‘Sunbeam’ crew photo not part of original Free Press Online story.
from Offshore: An Adjusted Holiday
by Eva Murray
Tuesday, December 29, 2020 8:16 AM
The Saturday before Christmas brought a calm day — itself something special — and the Maine Seacoast Mission vessel Sunbeam to our harbor. Recently sprung from a long stay at the Front Street Shipyard in Belfast, the Sunbeam had all sorts of nice interior refits and renovations, none of which were shown off to us on account of — well, you get it.
Instead, captain and engineer, nurse and chaplain (the steward being off that day) brought cookies and hot chocolate out onto the wharf, and those of us loitering around had what you might call a tailgate party with the crew. It was a nice chance to wish a happy Christmas through our masks to Mike, Storey, Sharon and Douglas, and indirectly to Jillian who we assume baked the cookies, and to acknowledge that holiday celebrations in the time of coronavirus might still be hopeful.
The Sunbeam, with its string of Christmas lights high overhead, started away before dark having four hours yet to steam home to Mt. Desert. They left their traditional white-paper-and-red-string-wrapped presents for the littles — a custom that has lasted a century.
It’s Thank you Thursday. Today’s shout out of Mission love goes to Laura and Tom, and the many kind, memorable people Mission staff encounter in our daily work.
Sunbeam Steward Jillian says of Laura and Tom, “They have refreshing spirt and I always enjoy our conversations when I pass them on the slip. Here they are on their boat which docks near the Sunbeam in our lovely little water neighborhood in Northeast Harbor. These two,” adds Jillian, “are making a good life together on their own terms.”
From the Sunbeam, to the Downeast Campus, to our Mount Desert Island headquarters, to our social media, we appreciate and look forward to the people we encounter who help the Mission with their kind words, their ideas, and their camaraderie.
It’s Thank You Thursday. A Christmas Eve shout out of Mission love goes out to the many elves who helped create a cheerful Mission Christmas 2020 for over 1,400 people.
Thank you to the Mission staff and volunteers who coordinated the Christmas Program. They are Tracy Reynolds, Carla Cote, Marilyn Nickson, Maria, and Dannie. Our heartfelt thanks go to many others who helped wrap and deliver presents, including the Mission’s elf, Charlie.
This is what community looks like. Learn more about The Mission Christmas Program here.
NORTHEAST HARBOR, ME — It’s a moonlit and chilly December dark evening in Maine. Around four-thirty. There’s a heavy dusting of snow on the frozen ground. You’re in your wood fire warmed Downeast home wondering whether the ground is finally frozen so that now the snow will pile up until the February thaw.
You’re also wondering whether the five-cord woodpile will last until May when the last fire is lit. Since 2020, heading into an uncertain 2021, you are also always wondering, at least a little bit, about your kids, your job, your health… When the doorbell rings.
Of course, a world-wide pandemic won’t permit in-person and door-to-door caroling for Christmas 2020, but, in the spirit of the season, as it should be, we can share in some virtual singing. Click the video above, follow the bouncing Sunbeam, and sing along!
I’ve always thought the traditional version of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” is wholly outside the spirit of Christmas. Too demanding: “Bring us some figgy pudding and bring it right here.” Too threatening: “We won’t go until we get some!” And just what is figgy pudding anyway? I guess I can imagine, though I’d rather not.
Instead, we offer “We Wish You a Mission Christmas” recast in the Mission and Christmas spirit. Instead of demanding dried fruit treats, we ask every day how we can help. What can we bring to your table? What joys, small or large, can the Maine Seacoast Mission offer to buoy you and our communities? This Christmas of all Christmases.
This Christmas, I am grateful that the Mission has been able to play such a crucial role during the worldwide pandemic. I am grateful to the communities and individuals who welcome us. I am grateful to the people of every faith tradition for keeping their faith in this season and every season. I am grateful to the donors who support the work. I am so grateful to the Mission staff and board who
just keep going…
Most of all, I am grateful to you who have welcomed the Mission into your lives and hearts this Christmas. This year. Every year. So grateful.
President, Maine Seacoast Mission
We Wish You a Mission Christmas and a Healthy New Year
Sung to the tune of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
We wish you a Mission Christmas. We wish you a Mission Christmas.
We wish you a Mission Christmas and a Healthy New Year!
Good tidings we bring – white paper, red string.
Good tidings for Christmas and a Happy New Year!
We bring you Jillian’s cookies.
Baked in the Sunbeam Galley.
They’re from your Mission family.
With a cup of good cheer!
We bring you a full cupboard.
We bring you Sunday supper.
We bring you hand-knit mittens.
And the gift of good cheer!
Good tidings we bring – white paper, red string. Good tidings for Christmas and a Happy New Year!
We bring you seniors thriving.
We bring you children smiling.
And young adults inspiring.
Their families and peers!
Mission Magic we bring, white paper, red string. Mission Magic for Christmas and a Healthy New Year!
We wish you a Merry Christmas. We wish you a Merry Christmas.
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
It’s Thank you Thursday. Today’s shout out of Mission love goes to friends and Maine retailers: Marden’s and Renys
Mission Community Resource Coordinator Megan Smith tells us, “For years Marden’s and Renys in Ellsworth have collaborated with our Christmas Program. We provide gift tags to both stores. Each tag has a child’s name and a few gift ideas. We hope shoppers will grab a gift tag and help fulfill a child’s Christmas wish.
“This picture, taken at Marden’s in Ellsworth, shows how well the collaboration works,” said Megan.
Renys: A Maine Adventure, a chain of 16 department stores throughout Maine, has been in business since 1949. It’s headquarters is in Newcastle.
Marden’s Surplus and Salvage, an independent family-run chain of 14 retail stores in Maine, was founded in 1964. Marden’s home office is in Waterville.
Thank you, Marden’s. Thank you, Renys. And thank you to the generous customers at both stores.