Consent Preferences

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



EPIPHANIES FROM THE MILL HOUSE
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  • February 29, 2024 1:54 PM | Treva Stose (Administrator)

    MARCH 2024



    Dear Kind and Gentle People,

    Oh My Soul! Here at “The Mill” the trees have been tapped, bluebird scouts are out and about, the hens have resumed offering their “Henny Penny’s,” and calves, lambs and kids are arriving. How marvelous to experience the turning of the great wheel with the heralding signs of Spring.

    Two weeks ago, on Ash Wednesday it was frightfully frigid with horrid winds. Amidst prayerful preparation for “Ash and Dash” from the back of my trusty 2005 Scion XB, known as “The Crack 2 Mobile,” the wind accepted the carefully prepared ashes as a personal offering. Yup, “Gone with the Wind.” In the ghastly cold of the morning a huge laugh of glee came from the depths of my being. What a fabulous reminder that our shortcomings can be forgiven in an instant and that the dust we came from returns gloriously back to the earth. Providence was kind with a generous amount of ashes still available for the day. Everything worked out perfectly.

    We are responsible for the care of our soul and there is a plethora of tools in our toolbox to use as we travel our Lenten pilgrim journey. Let me share several tools that have helped my Spirit to be a bit more mindful and open. Use your creativity and please adapt the following for your most benevolent outcome.

    When arising to greet the day and at its completion, my gong is sounded and a silent prayer of thanksgiving offered. Having a set time to read scripture and actively pray in my trusty prayer chair is truly a blessing. Also to simply sit, breathe and listen each day helps one to be “in-tune” so to speak with what seeks to be unveiled. In the middle of the night, it is wonderful to open the window and howl at the moon. I double-dutch dare you to do this as it is simply exhilarating. The practicing gratitude for our vast abundance and blessings before feasting, shopping or traveling is practically a magic formula for success. Obviously, chanting, singing, drumming and creating music are a must!

    As we travel our pilgrim journey for the remaining of our season of Lent, might you be aware of how the Universe is speaking and guiding you. How your soul is being purified and the tasks you are being quietly guided to execute. Perhaps you will experience a literal “Gone with the Wind” moment followed by pure joy. I pray you will!

    Happy Spring and a Blessed Easter!

    As Always,

    Gobs of Blessings and Heaps of Happiness,

    Your Chaplain,

    Petah

    Rev. Dr. Peter Stickney


    Photo Credits:

    Newfield Kids – Spring 2024 Photo by Tayte Dame

    Newfield Community Church – Lent Photo by Peter Stickney


  • February 01, 2024 8:00 AM | Treva Stose (Administrator)

    FEBRUARY 2024


    Dear Kind and Gentle People,

    Oh My Soul! Here at “The Mill” mother nature has gifted us with holy and divine eye candy in the form of wet sticky snow several times in the last week. This is a blessing! When you have wet sticky snow, as opposed to dry power, you are able to make “snow ice cream.” Simply fill a bowl with the cold sticky stuff from the heavens, add sugar and a dash of vanilla, mix well, and Voila! a tried and true Maine concoction that slides down the gullet with great joy! The other blessing of snow is that it is a grand opportunity to arm yourself with your trusty snow shovel and exercise your entire body. Yes, Petah shoveled “The Mill,” the Newfield Community Church and the Newfield Historical Society. His reward, “snow ice cream!” Eye candy turned into frozen delight. Thank you Holy One!

    Our faith journey through the season of Epiphany has presented many opportunities to reflect on Jesus’ mission and ministry. As sacred musicians we have experienced the forgiveness and healing he offers. We have unlimited potential to serve our congregations and greater community not only with sacred sound but with our lifegiving words, heartfelt joy and unconditional love that flows though us.

    As we look toward Transfiguration Sunday, Ash Wednesday and Lent, perhaps you will be extra mindful of the holy and sacred gift of life that is uniquely yours. Hopefully you will embrace and share the light of truth that has been given to you, much like you might enjoy a giant bowl of Maine “snow ice cream.” That’s correct, it is not to be kept to yourself but shared with everyone. May your music ministry bless and refresh the souls of those you serve and may your journey through Lent cleanse and renew your spirit as pure and clean as the new sticky snow.

