Inspiring, educating and nurturing those who minister through music and the arts



EPIPHANIES FROM THE MILL HOUSE
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  • January 01, 2023 8:00 AM | - UCCMA Admin (Administrator)

    JANUARY 2023

    Dear Kind and Gentle People,

    Happy New Year and Happy Epiphany! The Newfield Community Church will celebrate the Epiphany or recognition God incarnate in the baby Jesus on January 1. The opening hymn for our Epiphany celebration will be the ancient Welsh carol “All Poor Ones and Humble.” Here is a choral version of it for your listening pleasure. It is an inclusive and holy message with beautiful flowing melody and harmony.

    A new year is upon us, a year full of your promise and possibilities. We have a choice to invite the healing balm of love and light to loosen our hidden prisons of un-forgiveness and transform our lives. Unlike the traditional New Year’s dinner of black-eyed peas and the trimmings that many of us enjoy only once a year, we can choose to honor the Christ Child every day of the year.

    The Magi offer the baby Jesus three gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Traditionally gold because the baby is a ruler, frankincense to symbolize ascending prayer and myrrh as a recognition of the end of mortal life at the cross and beyond. They paid attention to their dreams and did not return to Herod. Joseph obeyed his dream and took his tiny family to Egypt, perhaps using the valuable gifts of the magi for incentives, otherwise known as bribes.

    We are all on our own journeys carrying our unique gifts within us and seeking a place of truth to lay them down. Like the Magi and Joseph, may you have the courage to listen and follow the prompts that God is using to guide you. Let’s follow the light that is bequeathed upon us each and every day. During this season of Epiphany and in this new year, may you say yes to new possibilities, embrace freedom from your past and open your heart to the New Jerusalem here on earth. Happy New Year and Happy Epiphany!

    Gobs of Blessings and Heaps of Happiness,

    Petah

    Rev. Dr. Peter Stickney


  • December 01, 2022 8:00 AM | - UCCMA Admin (Administrator)

    DECEMBER 2022

    Photography by W. F. Quinn Smith


    Dear Kind and Gentle People,

    Our advent pilgrimage of waiting and wondering is a time of spiritual renewal and rebirth. As we ponder and seek unction with our creator, many of us (this includes Petah) incorporate the traditional themes of Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy in our observances. Here at “The Mill” candles are put in all the windows, glorious wreaths of balsam, pine, spruce and boxwood are crafted for both inside and outside (Fleurs par Pierre), and naturally the creche and Advent wreath are helping us to wait and wonder for the coming of the Christ Child.

    “Come Now, O Prince of Peace” by Geonyong Lee continuously dances in my head. It is a lovely prayer set with a haunting melody that lends itself easily to auxiliary instruments. This arrangement by Jeremy Bankson is simply elegant and inspirational. Some mornings I use this as a devotional prayer and incorporate a gong and wind chimes while chanting at my prie-dieu.

    People, Advent is the beginning of the liturgical church year and it begins with a fresh slate! The outward signs aforementioned are only a tiny part of waiting and wondering. You are responsible for the care of your soul and the season of Advent is a perfect time to be aware of what is hindering you from fully embracing each week’s themes.

    What in your life needs to have closure; what needs to be blessed and released? What pieces of your life need to be discarded, repented of and/or filled with divine light? Where might you invite our Creator to help you manifest the desire of your heart, dispelling your fears and doubts? How might you receive the gifts of the Universe in fullness and with thanks?

    During this Advent, may the old condemnations of ourselves and others be put to rest and may you receive the fullness of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love!

