July 22, 2020
The Sunbeam holds its course
OUT OF THE WATER AND ONLINE, MAINE SEACOAST MISSION’S CONTINUES
By Frances Mize
Built in 1995 and operated now by the Bar Harbor-based Maine Seacoast Mission, the 75-foot long, steel-hulled Sunbeam V clears harbors of ice in the winter months, and in all seasons serves as a place of fellowship and communion for those unbridged islands of Maine that support year-round populations.
Douglas Cornman, director of island outreach, whose work ranges from leading worship services to arranging an anthology of creative works from the islands, notes that “the boat’s never locked, the coffee is always hot. Folks are welcome on board, and we’ll just sit and chat.”
While the rest of the world struggles to fall into the rhythms of Zoom meetings and a life wrenched online, this sort of digital connection is nothing new for the Sunbeam. In addition to serving as a space for community, telemedicine equipment aboard the ship ensures that islanders have access to quality, reliable healthcare.
Director of Island Health Services Sharon Daley travels to the islands and performs routine checkups herself, but islanders are also put in touch via video call with physicians and mental healthcare providers on the mainland.