Director of Island Outreach Douglas Cornman sent this report and photos from the Sunbeam V‘s Christmas Cruise 2016:
The Sunbeam V and crew cruised to three islands in just over twenty four hours this week, to offer Christmas Services to the islands’ year-round communities. The communities of Frenchboro and Isle au Haut were visited on Tuesday, and the island of Matinicus was visited on Wednesday.
Residents gathered, either in their island’s church or aboard the Sunbeam, to listen to St. Luke’s account of the Christmas story, sing their favorite hymns and carols, and watch a nativity play performed by the island’s children and a few lobstermen and women.
Frenchboro’s nativity even had a living baby Jesus, played by the island’s newest addition. In his sermon, Director of Island Outreach and Sunbeam chaplain Douglas Cornman, asked the children if anyone knew what Christmas was all about (a line borrowed from one of his favorite Peanuts characters).
Love, taking care of one another, taking care of our planet, and compassion towards others are just a sample of the answers he heard. The Sunbeam’s 2016 Christmas cruise truly was a beautiful and life affirming whirlwind that is not to be soon forgotten.
Merry Christmas from the Sunbeam V and her crew!!
Rev. Neal Bousfield, Mission Superintendent (1938-1972) delivering Christmas presents in 1940. As of this writing, we have no other details about this photo. We welcome any factual background information readers are willing to share.
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One published account by Mount Desert Island Historical Society describes Rev. Bousfield this way:
“For thirty-six years Reverend Neal Bousfield…worked tirelessly to improve the live of coastal Maine people. Employing his philosophy that outright charity demeans and even destroys the individual, Rev. Bousfield endeavored to help people help themselves. Educational opportunity was one pillar of his self-improvement philosophy.”
BAR HARBOR — Monday, December 19, 2016. A few photos of the Colket Center floor dedicated in large part to the Mission’s Christmas Program. Rooms, shelves, drawers, and closets once used for resident living space are now Mrs. Christmas’s Command Central.
The Sunbeam V is making a few Christmas Cruises to Maine islands this week. Director of Island Outreach Douglas Cornman sent these cruise details.
Who: Mike, Storey, Jillian, Douglas and the communities of Frenchboro, Isle au Haut, and Matinicus
What: The Sunbeam’s annual Christmas Cruise. What is included in the service will vary depending on the island. Islands with enough children will have a Christmas pageant. Islands with fewer children will have Lessons and Carols. Every island will hear a Christmas message and have a carol sing with cookies and cocoa served following the service.
Where: Frenchboro and Matinicus have agreed to heat their churches for the day of the service, so the services on these two islands will be in their church buildings. The service on Isle au Haut will be aboard the Sunbeam.
When: The dates are listed below
Sunbeam Christmas Trip to Frenchboro
When: Sunday, Dec 18, 2016
Sunbeam Christmas Trip to Isle Au Haut
When: Tuesday, Dec 20, 2016
Sunbeam Christmas Trip to Matinicus
When: Wednesday, Dec 21, 2016
Sunbeam Christmas Trip (Return to Northeast Harbor)
When: Thursday, Dec 22, 2016
Why: These islands do not have year round ministers “on island,” so the Sunbeam and her crew (minus Director of Island Health Sharon Daley) visits each year. It is my understanding that the Sunbeam’s minister has led Christmas services for each of these island communities for many years. I do not know the exact number of years, however.
The Sunbeam Schedule Online
by Scott Planting, Maine Seacoast Mission President
At Christmas I take down from the book shelf a precious book that I purchased in Farmington, Maine, December 1, 1975, my first Christmas in the parish in Western Maine I served for 35 years. The book is a collection of meditations called The Mood of Christmas by Howard Thurman. Here is an excerpt from “The Gift of Grace”:
This is the season of Christmas. For many people, in many places, it is a time of great pressure and activity, a time when nerves are tense, and when a great deal of anxiety hovers over the common life. And this is just the reversal of what the mood and the meaning of Christmas really are. I would like to suggest, then, that for those who care deeply about the meaning of your own lives and the significance of high celebration, that you would do two things during this season. One, that you will seek reconciliation with any person or persons with whom you have, at the moment a ruptured or unhappy relationship…find a way by you can restore a lost harmony, so that your Christmas gift to yourselves will be peace between you and someone else.
The second is just as simple. Will you with your imagination, with your fancy, will you conjure up into your minds a gift of grace that you might give to someone for whom you have no obligation. It may be just to pick up the telephone and call someone whose life is not tied to yours in any way…and say a word of reassurance, of comfort, of delight—so that you will feel that out of the fullness of your own hearts, you have conferred upon some unsuspecting human being a gentle grace that makes the season a good and whole and hale and happy time.
I believe these two simple gifts are at the heart of the work of the Maine Seacoast Mission restoring lost harmonies and the gentle grace of bestowing delight upon unsuspecting people.
Wishing you gentle graces at Christmas,