    As always,

    Gobs of Blessings and Heaps of Happiness,

    Petah

    Rev. Dr. Peter Stickney, Chaplain


  • December 31, 2023 9:38 PM | Joan Pritchard (Administrator)

    JANUARY 2024

    Dear Kind and Gentle People,

    Oh My Soul! Here at “The Mill” the arrival of the Christ Child has been observed with special prayer, singing with dueling grand pianos, good eats and of course a plethora of decorations. The 10-foot evergreen tree cut down at the edge of the pasture with its 700 lights and 200 glass bulbs are a testimony to good solid Maine balsam and Petah’s escapades on his trusty stepladder. It will display its glory until the Epiphany!


    “Beautiful Star of Bethlehem” by Robert Fisher Boyce is a perfect song of the upcoming Epiphany Celebration. Quite frankly, it has been relentless in my inner hearing the past week and awakened me this morning. Obviously, a message to listen up and pay attention to. Please enjoy the simple traditional story and figurative based retelling of the Epiphany. No need to pick the theology of the text apart -- simply enjoy. Here is a YouTube rendition by The Judds. 


    The light shines in the darkness and the darkness can never overpower it. What are the parts of your life that need to be infused with light? What supersonic troubles have you hidden away into the depths of your soul? The light of Christ is available to illuminate every fiber of your being as you invite it into your everyday life. This includes the back part of your closet, the underwear drawer and the recesses of hurt lingering in the sacred hidden places of your high heart. Make room in your everyday life for the light of Christ to lead and guide you.

    We have been given the gift of a New Year. Let us receive it with great joy and carefully lay down the past while we hope for the future with the Bright and Morning Star.  


    As Always,
    Gobs of Blessings and Heaps of Happiness,

    Chaplain Petah
    Rev. Dr. Peter Stickney

    P.S. ***Happy Epiphany***


  • December 01, 2023 8:00 AM | Treva Stose (Administrator)

    DECEMBER 2023

    Dear Kind and Gentle People,

    Oh My Soul! Here at “The Mill” I have finally finished the quince jelly, the “Rolls Royce of Jelly," with a total of 48 jars of that yummy liquid gold concoction. A dollop on just about anything is the perfect remedy for what ails you!

    In Maine, the season of Advent is upon us with frightfully frigid temperatures. Today while sipping my morning medicine, called coffee, I ventured out to behold my lovely water pump encased in ice. Isn’t it wonderful how our creator can recreate anything at all and give it to us as added eye candy! I am so blessed!

    On Sunday, the Newfield Community Church will observe the beginning of Advent with the fabulous hymn by Geonyong Lee, “Come Now, O Prince of Peace.” Naturally I am adding a lulling improvisation with my gong to underscore the haunting melody, and finger cymbals to mark each stanza and create a shimmer of expectation. Here is an arrangement by Jeremy Burbank. My soul finds it quite mesmerizing. Perhaps you will find it as uplifting as this mere mortal did. I hope so!


    Traditionally during Advent we are admonished to stay alert, watch and respond to the invitation to be found and be loved by God. Petah’s out-of-the-box thought would be, “A New Human who is God Incarnate is coming. Stay alert.” This is an urgent call filled with hope! The coming of the Christ of the past, present and future is unfolding. Our Mysterious God, who came among us as a tiny child, is in our hearts and will be with us always.

    Let us be mindful in our actions and observations as we wait for justice, peace and the healing of all nations and peoples. Let us strive to keep awake and walk in unction with the Universe. Finally, might we all pray the sacred mantra “Come Now, O Prince of Peace.”

    May you all “Keep Awake” and experience a Holy Advent as the Christ child guides you. Finally, may the divine mystery of the Christmas Incarnation fill your entire being with hope, peace, love and joy.

