Consent Preferences

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



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

    APRIL 2023

    Dear Kind and Gentle People,

    When I was a little boy and visiting the family homestead on Stickney Hill, my sainted father would lift me up to put my lips on Mr. Moose’s soft fur. We all knew he was a buck who met his demise on the Grand State of Maine’s Borestone Mountain in October 1926, but that is beside the point. We called him Mr. Moose. In 1989, this ghastly stuffed mammal descended to me, making my father was so very pleased.

    In 2018, Mr. Moose joined other stuffed carcasses in my hunter son Zeb’s home. After Zeb transitioned to his eternal home, Mr. Moose came back to “The Mill.” Currently Mr. Moose is transformed and dressed for all holidays and occasions. In this way, a bit of my son, father and grandfather are resurrected and a bit of childhood is gleefully revived and enjoyed. In this picture Mr. Moose is all jazzed up for Easter with a dashing Easter Hat and Antler trimmings.

    During the long journey of Lent, many of us have questioned our circumstances, our faith, the appearance of troubles in the world and our mortality. We have also had a grand opportunity to reflect and grow in faith and the understanding of our respective ministries. We, as servants of the Holy One, are called to see the sufferings of the world, and not run from them, but towards them — not to escape suffering, but to see how we can comfort, serve, and help. We can only understand with the help of God’s grace and let it understand us as an unrepeatable miracle of love.

    The only people to whom the Risen Christ appeared were people who loved him. The Resurrection, therefore, is made visible and possible for those who experienced it because of the love that was in them, because God is love and because God loved the world so much that he gave Christ to these people in a new and living way. The bottom line is, if you can believe that love is stronger than death, you are able to believe in Easter. We can put down our grief, fear, and plethora of burdens at the feet of Jesus, and when he calls our name, we can answer, “Rabbouni! Teacher!”

    I hope that you will allow yourselves to receive the limitless blessings and opportunities to be transformed that are at your disposal. The transformations about Mr. Moose from this living dust’s viewpoint (me) have vastly changed from an excited child, a grossed-out teenager, reluctant heir, caring father and grieving parent. We are all on a journey to grow in unction with our creator. At this time, Mr. Moose has been a tool of transformation and is currently a relic of great delight.

    May your powerful ministries be filled with Joy—like that of a transformed Mr. Moose, and may your Holy Week, Easter and Eastertide be blessed by our “Rabbouni’s” miracle of Love.

    As always,

    Gobs of Blessings and Heaps of Happiness!

    Petah

    Rev. Dr. Peter Stickney, Chaplain

  • March 01, 2023 8:00 AM | Admin UCCMA (Administrator)

    MARCH 2023

    Dear Kind and Gentle People,

    Yesterday the Newfield Community Church observed the first Sunday of Lent with the placement of our Lenten wreath. Simply put, an elegant wreath of six rich purple candles that are a-kindled each week and with no fanfare or blabbing. The correlating number of candles are extinguished after the sermon. Alas and alack, I extinguished the first candle yesterday with my fingers pinching the flame, no worries, having done this for years. However, a bit of rich purple wax stuck to my paws and before you could say “Rumpelstiltskin” the keys on the Steinway had received an unexpected Lenten blessing. A blessing because it certainly made me even more aware of the musical phrases and texts of our hymn playing with blobs of purple goo under my fingertips. How often the Universe gives us what appears to be a challenge and we fail to see the positive result that can unfold.


    The season of Lent can be such a joyful time for letting go of the old ways that hinder us and for expecting good results in our walk with our Creator, especially in ways that we have not pondered before. The Newfield Community Church hosted “Ash and Dash” again this year at 7am and 5pm, ministering from the back of my trusty 2005 Scion XB in the parking lot. After shoveling the new fallen snow and fortifying myself with a prayer and giant swig of coffee, a most holy day unfolded.


    Cars and trucks beeped and waved and the morning dog walkers sent me joy! Then it happened! A mother who had seen this event on Facebook and had sent a message at 10pm the night before brought her two children, probably 9 and 11, who were eager to participate. So eager that they got up early on school vacation day. This was a sacred and holy experience for them, and although they pray each night and read the Bible daily, they had never been into a sanctuary.

    Our church is unheated but the door is latched open with a trusty bungie cord so all may be welcome to enter. After receiving ashes, this nuclear family went into the church for about 10 minutes and came out with such JOY! People, truly this was a mystical and natural unfolding. Who knew!

    At the end of the day, the spiritual life is never about us or about what we can and cannot do. It is about the Universe and its powerful magical workings. Lent is a time to truly embrace God’s mysterious gifting, inviting help as you reside in your holy dust-formed body. This year perhaps you might use the purple candles out of your toolbox as a physical act of intent.

    Beyond what you can see are the spiritual gifts including grace or unmerited goodness. Indeed, all the holy gifts that never fail, such as divine love, holy joy, forgiveness, perfect peace and empowerment by the Spirit. During this Lenten season embrace the gift of light and do your due diligence in letting go of the old and being transformed with a new awareness. Be open to the workings of the Spirit. You will not fail. You have everything you need!

    Gobs of Blessings and Heaps of Happiness,

    Petah

    Rev. Dr. Peter Stickney, Chaplain


  • February 01, 2023 8:00 AM | Admin UCCMA (Administrator)

    FEBRUARY 2023



    Photo by Tate Dame


    Dear Kind and Gentle People,

    As we approach the February full moon, temperatures at “The Mill” will dip to -18 (F) or -27.7 (C) before windchill. Just as being aware of nature and its cycles is a responsibility of living here on Gaia, to be safe we have choices for the care of our soul and to be mindful of the lessons and teachings of Jesus, especially his “Lesson on the Mount.” Here is a refreshing rendition of the Statler Brothers singing “The Teacher” from the 1970s. This song from my youth danced through in head while preparing to follow the lectionary and to preach on it yesterday. Simply click on this link and be delighted at the rewording of the text. 

    Jesus calls us to walk in a freedom that mere words cannot explain. It begins when we are able to enjoy the vast creation that has been bequeathed to us. It begins when we are able to be open to Spirit and stop trying to control everything. It begins when we see the face of Christ in each and every person by pursuing justice and kindness for all our fellow humans. When we do these things, our hearts become refined, free from dross and hardness, purified and radiant with light, empowered to “Live and Make it Count.”

    Gobs of Blessings and Heaps of Happiness,

    Petah

    Rev. Dr. Peter Stickney, Chaplain

  • January 01, 2023 8:00 AM | Admin UCCMA (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 | Admin UCCMA (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 | Admin UCCMA (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 | Admin UCCMA (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 | Admin UCCMA (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 | Admin UCCMA (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 | Admin UCCMA (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

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