Sunday I visited the “Somesville Union Meeting House United Church of Christ” Now there’s a Name!! J The pastor chuckled when he mentioned introducing himself at gatherings and using the full name of the church.
I drove into the parking lot unsure of what time the service started and saw a woman all bundled up walking up the sidewalk. I opened my window and inquired as to the time of meeting. She (Lynn) said it was 10:30 (I was there at 10:00) but assured me it was fine to come in early and that I should definitely plan on staying for lunch afterwards. (I guess they drink the same hospitality water in Somesville that the folks in SW Harbor drink.) They were having leftovers from their Philippine relief fund raising supper. “ Sounds wonderful” I said. Parked the car and was treated to listening to the (ten person )choir practice before the service started. It was like being gifted with my own personal concert. What wonderful voices. (I have come to learn that music is very important to people here on the Island.)
It wasn’t long before a gentleman in a camel wool suit with tie sat in the row behind me. His name was Clayton Reid. What a splendid splendid person he was. He had lived in Somesville all his life in the same house he was born in (just as my mother has done back in Kansas). His wife is in the early stages of Alzheimers however and at his daughter’s request he and his wife will be moving to the Bath area in mid December.” My daughter has a small living space unattached from her house” he said. “It is near Bowdoin College where I went to school.” Clayton told me that a couple from the church had brought over a nice dinner the day before and he and his wife had a lovely time sharing the meal and visiting with the couple.
(He shared that story during the time for “sharing celebrations” later in the service.) Another example of how much a simple act of kindness can mean in a person’s life. I can’t tell you how glad I am that I met Clayton. He is a charming man and devoted husband.
When the service started there were probably around thirty people in the congregation. I sensed a strong sense of family and community during their time of worship and sharing. Celebrations were shared and later prayer requests. The pastor asked for prayer for his friends in Bangor whose daughter had been murdered the week before; a lady named Inge (originally from South Africa) asked for prayer for her 2 year old nephew who would be undergoing a seven hour brain surgery on Tuesday. Other names were mentioned. A time of short prayer was given by the pastor thanking God for his gifts of comfort, mecry and grace and thanking Him for the the glory we see all around us. This was followed by a was a five minute time of silent prayer.
“Everything true and great grows in silence. Without silence we fall short of reality and cannot plumb the depths of being.” ~Ladislaus Boros
I appreciated the pastor’s message that encouraged us to “move forward” in our lives of faith. Too much looking back isn’t good and spinning in one place isn’t good. He said we would know we were moving forward if our lives were reflecting Christ’s example of “loving, restoring, healing, forgiving” etc. I was challenged anew to keep moving forward In my own journey.
The lunch was delicious. I was warmly greeted in the parish hall by Susan Anghinetti (what a beautiful name!) We sat and shared a warm friendly conversation through the meal. We discovered we had a lot in common….in particular our love of hiking and the woods. “Oh, sometime you must go to Moose Lake” she told me. “The sound of the loons is amazing there. You hear them calling when you fall asleep at night.” (Note to self…..Moose Lake must be added to my list of future destinations.)Thank you God for Susan Anghinetti. (Oh and Lynn and a friend approached me to be sure I had a place to go for Thanksgiving. I am humbled by the outreach of people here.)
Later in the day I hiked Flying Mountain which is just down the street from where I’m staying. One interesting view from the top:
In the evening my good friend Susan B. (yes, good friend, after a week of being here) came over and joined me for a hot bowl of vegetable stew. She brought apple crisp and we enjoyed learning more about each other’s lives, passions, and families. Thank you God for this Susan whom I’ve come to see as my guardian angel here on MDI. Will close with a few other Maine scenes. Best to you all. I hope you are finding a way “forward” in your life.