A Christmas message from Scott Planting, Mission president:
December 18, 2018 – Under clear skies and over calm seas, the Sunbeam V is heading out of Northeast Harbor today for its annual three day, three island Christmas trip. It is my joy to be aboard with crew Captain Michael Johnson, Director of Island Outreach Douglas Cornman, Steward Jillian, and guests Allison and Hunt Smith.
For me it is wonderful to lead Christmas worship services at the beautiful island churches. We’ll gather in the candlelight, sing the carols, read the lessons, remember our beloved ones, and speak about God’s goodness to us all.
Our first stop is Matinicus Isle. We will skiff over to the island at 5 pm for a Christmas service at Matinicus Congregational Church UCC. The service will be followed by Christmas dinner on the Sunbeam.
Early Thursday morning we leave Matinicus for Isle au Haut where, in the afternoon, we’ll join islanders for a potluck dinner at the town hall, followed by the Christmas service.
Friday morning, if all goes well — the marine forecast calls for high winds out of the south— the Sunbeam will host an all-island breakfast. Then we’ll depart for Frenchboro, where the island will join us at Frenchboro Congregational Church for a service, followed by cookies and mulled cider.
This very special trip is my last Christmas trip aboard the Sunbeam. I am deeply grateful for the Sunbeam crew and staff for all they give the islands. And I’m grateful to all the Maine Seacoast Mission friends who are always with us in spirit, as they have been for over a century, upholding us in our care for these remote communities.
Bar Harbor, ME — Sunbeam V Engineer Storey King sent this photo “from Matinicus this morning” on Wednesday, 3/22. In a separate email that day, Mission President Scott Planting emailed Sunbeam V Captain Michael Johnson:
Mike — we’re getting a pretty good snow squall this afternoon. How is it where you are?
To which Capt. Johnson replied:
Good, Scott. Due to heavy wind we are spending a second night on Matinicus and leaving for Isle au Haut in the morning. It snowed here, but only a little.
The crew just had a CPR class by Eva Murray that took most of the morning.
Sharon and Douglas are out doing rounds, Storey is working on the hull, and I am doing some work on my computer. We had a pretty good crowd for dinner last night, and Douglas showed a movie after dinner with was fun.
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.
BAR HARBOR — November 15, 2016, Education Talk Radio Host Larry Jacobs interviewed Mission President Scott Planting on Bench-Marking Success in the Opportunity Gap.
In the podcast segment here, Scott Planting answers Larry Jacobs’s question about reactions from parents and students on the unbridged islands the Mission serves, when those students must leave the islands to attend college.
Scott Planting tells Larry Jacobs, the large majority of these island students want to return home after college.