Going Westward: Celebrating ministry in Rumford and Norway

One of the disciplines of blogging is keeping at it. Each week I try to write my blog entry as soon as I get home. But often something gets in the way and the days slip by. So this entry, as the last few, is a catch up entry. My apologies in advance to the congregations I’ve visited. The late blog is not a reflection of the importance of the visit.

On Sunday, October 4, I visited the good people of St. Barnabas’, Rumford. Gretchen and I were out the door very early on a chilly, overcast, fall morning. As we headed north, the sky constantly brightened, and the last few miles were in sunshine. The mountains were covered in glorious color as the foliage reached its peak. Since traffic was very light we arrived early and had time to tour the church. St. Barnabas’ is a jewel of a church, the exterior built of large river rocks and the inside smooth and white. The acoustics are excellent, and the windows are unique and unusual. There is one of Nicodemus up in his tree and another of the call of Isaiah. A simply lovely church.

The congregation was small but we sang with gusto. Fr. Tim Parsons, an accomplished guitarist, accompanied a couple of numbers. There was a confirmation and a reception. Following the service we joined for a lovely lunch and then I met with the vestry. St. Barnabas’ is concerned about the size and age of its congregation and about maintaining its ministries in the community. In those concerns, it joins many congregations of our diocese.

It would have been lovely to linger by the river, but Sunday was a very full day. Leaving Rumford, Gretchen and I dashed to Norway and Christ Church. There I joined with Bishop Richard Malone, of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, in celebrating 30 years of a covenant relationship between Christ Church and St. Catharine of Sienna. These two churches have been colleagues in ministry for a generation and continue to share in all sorts of ministries together. The clergy, including our Anne Stanley, are colleagues and friends and provide continuing support for one another. Bishop Malone and I prayed for the continuing vitality of the covenant and that our relationship would endure despite the stresses between our denominations.

And then we went across the street to Catharine of Sienna to bless the animals! Dogs, cats, birds, ferrets… St. Francis’ Day. A lovely ending to the day leaving both bishops in their finery, covered with hair.

+Steve