Growing a church ... Changing of the guard ... Celebrating the Solstice

This Week in Lincolnville: A Pastor Retires

Saying good-bye
Posted:  Monday, June 19, 2017 - 12:30pm
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Pastor Susan Stonestreet has a helper lighting the candles at United Christian Church. Photo by Robin Guist

 Susan Stonestreet, pastor of the United Christian Church for the past 18 years, the driving force behind the church and such a positive presence in the community, is retiring as of this coming Sunday, June 25. She started as a student in 1999, a pastor-in-training, under the Rev. Tacy French, who served the UCC in a part-time capacity for many years. Her ordination took place here, with a cohort of UCC ministers from around the state participating. This church, her first church, was a challenge in so many ways.

For one thing, it was part-time, closing for the winter and re-opening on Palm Sunday. Under Pastor Susan’s (officially to become the Rev. Dr. Stonestreet as she continued her studies at Bangor Theological Seminary) leadership the congregation took the brave step of voting to stay open year-round. Brave because the 1821 meetinghouse was notoriously drafty. The old furnace, one Swiss Hardy had spotted on the side of the road and installed at the back of the building, was on its last legs.  And there was no bathroom, as stalwart church member Margaretta Thurlow pointed out, a definite drawback if the church was to grow.

CALENDAR 

TUESDAY, June 20

LBG’s Scholarship Fund-raiser, 5 p.m., Whale’s Tooth

Book Group, 6 p.m., Lincolnville Library

Lincolnville Sewer District meets, 6 p.m., LIA, 33 Beach Road


WEDNESDAY, June 21

Solar Celebration, 5 p.m., Lincolnville Fire Department

Yoga, 6:30 p.m., Parish Hall at UCC


THURSDAY, June 22

Soup Café, noon-1p.m., Community Building, 18 Searsmont Roa


SATURDAY, June 24

Women’s Club Yard sale/Bake sale, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. ,LIA building, 33 Beach Road


SUNDAY, June 25

Pastor Stonestreet retires, 9:30 a.m., United Christian Church, 18 Searsmont Road


EVERY WEEK

AA meetings, Tuesdays & Fridays at 12:15 p.m., Wednesdays & Sundays at 6 p.m., United Christian Church

Lincolnville Community Library, open Tuesdays, 4-7, Wednesdays, 2-7, Fridays and Saturdays, 9 a.m.-noon. For information call 763-4343.

Soup Café, every Thursday, noon—1p.m., Community Building, Sponsored by United Christian Church. Free, though donations to the Community Building are appreciated

Schoolhouse Museum is closed for the season; call Connie Parker for a special appointment, 789-5984.

Bayshore Baptist Church, Sunday School for all ages, 9:30 a.m., Worship Service at 11 a.m., Atlantic Highway

Crossroads Community Church, 10 a.m. Sunday School, 11 a.m. Worship, meets at Lincolnville Central School

United Christian Church, Worship Service 9:30 a.m., Children’s Church during service, 18 Searsmont Road


COMING UP

June 26: Schoolhouse Museum Opens

July 8: Strawberry Festival

Aug. 12: New England Needle Festival

And the congregation was small and aging. Many Sundays during those part-time years only 12 to 15 people would be in attendance. But those few were steadfast; they loved their little church: I remember Bessie Dean, Charlotte Frost, Freddie Gray, Swiss, Bernice Calderwood, Marian Millikin, Ruth Thurlow, Cyrene Slegona, Bernice Scruton, and of course, Margaretta. Mary Schulein, “from over the mountain in Appleton,” was, and still is, music director.

Margaretta got her flush when the congregation, growing and growing by this time, built the parish hall onto the back of the church. The hand-me-down organ was replaced with a modern, full-throated model that these days is played by a rotating schedule of regular organists, and a number of guest musicians. Then the church inherited the Community Building next door, took a collective deep breath, and undertook its renovation from a hard-used basketball court into a space pleasant enough for a wedding reception.

Swiss’ road-side furnace is long gone, replaced with an efficient, new one; handsome, black-framed combination storm/screen windows cover the old and fragile sashes of wavy glass; in short, the place is much warmer. A big, open wooden building built nearly 200 years ago is constantly falling apart, decay and rot its enemies. Think how many windows! I should know, but don’t. This past year all the frames, taken out one at a time, are being re-glazed now that the new storms are up. The back and west walls, the ones you don’t see from the road, have finally been repaired.

Meanwhile, as all this fund-raising and building and repairing was going on, Pastor Susan was busy doing building of her own. A turning point, or perhaps it was a starting point, for a beginning pastor was the day she sat with a dying woman, a member of the church, who asked if she could recite the 23rd Psalm with her. As it happened, Susan had recently memorized this favorite psalm, and so started “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want …” and saw the woman’s lips moving, and at the end her nearly inaudible voice “and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” That would be the start of her ministry with those terminally ill, whether they were members of the church or not; over the years Susan has prayed with many townspeople in their last days and hours, done their funerals, comforted their families.