    As Always,

    Gobs of Blessings and Heaps of Happiness!

    Petah

    Rev. Dr. Peter Stickney

  • November 01, 2023 12:00 PM | Treva Stose (Administrator)

    NOVEMBER 2023 BONUS POST

    Dear Kind and Gentle People,

    It’s All Saints Day!

    Tonight, I am holding a service of Lament, Comfort and Hope for the ghastly event of the past week in Lewiston. The intent is to lament what cannot be regained and infuse a glimmer of healing, hope and peace into the loss and sadness we have shared. As we bring the cries of our hearts and angst of our beings, might you, my dear colleagues, cover this in prayer. Thank you so much.

    As a note of interest, last summer a friend of mine, who is the minister where my twin brother creates sound, and I took a long road trip to the border of Vermont to seek candles and supplies for worship. I don't know why I said to Sharon, I said to her, "There is going to be a horrible thing happen and I need a symbol of healing peace -- I am going to purchase a giant plain candle." They did NOT have a plain unadorned candle, but went out back and found one. Sharon's mom had passed at age 92 and as I went to pay for my huge 30-inch candle she insisted on paying for it as a tribute to her mother. (HUGE GIFT!) Last night I emailed her a photo of our tiny sanctuary with the candle -- a bit transformed from its usual. She responded---this is perfect! All Saint’s Day would have been her mother’s 93rd birthday. WOW! Spirit moves so mysteriously and perfectly.


    Love to all!

    And as always,

    Gobs of Blessings and Heaps of Happiness,

    Petah

    NOTE FROM UCCMA: Be sure to read Rev. Dr. Peter Stickney's official November Epiphany from the Mill House: ALL SHALL BE WELL 


  • October 31, 2023 12:03 PM | Treva Stose (Administrator)

    NOVEMBER 2023


    Dear Kind and Gentle People,

    Oh My Soul! Here at “The Mill” several sluiceway boards have been pulled to lower the pond water level and avoid any flooding this spring. Petah usually uses the old Stickney family pick ax and after hooking a board just right has grand success.

    In celebration of the Hunters Moon on October 28, we had a large bonfire to burn brush from clearing 20 acres for more pasture land. It was amazing! Naturally I got to howl with gusto and, voila, there was a response of a cacophony of sound from coyotes, terrifying the cattle. If you have never heard howling coyotes, simply imagine high children’s screaming voices bouncing off a mountain. This can be quite unnerving!

    The Grand State of Maine is now healing from the ghastly tragedy in Lewiston, about an hour from “The Mill.” Evidently Petah becomes dewy-eyed much easier these days. “NO! NO LIKE IT!” Thank you for all your phone calls, emails and prayers. Please use your power and continue your intercessory prayer offerings. In an effort to render healing to our community, the Newfield Community Church will hold a service of “Lament, Comfort and Hope” on All Saints Day, November 1. We will sing a lovely chant that I learned by rote with the text, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well,” by Julian of Norwich, interspersed with adaptations of Psalm 13. It would do us all a good turn to set aside some time to reflect on this powerful affirmation. Perhaps use your sacred gift of music to create your own melody to the text and make it a part of your daily devotion. As a welcome change of mood, several minutes ago I received a call from a friend who was going to host our “Friendsgiving” this Saturday at her house. Evidently our dear old friend Pepe Le Pew has left his calling card and her home is uninhabitable at the moment -- could she host at “The Mill”? Naturally the answer is yes. Might we all have friends that feel free to contact us in their hour of distress and we can say YES! How we treat and love our neighbors is how we treat and love God. I hope that you will choose to share that same amazing love with the people in your life.

    In closing, do remember that “ALL SHALL BE WELL.”

    As Always,

    Gobs of Blessings and Heaps of Happiness!

