Copyright 2016 Episcopal Church of St. John Baptist. All rights reserved.
The Episcopal Church of St. John Baptist 200 Main St., Thomaston, Maine 04861
email@example.com (207) 354-8734 Sunday Services are at 8 am and 10 am
As we come upon the 150th anniversary of the first regular gathering of people to commit themselves to God and to the formation of an Episcopal mission here, it is important to remember our story, the stories of those who have journeyed this mission over the last 150 years, but also to remember that it is for us to continue on in the journey for those who will follow us.
There are stories of the building of the church, the floor collapsing after the first round of construction, the building of the bell tower, and various renovations. There is a list of clergy who have served this mission over the years, their names are listed in the hallway outside the office. And there are the stories of the communities in the area in which we have engaged. But the most vital and important moments of our history and story will never fully be told or known. These are the stories of people who have come into the sanctuary in deep need and pain and have found a connection with God to embrace them. There are the quiet stories of people returning to the parish with gratitude for a place that has helped connect them to the earth. The stories of families finding reunion, of the gathering of friends and family upon the death of a dearly loved one. These are the stories that have seasoned the wood and tinted the windows with our prayers. There are the many stories of people quietly looking at the front window and seeing the reassuring words reminding us not to be afraid. And there are the collective stories of meeting people time and again and with such we have found our lives deeply connected to others and to God. The true history of our parish is not found in simply the story of our building, but it is found in the lives of those who have been here. And our present gatherings and time here are the continued threads of a larger tapestry that continues to be woven by the grace of God.
The mission which was begun one hundred and fifty years ago was not one to create a building for the town, but one to promote and engage with God. Our mission statement comes from the scriptures where Jesus explains the summary of the law: We are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength; and our neighbor as ourselves.
We have structured our community and worship and aligned ourselves with the Episcopal Church in the United States. In doing so we are reminded that we are not an isolated place, nor on our own, but part of something that is much larger than ourselves and connected to the church around the world. It is a reminder that we are accountable not only to each other but to a larger church. But we are not here to share the Episcopal Church to the larger community, we are called to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our mission is always rooted back on the deep experiences we each have had and the collective wisdom and experience of fellow Christians of all denominations throughout the Christian story. Our mission is to love, to share and to care.
One of the many chapters of St. John’s was the founding of the Trekker program. It was founded by people in the parish in response to deep concerns and needs in the community we were able to launch something in faith, and then when it began to fly, we let it go. It was never to be a program to promote St. John’s, but to respond in love to a need because of our experience of God’s love for us. We continue these stories of letting go and watching the Holy Spirit take our prayers, efforts and move our heart in ways we could never imagine, nor control. And time and time again the Lord has returned into our midst to renew and push us further. Our celebration of 150 years is not only a remembrance but a reminder of the force behind us to move us onward.
To Remember and To Remain
by the Rev. Peter Jenks