May 26 Blessing of the Fleet/Memorial Day

DSCF0325 vicky and armenBlessing of the Fleet

May 26,2019

Memorial Day Weekend

Menemsha Harbor

Chilmark Community Church

Rev. Vicky Hanjian

This is perhaps the 3rd time I have been involved with a service of Blessing The Fleet. Each time I prepare for this ritual, I become aware of the gift of grace of living in an environment where we are surrounded and embraced and occasionally battered by the sea. And I am quite mindful that a service like this could not happen in Montana or Nebraska or Arizona with quite the same meaning or sense of immediacy.

Being a landlubber at heart, I am quite content to just stand in the sand or on the jetty – maybe get my feet wet – – and marvel at the ever changing and beautiful and sometimes challenging and frightening mystery of the ocean. But I am also blessed to live surrounded by so many people who love to be in and on the water – – who may even have a bit of the briny deep running in their veins. And it is for these human beings and their various vessels that we offer our prayers and blessings this morning. The love of the oceans, the need to never be far from the water, the joy and adventure of being out of sight of the land are all so old in us. Whether we draw on the ancient witness of the early chapters of the book of Genesis or we defer to the science of evolution – -or whether we harmonize them in our understanding – -the ocean seems to be where it all began.

So – we gather to bless the fleet. It might be well to pause for a moment and ask ourselves why we do this? What good does it do to leave our comfort zones early on a Sunday morning to come to the water’s edge – to spend some time together in the wind and fog and the dampness and go through this ritual that happens on the sea coast and at river edge harbors at different times of the year all around the world?

Do we bless the fleet because that’s something we’re supposed to do? Because it has become something habitual we do every year? Or does it have meaning beyond tradition? What does it mean when we bless something anyway? What are we doing when we invoke God’s blessing on someone or something?

Hear these words from the Book of Genesis: Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and the one who curses I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.

These verses tell us what blessing is about. Most obviously, blessing is the opposite of cursing. While cursing someone or something invokes energies and emotions that separate people from one another, blessing sets in motion the energy of relationship. Blessing puts in place the foundation upon which love and concern, friendship and compassion can be built.

Abraham and his clan traveled on land. The tempests and storms they faced had more to do with encountering other people, other clans, strangers, and potential enemies, than they did with encountering storms or enemies on the seas. Still – -the challenge of blessing fell upon him and his family. Essentially, God said “ I will bless you….so that you will be a blessing.

So the act of blessing is a divine and human thing. We receive the blessing of God so that we might become a source of blessing for others – – a force for good, a force for healing, a force for reconciliation and well being.

On this Memorial Day weekend, we honor and remember lives spent and lost in the service of protecting all that we are privileged to enjoy in this country. We also take time to remember all the ways we are served and blessed by the women and men who spend much of their lives on the water. On this occasion of blessing the myriad vessels that sail in our waters, it is well for us to remember the power that we have to unleash goodness – to affect relationships in a positive way – to create a more harmonious and loving world.

To invoke a blessing is essentially an act of gratitude. When we bless it is hard to carry forward grudging or negative feelings toward the object of our blessing. To bless opens the way for the flow of lovingkindness, compassion, hospitality and grace. In the ancient story, our ancestors are called not only to bless – – but to BE a blessing. The very way they carry themselves in the world is to BE a blessing.

So why do we bless the fleet? Surely to invite the safety and well being of all who make their living on the water; definitely to honor all who serve to protect our shores and our air space; and certainly to care for all who find rest and relaxation and re-creation on the water.

But invoking blessing does more than that. When we bless, we open channels of grace – – we become channels of grace – -and our own lives become larger and more generous. We actually are on the way to becoming the blessing we are called to be in our own persons.

So may we offer our prayers and our songs together this morning in the service of the ancient affirmation that we are indeed blessed in order to be a blessing to others and may grace flow in abundance toward all whom we bless this day.

DSCF0333coast guard and piperJamie Douglas, bag pipe with Coast Guard .

May 19, 2019 Farewell

This was Rev. Dr. Charlotte Wright’s last Sunday in our pulpit.May 19 sanctuary57996546536__37BC1CEC-9886-40A1-BB43-86B0ABCF2245After our formal farewell in the sanctuary, there was a bountiful reception in the Hall with every great cook in the church contributing fabulous food. DSCF0286Charlotte got somethings to remember us by:  a tree planted in a national forest,  a doggy Thank You card and, she guessed it,  a ukulele. DSCF0287She looked at Emily in the kitchen as she told her story of borrowing the ukulele from the W.Tisbury library to play with Thursday Strings at the church.  DSCF0289Everyone had a chance to say goodbye and wish her well. She did so much for Chilmark Community Church.  We’ll be forever grateful.

Confirmation

Gabriella Faith Carr was confirmed this morning, May 12, 2019.  20190512_091923Gabby confirmationAsking and answering The Questions…Congregation responded too..WE love her and appreciate her joining the church as an adult.20190512_092431 (1)Rev. Charlotte Wright blessing her.confirmationEmily Broderick, lay leader gives gifts from the church.20190512_092809confimationWe’re so lucky to have this young woman as part of the church family!

Easter 2019

6:30 a.m. sunrise service at Menemsha. (photo by Kim Tharp)
0421190657c-1-1_2Sanctuary ready for 9 o’clock.0421190755a-1IMG_5359IMG_5360Easter message ” In the Garden”..

Special music by Thursday Stings and Jeff Nelson.

“Ave Maria” by Bella.DSCF0266Rain letting up..eggs ready to be found..DSCF0267The hunt begins.0421191014-20421191014e-1Coffee hour.DSCF0273
DSCF0278Bella and Carol (musicians)Organist Carol Loud and soloist Bella.
DSCF0275
DSCF0277Sorting eggs..