    Your Chaplain,

    Petah

    Rev. Dr. Peter Stickney

    **Sluiceway photo by Petah

    **Heart in Lewiston Maine-Unknown

  • October 01, 2023 8:00 AM | Treva Stose (Administrator)

    OCTOBER 2023

    Photo by Peter Stickney

    Dear Kind and Gentle People,

    Oh My Soul! Last week we celebrated the Fall Equinox and the first day of Autumn. In addition, the harvest moon was brilliant and at 2 a.m. the mill pond’s reflection was as radiant as the day. About 10 p.m., while I was observing the ritual of howling, there echoed a magnificent surprise response with high pitched howls coming back from the southwest. Perhaps the pack of coyotes that have been pestering the cattle? Nonetheless, it was wicked cool! (As we say in Maine.)

    The season of fall brings many tasks! Pastor Phyllis, who will turn 81 shortly, has just stacked 11, yes eleven, cords of wood for the winter! The second cutting of hay is late this year; however, the quality is quite good. The quince bush is loaded and shortly the fruit will be transformed into prize-winning quince jelly. Yes, fall butchering is upon us, which is made much easier this year by a new band saw and a seal and wrap machine! I still use the family cleaver, kept razor sharp after 150 years. Windows are next, all 53 of them, UGH!


    Today, the Newfield Community Church had an outstanding World Communion Sunday and has planned a fabulous Indigenous Peoples Sunday for next week with a land acknowledgment and beautiful music by First Nation musicians. Our opening hymn, “We are Circling,” by Buffy Sainte-Marie is taken from the sampler of Then Let us Sing, a new hymnal from the United Church of Canada that I have had the honor of working on for the last four years. Here is a YouTube clip to further inspire you! FYI, the complete hymnbook will be published for the 2025 centennial of the United Church of Canada, with new pieces added regularly in a digital form.

    Worldwide Communion Sunday and Indigenous Peoples Sunday bequeath a golden opportunity to examine our community of faith and indeed the care of our soul.

    Are the structures and strictures of the past keeping us captive?

    How may we transform our positions of power and privilege?

    What parts of our common life together need to be reevaluated?

    Ask these questions from a place of discernment, joy and faithfulness and without anxiety, fear and shame. Let us be summoned to new depths of faith, to a new place of divine discovery, and a fresh relationship with the Universe.

    As we circle together may your heart song be strong and may the sacred unity of the Divine be with you. Do sing!

    “We are circling, circling together.”

    As Always,

    Gobs of Blessings and Heaps of Happiness.

    Your Chaplain,

    Petah

    Rev. Dr. Peter Stickney

  • September 01, 2023 7:00 AM | Admin UCCMA (Administrator)

    SEPTEMBER 2023

    Sun Flowers at “The Mill,” photo by Patrick McCarthy


    Dear Kind and Gentle People,

    Oh My Soul! Its 48 degrees on this blue “supermoon” first day of September and nature is reminding us of her ebb and flow of seasons. (And yes, I howled!) Here in Newfield, we are gearing up for a very late second cutting of hay, the sunflowers are glorious, and the blackberries are well worth enduring the attack of thorns when picking, especially when a pie is in mind!

    This week the Newfield Community Church will be joining with many other churches in six weeks of celebrating “Creation Time in the Season of Pentecost.” New paraments of burnt orange with red in a rich tapestry have been crafted for our tiny sanctuary. In addition, we will have a smidgen of creation-oriented music augmenting the music that compliments the lectionary lessons. For example, this first week our gathering music will be “Circle of Life” from The Lion King and our opening song of praise, “Many and Great,” also known as “Dakota Hymn” will be rendered with the blessings of Grandmother Drum and vibrations of a resonant rattle created with native Maine clay.

    We musicians are so very blessed to share in the creative and holy gift of sound. I might inquire how you are embracing and creating the music of the spheres that God is anointing you with. In the rhythm of life and change of nature and season we have great opportunities to create new and fresh music that leads others into deeper relationship during worship. I trust that you are able to avail yourself of the plethora of resources that are obtainable from your chair of comfort and laptop!


