THE END OF THE ROAD: Blue Hill, Maine

The past week once again seems to have been fairly full, beginning with three consecutive performances following the conclusion of the Merton Conference in Louisville.  All seemed to go well.  Then I got to have a day-off on Wednesday so headed to Sandy Hook on the Jersey shore with a great view of Manhattan and Long Island before heading north through the NYC traffic to Maine.

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 The outlook from my accommodations in Blue Hill, Maine

Of course, there’s no such thing as “the end of the road” because there’s always “what happens next” but for me Blue Hill, Maine is a significant point in this journey because it is its easternmost extremity (just as Port Isabel and Cape Canaveral were significant turning points – both with a turn to the north).  Now the turn is to the west – it’s all west from here!  Also, this was particularly significant because this was the second of the two St. Francis’ churches on this tour: St. Francis by the Sea (although it is not really by the sea, though that was the original intent, I understand, but then they moved it…):

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This was a wonderful mini-break, arriving at my hosts, Jim & Mary’s, on Thursday evening for a Friday evening performance and a workshop/quiet day on Mark’s Gospel on the Saturday (which was described by one participant as a “master class”!), then preaching at the two services on the Sunday.  On Friday we got to go on a modest hike up Blue Hill and take in some views of this astoundingly beautiful landscape/seascape…

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View from the top of Blue Hill, Maine.

I don’t know why, but once again (as with St. Francis’ in Rutherfordton) there seemed to be a special connection with this community also dedicated to Francis of Assisi – we even began to hatch ideas about organizing a joint pilgrimage to Assisi in a couple of years!

St Francis-by-the-Sea 1

Here I am in full swing in the performance at St. Francis by the Sea (note the banner in the background!) – Photo: Bob Publicover

St Francis-by-the-Sea 2

And in conversation afterwards with a woman who had driven three hours to come to this performance and was about to drive three hours home – she was telling me how glad she was that she had made the trip.  Photo: Bob Publicover

 St Francis-by-the-Sea 3

A study of some familiar elements of my set. Photo: Bob Publicover

I was sad to be leaving Blue Hill, but everyone is very keen that I return, and I hope very much that I will – and I hope the idea of a joint pilgrimage to Assisi comes to pass – but I am excited to be heading west again and looking forward to getting home next week.  I also left Blue Hill with a great sense of anticipation because I had arranged to meet for breakfast on Monday with Bert Marshall who also performs the Gospel of Mark…

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