Thanks to all who made the morning a success!

Prodigal Parent

synonyms for “Prodigal”..generous, lavish, liberal, unstinting,unsparing , bountiful… Also , as with the ” prodigal son”  ..wastefully extravagant.

Rev. Charlotte shared this poem written by her friend,..Maren Tirabassi

Prayer for a parent when a prodigal departs
(Somehow, I thought I knew all the turns and twists of this parable, but God always has one more perspective to teach me Luke 15)

God, help me love
this one who is walking away —
without imagining the worse,
anticipating a sweet, “I told you so,”
or curling up tight
around my own hurt feelings.

Let me to paint encouragement
across my worried face,
wave even when no one looks back,
send letters and emails
that don’t ask pointed questions,
keep tears out of my texts,
and whine out of my heart.

Let me set aside the robe, ring, shoes
and celebration dinner menu
to be prepared
whether the return is in triumph,
or disillusion and shame.

Welcoming is not something
that happens at the last moment.
Getting my love ready
for that road dust kicked up in the distance
may be the most important
work in my life.

I may never know what is going on
between here and a pig farm.

It’s not really my business,
and if it helps for the story to be told,
it will help more
if I never repeat it.

God, help me love these children
out the door,
love them while they are missing,
love them maybe home again,

because I know what it is
to be loved.

Introducing Rev. Ernest Belisle

Dear Members and Friends of Chilmark Community United Methodist Church, Grace and peace to you and yours, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ whom we worship and serve as members of his Body, the Church! My name is Ernest Belisle. I was appointed to be your new pastor as of July 1, 2019, by the Rev’d. Sudarahana Devadhar, our presiding Bishop. Last Tuesday, March 19, I was taken to meet your Pastor Parish Relationship Committee by our District Superintendent, the Rev’d. Dr. Andrew Foster III. We had a very good meeting! I am a native of the country of Belize (in Central America). Before I entered full time ministry I served as a grade school teacher. I am a graduate of Drew School of Theology in Madison, New Jersey, United Theological Seminary of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica, Belize Teachers, Belize City, Belize. I specialized in Christian Education and Church History. My wife Michelle is a preschool teacher. There are seven children and three grandchildren in our family. Our youngest child, Ezra (6 years old), is the only one still at home with us. We enjoy visiting and vacationing with the children, which includes walking on the beaches of Cape Cod and exploring the mountains and valleys of Vermont and New Hampshire. I enjoy music from different ages, places and varieties. I love lively singing and interactive worship and preaching. I am a soccer fan and follow European and North and South American leagues. Michelle loves walking on the beach and Ezra loves model trains and John Deere tractors and farm equipment. I am a people person and enjoy friendships. I have a passion for Evangelism and Outreach Ministries. I have worked in both suburban and inner city ministries. I began full time ministry serving two island and three mainland congregations in a circuit of churches in Bocas del Tore, Panama. I enjoy fellowship with other churches and denominations. From 1995 to 1997, I served and chaired the National Council of Churches in Guyana (South America) that included both Roman Catholics and Pentecostals. While a student at Drew, I served United Methodist churches in East Orange, New Jersey and Brooklyn, New York. I have served Methodist churches in the Republic of Panama (1976-1981), Jamaica (1981-1990), Belize (1990-1993, teacher at Wesley College), and Guyana, in South America (1993-2000, District Superintendent). Here in New England, I have served churches in Oxford (2000-2005) and Framingham (2005-2011), Massachusetts and St. Paul’s in Manchester, New Hampshire 2011-2015). I am presently serving our church in South Yarmouth, Massachusetts. At the District and Conference levels I served on the Central Massachusetts District Committee on Superintendency (2005 to 2011), co-chaired the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry (2004 to 2012), and was a member of the New Hampshire District Building and Locations Committee (2012- 2015). Presently I am one of the co-chairs of the Rhode Island Southern Massachusetts District Committee on Ministry. Michelle, Ezra and I look forward to meeting and working with you. Grace and peace to you and yours, Very sincerely, Ernest Belisle

April Devotional

May 2019 – The Price of Pride

Read Together:  He who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding.  The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor.  Proverbs 15:32-33

The story is told of a frog who wanted to travel over the top of a tall mountain from a pond he’d grown up in and learned to hate to be a beautiful lake on the other side of the peak.  One day as the frog watched an eagle soar high above the clouds; the frog had a brilliant idea.  “If I could just get that eagle to hold a piece of string in his talons, I can hold the other end of the string in my mouth.  He could fly me to the other side.”  The eagle agreed to the frog’s plan.  Away they went, hundreds of feet above the Rocky Mountain slopes, soaring to the other side where the big, sparkling lake lay just a few hundred yards away.  As the frog hung on to the string by his teeth for the last minute of his ride, he heard someone below exclaim, “Wow, look at that.  What a great idea!  I wonder who thought of that.” 

The prideful frog couldn’t resist the opportunity to brag and opened his mouth to boast, “I diiiiiiid.  Splat!

Poor frog.  He just couldn’t resist telling people how smart he was.  Reminds me of myself sometimes and I want to kick myself for it.  How about you?  Is pride ever a problem?  If so, today’s devotion study may be just what the doctor ordered.

Discussion Starters:  When you’re complimented or commended for something you did well, how does it make you feel?  Who really deserves the credit for any good we do here on earth.

Lifeline:  Next time someone tells you what a great job you did, give the glory to God.  You’ll feel wonderful!

Reflections

Blessings Always, (Numbers 6:24-26)

Rev. Dr. Andrew L. Foster, III.