    Recording of Dakota Hymn by Steve Bell

    The mystery of creation is everywhere, and naturally here at “The Mill” one simply gazes onto the everchanging mill pond to be lost in wonder of our Creator’s vast gifts to us. The Holy One truly blesses us by the gift of nature’s ebb and flow. The genius of creation is revealed in each season and we have a choice to be observant or not. May you open yourself fully to the blessings of the Universe and see with new perspective, listen with holy discernment, and align yourself with the affirming action of sacred sound and sacred silence.

    Many and Great are you, O God!


    Petah cutting with the Yanmar, photo by Nee Nee Carpenter


    As Always,

    Gobs of Blessings
    and
    Heaps of Happiness,

    Your Chaplain,
    Petah

    Rev. Dr. Peter Stickney


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

    JULY 2023

    Dear Kind and Gentle People,

    Here at “The Mill” the peonies are popping into full bloom and they have been plopped into Gram’s vases; she would have been 129 yesterday. Rhubarb pies have been baked and the abundance shared with neighbors. Each day, we move the cows (28 girls and 5 calves) to a large pasture across the road from the barn. Yesterday the “lead" cow was awesome as a thunder shower was coming, leading the herd to the barn. However, this morning she had quite an attitude and was not being cooperative (understatement); lucky for me I managed to get her calf going forward and she followed!

    The Newfield Community Church had its first Pride service this week to affirm our LGBQT+ family. Personally, I was humbled that my Atheist, Agnostic, Wiccan and Shamanic practitioner friends attended. Six clergy cronies came to participate in dispensing candles and offering their life force in prayer.

    Let’s face it, gay pride means opposing shame! It’s embracing that the truth will set you free. Gay pride is a way for LGBTQ+ people to overcome the shame they’ve had dumped on their heads from an early age. Sadly, much of that dumping has been done in the name of Jesus, turning many away from the church who now see it as irrelevant. Many have become indifferent. This is sad!

    You may remember Princess Leia’s parting words, “You have everything you need.” Petah says it’s true: Just ask! Simply cast your bread upon the water and don’t expect to get moldy bread back. Rainbow stoles arrived as gifts from people across the country who saw our event on Facebook. Gorgeous art was given for our posters and bulletins, once again from people I have never met, but who saw this on the internet. Sometimes we all need to be reminded that the God we serve wants nothing from us other than to receive and walk in the abundance of pure love while reflecting the gift of peace that is freely offered. Everything is supplied according to our need.

    As you all know, the power of music can work healing magic and transformation to the core of our being. I believe a miracle of transformation happened to many during our Pride service. Dr. Amanda Udis-Kessler’s “Queerly Beloved” was our opening song and I am so grateful that she had the music engraved for the Newfield Community Church. Look this up with lots of other compositions at queersacredmusic.com. I am still experiencing audiation of both the sound and text. Yippee! Hope it continues.


    Mark Miller’s “Christ has broken down the wall” is a wonderful example of inclusive love and what the message of Christ is. There was weeping as the music and text washed over our congregation. Here is a version for you to enjoy. This version uses “Love has broken down the wall” rather than “Christ has broken down the wall.”

    As a point of reference, I attended my first gay parade in Bangor, Maine in 1985 -- one year after the murder of Charlie Howard who was beaten up on the State Street Bridge and hurled into the Kenduskeag Stream despite his pleas that he could not swim. I was terrified, but two older militant lesbians put me between them and their two German Shepherds. I managed to dodge flying objects. It’s hard to put into words how empowering it was seeing others marching and other “out” people out on the street. I would describe this as a spiritual experience and a wakeup call! A photo of the march made the front page of the local gay newspaper and my position at the local YMCA camp was threatened by a “do-gooder.” I am grateful that my boss at the time stood up for me and protected me from knowing about this situation until later on. He was a wonderful Christian man. We as Christians need to stand up like my boss Ted did for me! (In essence, he was a Lead Cow.) I pray that we will be faithful in the face of hatred, if and when needed.

    As we approach Independence Day, let us be mindful with our actions and prayers for the LGBTQ+ people in Chechnya, Uganda, Zambia, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, etc., and especially our trans and gender diverse people in the United States and Canada. Let us not take for granted the basic rights to worship as we wish. I urge you to be vigilant with the tools in your toolbox, especially the powerful tool of prayer.