    As always, Gobs of Blessings and Heaps of Happiness,

    Petah

    Rev. Dr. Peter Stickney

  • November 01, 2022 8:00 AM | - UCCMA Admin (Administrator)

    November 2022

    Dear Kind and Gentle People,

    Last night Mr. Jack Frost visited “The Mill” with a “Killing Frost.” Needless to say, I was able to dig the dahlia bulbs today (eight buckets full) in preparation for next year and now I am resting in my prayer chair. The gratitude that is flowing for the vision of the fall foliage, being able to dig in the earth and to welcome the changing of our season fills me to overflowing, and causes me to weep. The song, “How Blest We Are” from “Big River” by Roger Miller, is playing in my inner hearing over and over again. If you are not familiar with it do listen to this YouTube clip with Jennifer Leigh Warren. Start it at about 1:30. Simply copy and paste into your browser or click here: https://youtu.be/ctRVzVWdVzc

    Photo by Jason Harris

    Our God is so good and true and we do seek to honor our Creator when we come together with one another to worship and to give gratitude. The core of our faith is that God loved us first, and God continues to shower us with grace and mercy. How blest we are indeed!

    November is especially diverse this year. Truly we have been given a whirlwind of opportunity to worship and express gratitude for the holy and sacred gift of life. We begin on November 7 with “All Saints Sunday” as we acknowledge the blessings of those who have gone before us and the earthly presence of believers who make up a giant choir all singing the same song.

    “Stewardship Sunday” November 14, is next and many of us reflect on how to share the overflowing gifts so generously bequeathed upon us. Then on November 21 many of us pair a hybrid Reign of Christ with an annual Thanksgiving remembrance. Perhaps some of you will incorporate Mr. Miller’s awesome song to honor our creator in worship on one of these Sundays.

    The final Sunday of the month, November 28, is the First Sunday of Advent, and for those of us who follow the lectionary, we have completed cycle C and return to cycle A. There are many choices to create a celebration of the divine mystery and the incarnation. Have fun! In your prayer time ask the Universe for guidance and Voila! It’s the method that works for me.

    I hope you all walk in great joy this month as you travel with the One who is all knowing, all seeing and all powerful. God’s love is enough to touch and change each of us. Let the music flow, let the light and the plethora of gifts from creator guide your journey this month.

    Most importantly, do remember this. “How blest we are!”

    Gobs of Blessings and Heaps of Happiness,

    Petah

    Rev. Dr. Peter Stickney, Chaplain

  • October 01, 2022 8:00 AM | - UCCMA Admin (Administrator)

    October 2022

    Dear Kind and Gentle People,

    Last week we observed the autumnal equinox that heralds the official proclamation that the season of fall has arrived in all its glory. When you gaze at the mill pond, the reflection of the turning colored maple leaves over the water is truly breathtaking, especially reflecting in the windows of “The Mill.” Our pumpkins (in Maine we pronounce them “PUNGKIN”) are ready in the field. The cattle will have a feast and Petah will make pie!

    Over 30 brightly colored ears of ornamental corn have been harvested and crafted into a magnificent wreath for my giant front door. I am reminded of the old chestnut, “Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem” by John Henry Maunder. We always nicknamed this piece “the laughing corn” as some of the text of Psalm 65 is gleefully inserted in the middle of the anthem. “The valleys stand so thick with corn that they laugh and sing.”


    How often do we stop, or even slow down, long enough to pay some attention, not only to our gifts, not only to all we have and all we have to do, but also to the giver, to the source of it all? Are we so busy running, so busy using what we have, that we can see no farther? Are you able to stop everything and imagine a rich, deep valley celebrating a bumper crop of beautiful corn being bathed in the song of Gaia’s electromagnetic field and her Four Winds that are accompanied by the laughing and joyful gurgling of flowing water?

    Sometimes we become so full of the blessings that we have received that there appears to be just no room for the giver, the source of the gift. We are not ungrateful, just busy. Just terribly busy! Are we so busy running, so busy using what we have, that we can see no farther? Sometimes the answer is yes.

    During this season of fall, you are encouraged to acknowledge the source of all gifts and the helper in all challenges. Rather than being busy running with your blessings, slow down and enjoy the feast of your eyes upon ornamental corn, the taste of a yummy pumpkin pie, and of course the metaphorical joy of the singing and laughing of a deep rich valley, filled to overflowing with a bumper crop of corn.

