell in love! Services were outside on that cool and very foggy morning. While the fog gave the stone church an ethereal quality, it obscured the view of the sea. When we heard that there was to be a Lemonade on the Lawn this week we decided to return for it, possible sunshine and another healing dose of services overlooking the sea. Continue reading “Lemonade and Sunshine at St. Ann’s Episcopal Church”
Wayne and I have commenced our “summer tour” of seasonal Maine Episcopalian churches with St. Ann’s in Kennebunkport being our first. St. Ann’s is “an historic seaside Chapel that offers the opportunity for summer worship, fellowship, and outreach on the coast of southern Maine. Located in Kennebunkport, the picturesque chapel was built in 1887 to serve the communities of Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, and Cape Porpoise. People of all faiths join residents and visitors to the region for Sunday worship, special services and quiet meditation in the park setting overlooking the Kennebunk River and the Atlantic Ocean.” We decided to go to the 8:00 a.m. Eucharist which was held in the outside chapel overlooking the sea! Continue reading “Episcopal Summer Chapel: St. Ann’s By the Sea, Kennebunkport”