    Perhaps you can be a leader in following Jesus by radiating unconditional love and acceptance for all of our brothers and sisters. Petah says, “Be a Lead Cow ahead of a thunder shower.” In other words, lead others to a cozy place that includes safety, liberation from shame and plenty of blessings for everyone.

    Finally, remember that Christ has broken down the wall and you truly do have everything you need!

    As Always,

    Gobs of Blessings and Heaps of Happiness!

    Your Chaplain,

    Petah

    Rev. Dr. Peter Stickney


    Double Rainbow over the Mill June 2023 — photo by Tate Dame

  • June 02, 2023 10:06 AM | Joan Pritchard (Administrator)

    JUNE 2023

    Dear Kind and Gentle People,

    Happy Season of Pentecost! Here at “The Mill” all nature is singing praises to our Creator. The birds awaken me about 4:45 a.m. with a symphony of praise. Last evening the approaching strawberry moon was as brilliant as the noon day sun. Petah will be howling out the second-floor window and letting the sound resonate over the “Mill Pond” when it is full on Saturday evening. The creative energy of nature and the mysterious power of the Divine is revealed to us in so many ways. Take the photo of this lovely yellow iris by my harp sculpture and kettle of yellow violas.  


    A while ago a dear friend of mine, Catherine, phoned me to ask if she could come and die at my house. My response was that she could certainly come to my house; however, the Creator I serve was a God of Healing and Light. Six months later she left after receiving much prayer and healing. She gave me six of her prized yellow iris bulbs -- I call them Catherine. I was with Catherine, years later, when she made her transition, but it was not related to her previous death sentence. I mention this because each year I am able to give away oodles of prized iris bulbs.

    The Universe diligently reminds us to receive her abundant plethora of gifts with thanksgiving. Today’s litany includes the gift of a friend, a beautiful flower, sounds of feathered friends and, of course, sunlight and moonlight to bask in. People, do be mindful of these simple and majestic gifts that complement the gifts of the Holy Spirit (prophecy, healing, miracles, faith, knowledge, wisdom, tongues, interpretation of tongues) that the lectionary presented to us last week.

    The Newfield Community Church celebrated Pentecost with a musical call to worship, “Veni Sancte Spiritus,” from Jacques Berthier’s Taizé June 2023 literature. (Do click on the YouTube link.)

    Our tiny congregation came together, uniting to create beautiful sound with the pitch center maintained by old Grandfather Timpani. Mere words cannot express what unfolded as the congregation fully embraced this gift of music with open hearts and fullness of being. Indeed, we were all transformed **** and knew it!!!

    I agree with Deon Johnson who wrote that, “Come Holy Spirit is a dangerous prayer because it means that we must be open and vulnerable, willing to be challenged and changed so that we can seek and find Jesus in the ones we serve. Come Holy Spirit means that we must become open to the transforming power of God in our lives. It means that we will find ourselves standing with those on the margins, on the edges, on the outs.”

    Are you willing to embrace this dangerous prayer? Are you willing to be transformed beyond your wildest imagination? What would a new/fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit look like in your life and how dangerous would it be to your current way of being in the world? Might your life be transformed like Catherine?

    There is no disputing the truth that my friend Catherine was transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit during her journey here on Mother Earth. Each year, her Yellow Irises give me a fresh reminder of such power and possibility! The tiny Newfield Community Church was transformed while being immersed in the Sacred Sound of the human voice and a hybrid language of Latin and English and of course Grandfather Timpani keeping the tonal center.

    As we prepare to celebrate Trinity Sunday or Unity Sunday and embrace the season of Pentecost, may we be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit and the limitless possibilities that are bequeathed upon us. Let us live the awesome results of the dangerous prayer, “Come Holy Spirit.”


    As Always,

    Gobs of Blessings and Heaps of Happiness.

    Petah

    Rev. Dr. Peter Stickney

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