Susan oversaw the establishment of the Good Neighbor Fund, which is used to help Lincolnville people, whether church members or not, through rough times, providing heating oil, food, transportation, even setting up a household for a homeless family. She’s worked with Jodi Hanson, the town’s General Assistance officer, to help out beyond what the town is allowed to do. The balance in the GNF fluctuates depending on needs, and is replenished by donations from townspeople, church members, summer folks, and from Susan’s own “cyber community”.

So much has changed during Pastor Susan’s years at United Christian Church, which many refer to just as “the church in the Center.” The year-round Sunday services include Christmas Eve when it seems the whole town piles in, to fill the straight-backed box pews, overflowing into the horseshoe-shaped balcony. College students home for the holidays, lots and lots of small children, whole families including proud grandparents, everyone dressed in their best, excited to be together on Christmas Eve. At four o’clock on Dec. 24 dark is already falling. At the end of the service, the lights are turned off, the candles are lit, and we sing “Silent Night”, and it’s as close to magical as most of us experience.

This Sunday, June 25, the congregation of United Christian Church invites all who’ve come to know Pastor Susan Stonestreet over these past 18 years, to come to the 9:30 a.m. service to say good-bye and to wish her well. A reception in the Community Building will follow; Susan’s photographs will be on display, and she invites you to take one home for a donation to the church.


Town Meeting

I missed Town Meeting this year, as I needed to see my oldest granddaughter graduate from eighth-grade. Some 60 people attended the annual meeting at the Community Building. Welcome to our two new selectmen, Jon Fishman and Josh Gerritsen; and many thanks to our two departing selectmen, Art Durity and Rosey Gerry.


LBG’s Scholarship Event

Join the Lincolnville Business Group, neighbors, and friends for an evening of fun on Tuesday June 20, 2017 at the Whale's Tooth Pub at  5 p.m. Rosey Gerry and the Wandering Wayfarers will playing, there’ll be free food, and a silent auction. Donations accepted to support the LBG scholarship fund for Lincolnville students graduating from high school.


Library book group

The Lincolnville Community Library book group invites everyone to join them in a discussion of A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline this Tuesday, June 20 at 6 p.m. The recently published novel tells the compelling story of Christina Olson, the real-life woman behind Andrew Wyeth’s well-known painting "Christina’s World.” Kline is also the author of the bestseller The Orphan Train.


Solar Solstice Celebration

From the Lincolnville Energy Team: “Come join the select board, energy team, elected representatives, and your neighbors at the Fire Station, 470 Camden Road, on Wednesday, June 21, from 4 to 6 p.m. to celebrate our town’s solar power system!  The town, in collaboration with ReVision Energy, is hosting the event to thank the community for your support and give you the opportunity to learn more about renewable power and the performance of our photo voltaic system. Please come by to enjoy live music, refreshments (including ice cream sundaes, solar cookies, lemonade, and healthy snacks), tours of the system, electric car demonstrations, and more!  There will even be a special lighting activity for our youngest citizens!  So, bring the family and we look forward to seeing you there.”  


LWC Indoor Yard Sale/Bake Sale

This Saturday, June 24, the Lincolnville Women’s Club holds an Indoor Yard Sale/Bake Sale at the LIA building, 33 Beach Road. Proceeds will benefit an annual local scholarship, as well as club projects such as donations to Christmas by the Sea, to three local churches, and to Sussman House

Club members will be on hand to receive donated items on Friday. June 23 from 9 until 11 a.m.  No appliances, plug in items or clothes are accepted. Examples of sought-after items include trinkets and tools, books and bric-a-brac, puzzles and pretty dishes, housewares and home decorations, not to mention intriguing white elephants..

For more information contact Edna or call 763-3583.


VBS

Vacation Bible School is being hosted again this summer by Crossroads Community Baptist Church the week of June 26-30, 5:30-8 p.m. at Tranquility Grange, free for all children from 3 years old to sixth-grade. You don’t have to be part of the church – all are welcome.

The theme this year is "MAKER FUN FACTORY" - learning that we are created by God and built for a purpose! Children will enjoy singing, bible study, crafts, games and refreshments. The kids will have a safe place to go, meet new friends and learn about God. A Women's Bible Study will be held at the same time.


LIA

At last week’s Improvement Association meeting a state flag was presented to the group, thanks to Dorothy Havey who obtained it. Niel Wienges and Andy Andrews then raised the flag up the pole to fly with the American flag already installed.


July’s Card Class

This month’s card making class at Edna Pendleton’s will be July 5, 9 a.m. to noon. Contact Edna or call, 763-3583. if you’d like to come.


Attention Needleworkers

August 12 the Community Building will be bustling with the New England Needle Festival. Check out the website for information and to register.