    Gobs of Blessings and Heaps of Happiness,

    Petah

    Rev. Dr. Peter Stickney

  • September 01, 2022 8:00 AM | - UCCMA Admin (Administrator)

    September 2022

    Dear Kind and Gentle People,

    Last evening we were given the holy and sacred gift of water in the form of a soft refreshing rain that has replenished the pond and waterfall outside my front door and given my posies a bit of a facelift so to speak. One of my favorite flowers came from my childhood home seven years ago after my beloved father passed at age 96. I call them “Sunny-flowers” -- for ignorance of their botanical name. They have become prolific in blossoms.


    The truth is that for the 65 years that father lived in our home, the flowers never reached their potential due to the fact that in the summer our dogs always liked to sleep on the northeast side of the house, therefore stifling any beauty to behold. Surprise and wonder of wonders, they have taken off here at “The Mill” and I have given away oodles of them.

    How often do we take the amazing gifts of our creator for granted. The miracle of water from the sky, the sun and its photosynthesis and the sheer joy of seeing something beautiful, such as butterflies on a wall of yellow flowers. Earlier this week my friend Abby (Rev. Dr. Captain Abby Lynn Haskell) sent me her link to her sunrise boat church message. I was thrilled to listen to the seagulls and the ocean waves as she was giving her incredible message on Luke 13:10-17. I include her YouTube address for you to check out her ministry and hear the gulls. https://youtu.be/PDIvwxm4ShU

    Our creator can give us a “sunny-flower” facelift at any time. I highly recommend that you simply ask and then expect the unexpected! Many of us are seeking a facelift for our respective emerging post-Covid ministries. Let’s bathe our ministries in prayer while listening, observing and rejoicing in the gifts that God bequeaths to them, much like the rain that gave the “Sunny flowers” a facelift.

    You are responsible for the care of your soul! Be willing to receive a facelift of gratitude and a fresh awareness of holy light and joyful surprises.

    As always—Gobs of blessings and heaps of happiness.

    PETAH

    Rev. Dr. Peter Stickney

  • August 01, 2022 8:00 AM | - UCCMA Admin (Administrator)

    August 2022

    Dear Kind and Gentle People,

    A glorious month of July comes to a close tonight as a fabulous August is anticipated for the Grand State of Maine. Raspberries have run their course; zucchini, summer squash and cucumbers are running rampant; and the blackberry brambles look “loaded” with promises of blackberry pies on the horizon. Here at “The Mill” the kitchen has been bathed in the aroma of pickles. Yup, 30 quarts so far! A victory!


    In addition to enjoying the abundant gifts from Gaia, I had the joy of participating in a seminar, a pilgrimage of sorts to seek peace and justice, held at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids. African American religious autobiographies from the late 1700’s to the present were studied, discussed and reflected upon. All attending read nine books and prepared some outlines for group discussion. It was a mountaintop experience.

    We visited sites of the Underground Railroad, the resting place of Sojourner Truth (of course I wept), and meaningful places marked by the Michigan Historical Commission. Personally, I am horrified, mortified and ashamed of a barrier in Detroit called Birwood Wall, a reminder of institutionalized racial segregation constructed in1941 to separate Blacks from whites. Boo Hiss!!! I had no idea!!!!

    On a happier note, the singing with 35 fellow pilgrims was amazing. One of my heroes of song, Dr. James Abbington, led the music from the new African American ecumenical hymnal, “One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism.” It is published by GIA. Petah highly recommends this gem as an addition to your music library. Order today — don’t delay!

    Jesus warns us that if we follow him in the way of peace and justice, healing and grace, people will be offended; even loved ones will be divided against us. ***Sadly, I have found this true with hideous comments made to me about attending the Calvin seminar/pilgrimage. What was said to my face left me speechless and shocked — and I will not give it any of our holy energy by printing it. Horrors!!!!

