Dear People of Church of Our Father, St. Saviour's, and St. Andrew's and St. John's,
Time together deepens relationships and creates community. Since joining you in ministry last February, you have welcomed me into your homes and hearts. I am grateful. I have deeply appreciated the conversations we have shared before and after church services, over tea and lemonade on your porches and in your living rooms, and on walks around this beautiful island that I am now, too, blessed to call my home.
I write you today to share the worship schedule that will begin on November 7.
This schedule allows me to worship with you in a celebration of Holy Eucharist all but one Sunday a month while keeping my Sunday schedule manageable across the three parishes.
Starting in November, worship will be held: 9 am at Church of Our Father, 11 am at St. Saviour, and 4 pm at St. John the Divine (moving to 5 pm for the summer months).
Our shared, island-wide Episcopal worship services with St. Mary's and St. Jude's will be on the 4th Sunday of the month at 10 am during the program year in different churches that can host larger worship services. The first of these services is this Sunday, October 24 at St. Saviour's.
We will continue to have a lay-led prayer services but now only once per month and on a predictable schedule because of the new service times:
1st Sundays of the month will be Morning Prayer at 9 am at Church of Our Father 2nd Sundays will be Morning Prayer at 11 am St. Saviour's 3rd Sundays will be Evening Prayer at 4 pm St. John the Divine
All other Sundays will be services of Holy Eucharist, and I will be the celebrant unless otherwise noted. You can always look to the online calendar to see the service schedule: https://mdi-episcopal.org/calendar/
The midweek service of Holy Eucharist on Wednesdaysat Church of Our Father will continue to be held at 8 am. Starting in November, the first Wednesday of each month, we will use a Rite I liturgy.
One of the strengths of our Partnership is the variety of Episcopal worship we enjoy and offer to our community. Rather than competing for the same time slot on Sunday morning and hoping we would choose to worship at another Partnership church from time to time, the new schedule makes it possible for you to attend church at your usual parish with your priest and to try something new, too. Now, we will be able to share and enjoy the diversity of worship within our wider faith community more easily.
I thank you for taking the time to complete the "input survey" I distributed, which helped to inform our new worship schedule and my discussions with church leaders. For example, more people who regularly attend Church of Our Father preferred the 9 am time rather 11 am. More people who regularly attend St. Saviour's preferred the 11 am service rather than 9 am, and this later service time meets the needs of the choir and music program at St. Saviour's. The input from those who regularly attend St. Andrew's and St. John's indicated a significant openness to an evening service, as did our vestry discussions and the parish meeting on October 10.
The late afternoon service at St. John's will be a Eucharist all but one Sunday a month, include more candlelight, brief times of quiet prayer and musical interludes, some music from Taizé, congregational singing, and the use of prayers from the Enriching Our Worship liturgical resource. The high-quality music program that St. John's has enjoyed for many years will continue as we seek our next Music Director. Discussions of other possibilities related to offering an evening service, such as a Community Supper after worship, have continued since the St. Andrew's and St. John's parish meeting. Perhaps this winter we will be able to offer a monthly supper (take away during the pandemic). Please talk with me or contact the parish office if you would like to assist with this meal in any way.
In all three parishes, we invite you to participate in the leadership of services by becoming a reader/lector, intercessory prayer leader, acolyte, usher, or officiant of Morning or Evening Prayer; joining the altar guild or flower guild; or helping to organize fellowship activities. Assisting in these ways will deepen your connection to your parish and your faith. If any one of these ministries calls to you, please speak with me or contact the parish office, and we will connect you with the leaders of that ministry at your church.
For many reasons, I believe that this shift in service schedule is best for our community and that God is doing "a new thing" with us (Isaiah 43:19); however, even welcomed change can be challenging. Please speak with me and your church leaders about concerns and observations. We may not be able to address everything, but we are committed to supporting the community through this transition and doing what we can to make it a successful change, one that strengthens and grows our community. There is always new learning in such transitions, so please help us by communicating with us.
I am delighted to be able to worship and share the Eucharist with you almost every Sunday rather than every three weeks. I look forward to the frequent and casual conversations we will now be able to have more often before and after church services. I anticipate benefits of being able to develop threads of connection across sermons week-to-week. I look forward to being with you and getting to know you more fully, both as communities and as individuals. With great hope, I look ahead to all that God has in store for us!
Faithfully yours in Christ,
The Rev. Holly Hoffmann Priest-in-Charge
Church of Our Father, Hulls Cove, ME St. Saviour's, Bar Harbor, ME St. Andrew's and St. John's, Southwest Harbor, ME
For a visual representation of the new schedule
The MDI Episcopal Partnership
St. Andrew's and St. John's PO Box 767 Southwest Harbor, ME 04679 GPS Location: 315 Main Street, Southwest Harbor, Maine
Sunday Worship Masks are required for in-door worship
Sunday, October 24 – 10:00 a.m. at St. Saviour's Parish in Bar Harbor
The Rev. Dr. Mark Jefferson, Assistant Professor of Homiletics at Virginia Theological Seminary, is our guest preacher for the island-wide service of Holy Eucharist on Sunday, October 24, at St. Saviour's.
Mother Holly met Fr. Mark in Omaha when he was preaching at Trinity Cathedral and she was out there for her coursework.
Fr. Mark is leading a seminar for lay preachers after the church service. If you would like to attend in person, contact Mother Holly. If you would like to attend on Zoom, please register by clicking here.
There will be no service offered at St. John's this Sunday. We are worshipping as one community.
Keep in your prayers this week:
Elizabeth Ward, Bunny Watts, Anne Wetzel, Paul Haertel, Chuck Bradshaw, Ted Bromage, Jean Storace, Spencer Ervin, Geoff Schuller, Doris McCorison, Gail Leland, Jeremy Harkins, Michael Shook, Joyce and Jim Risser, Loretta Schmidt, Theresa Mitchell, Fred & Dollis Sprague, Sara Winchenbach, Richard Ramsdell, Dorothy & Jim Clunan, Bill and Barbara Loveland.