    The Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace is not an easy walk. It is a courageous and costly participation in God’s pilgrimage of justice and peace. How will you become rich toward God, giving thanks for the abundance of the earth and working for justice and peace?

    As always — Gobs of blessings and heaps of happiness.

    PETAH

    Rev. Dr. Peter Stickney, Chaplain

  • July 01, 2022 8:00 AM | - UCCMA Admin (Administrator)

    July 2022

    Dear Kind and Gentle People,

    Here at “The Mill” rejuvenation is always the theme during the summer with a goal of sitting in my UnKuL Petah chair and gazing at the mill pond or being fully present and mindful on the Petah’s Peace Porch. In nature and all of creation, rest and nourishment can rejuvenate that which has been wounded and depleted. My friend “St. Sally” (that’s what I call her) admonished me 20 years ago that I was responsible for the care of my soul! Years later a grading scale might read as “needs improvement.” At least there is an awareness!

    Last week was the strawberry moon and I was able to howl out the second floor bedroom window to release old burdens, and yesterday was the first day of summer. What a glorious day it was, complete with fresh rhubarb and mint from the garden and a feast for the eyes with bluebirds and tiny vocal wrens. Truly a day of thanksgiving and light.

    In April of 1999, I held an 80th birthday party for my father with the entire family present, including his siblings and mates. As we posed for a photo on the veranda a BLUEBIRD appeared. The old people all WEPT because they had not seen a bluebird since DDT practically made them almost extinct in the 1950s. The old Stickney homestead had lovely bluebird houses in storage that had not been put out in almost 50 years. (I had never seen a bluebird prior to this, but had heard about them.) Somehow the bluebirds have managed to come back. A sheer miracle of “Rejuvenation.”

    In this season of summer, how are you rekindling your life energy and calling? What things might you do, beyond your daily devotionals, to rejuvenate your being? How are you answering the summons to serving our Creator and recognizing what feeds and restores your soul? Where are you receiving healing and divine guidance to continue your ministry? In short, how are you being responsible for the care of your soul this summer? And, what is it that needs to be “rejuvenated” in your life? Our Creator helped the bluebirds to rejuvenate their numbers and will most certainly help you with your needs this summer.

    Simply ask! Simply receive! Be rejuvenated! And May It Be!

    Gobs of blessings and heaps of happiness.

    PETAH

    Rev. Dr. Peter Stickney, Chaplain

  • June 01, 2022 8:00 AM | - UCCMA Admin (Administrator)

    June 2022

    Dear Kind and Gentle People,

    Here in the Grand State of Maine, “June is Bustin’ Out All Over.” Outside of The Mill, a plethora of generous blooms -- purple, yellow, white, lavender and pink -- abound. What a glorious first day of the month! Gratitude is overflowing from the depths of my being.

    The day of Pentecost arrives on June 5th and the scriptures give a description of what appears to be a drunken mob and religious hysteria. However, several thousand devout Jews became followers of Jesus, the Christ. Frank Loque comments that, “The Jesus Movement was transformed not by will, but by an act of the Holy Spirit.” Further, “that the Pentecost experience was not due to alcohol and is not so easily reduced to nothing more than hysteria.” Petah comments that it was simply an over-the-top birthday bash and the result was “The Church was Bustin’ Out All Over!”

    Two years ago, the tiny Newfield Church had a concert series planned. It is with great joy that on the Eve of Pentecost we are going to finally bust out the sound and vibrations for a monthly community concert. In addition, we have embraced a monthly sound healing series which is titled, “Music of the Spheres.” Last month, lovely crystal bowls bathed us in sound, and we will continue to “Bust Out All Over.” Our June endeavor will be a drum circle.

    We who follow Jesus are called to share the love of God with no limitations. That means that we are to align our life energy, attitude, words and actions to reflect the uniting power of the Holy Spirit and the light of our Creator with everyone we meet. Pentecost shows us that what unites us is much more important than what divides us. So, be empowered to “Bust Out All Over” with the power and presence of God, guided by the Holy Spirit.

    MAY IT BE!!!!! (Bust, Bust, Bust)

    Gobs of blessings and heaps of happiness,

    Petah

    Rev. Dr. Peter Stickney, Chaplain


  • May 01, 2022 8:00 AM | - UCCMA Admin (Administrator)

    May 1, 2022

    Dear Kind and Gentle People,

    Christ is risen! Alleluia! Risen our victorious head!

    Sing his praises! Alleluia! Christ is risen from the dead!

    It was in 1994, working in a Lutheran church outside Philadelphia, that I first learned this old hymn by John S. B, Monsell. The “Old Guard” insisted that it be included as “tradition.” Henceforth, the simple refrain has been taken advantage of by yours truly as an introit or gospel acclamation and printed on colorful Easter paper (thankfully it is public domain), complete with brass, timpani and naturally crash cymbals. Still almost 30 years later the 9-bar refrain rattles my inner hearing at most surprising times.


    During this season of Eastertide, we will hear about good old doubting Thomas, preposterous thundering from the book of Revelation, the good Shepherd, a new heaven and a new earth, the ascension and of course liberation. These topics of the lectionary year C and season of Easter make it clear that the function of the Resurrection life is restoration of relationship and deep forgiveness.

    Sometimes we forget that our Creator is available 24/7 with no barriers and devoid of a secret formula. We are challenged to live as though the resurrection truly illumines us. We are called to seek peace and reconciliation and be in fellowship with one another while on our earthly journey. As the season of Eastertide unfolds with its amazing stories and powerful witness, might you please allow yourself to be open to a change of heart. The Holy One is present in all things and is simply waiting for you to present the comely and not so comely parts of yourself. In short, you are going to be loved “Warts and All.”

    Christ is risen! Alleluia! Risen our victorious head!

    Sing his praises! Alleluia! Christ is risen from the dead!


    Gobs of blessings and heaps of happiness.

    PETAH

    Rev. Dr. Peter Stickney, Chaplain

    P.S. Hope you got some yummy Easter Candy and gobbled it up! P.P.S. The photo is of the tiny Newfield Community Church on Easter.

  • April 19, 2022 12:00 PM | - UCCMA Admin (Administrator)

    April 22, 2022 – Earth Day

    Dear Kind and Gentle People,

    Earth Day is April 22, 2022 and lots of sacred musicians are experiencing a new awakening to what is truly important in our lives and in our music ministry. Our life is a miracle. Our life is a prayer.

    The creation around us is also a prayer. It isn’t that God is the gravel, clay or grass, but the gravel, clay and grass are infused with the creative love of God.

    We are people of action and invoke Spirit with our breath, creative sounds and intention. Mere words cannot express our calling. I would be so bold as to admonish you to use your divine connection to bring healing to others and to our planet. Perhaps you would make a daily commitment to use your prayer power, sound and intentions to uphold other musicians and the world for this season on Gaia. You all have lots of tools in your toolbox, so please use them to help others rise above fear, trepidation and the sea of despondency. Invoke healing to and for all of creation.


    At this time, as the secular calendar commemorates Earth Day, we raise our voices to thank God for creation. We remember that seeing a stream, a forest or a tiny bird in our back yard garden deserves a certain reverence. God’s creation deserves our love and respect and we as followers of the Light have a responsibility to be careful stewards of our sacred “Mother Earth.”

    I want to thank you for taking a minute to read my simple letter to you. You are all such powerful beings of light, and sacred holy sound healers. Please remember who you are and what you value.

    Now go forth and BE WHAT YOU VALUE!

    Happy Earth Day!

    Gobs of blessings and heaps of happiness.

    PETAH

    Rev. Dr. Peter Stickney, Chaplain UCCMA

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