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Cape Elizabeth
United Methodist Church
280 Ocean House Road
Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107



Pastor: Ruth Morrison

Sunday Worship
8 a.m. in the small chapel

10 a.m. in the sanctuary
(with child care
and Sunday School)

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Upcoming events 2014

Friday, April 18: Good Friday service at our church, 7 p.m. Worship will center around a performance of Benjamin Britten's Canticle II with piano, tenor voice and French horn.

Saturday, April 19: Easter Egg Hunt at the church, 10 a.m.-noon. All children and friends invited. See Ruth if you can volunteer to help.

Sunday, April 20: Sunrise Easter service on the beach at the end of Two Lights Road: "Breakfast on the Beach."

Sunday, April 20: Easter service in the church sanctuary, 10 a.m. (No 8 a.m. service on Easter).


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Holy Week services

April 16th, 2014, by Ted Haider
An Easter Sunrise service will be held on the beach at the end of Two Lights Road at 5:30 a.m. on April 20.

Good Friday at CEUMC

Good Friday worship will be at the Cape Elizabeth United Methodist Church at 7 p.m. and will focus on the musical performance of Benjamin Britten’s Canticle III.

The 10-minute canticle for piano, tenor voice and French horn includes the poem “Still Falls the Rain” by Edith Sitwell and has allusions to Christ’s Passion and human suffering. The canticle will be performed by Mark Braun on piano, Seth Blank on horn, and the tenor voice of George Eisenhauer.

  • Throughout the day on Good Friday, there will be a labyrinth (prayer path) in the church parking lot for anyone to walk through for a few moments of contemplative reflection and prayer. Grocery bags will be set up to define the path and also will serve as a request for donations of non-perishable food products for Judy’s Pantry.
  • Easter morning Sunrise Service will begin at 5:30 a.m. on the beach at the end of Two Lights Road with the theme “Breakfast on the Beach.” Communion and breakfast will be served.
  • Easter morning service in the Cape Elizabeth UMC’s sanctuary will be at 10 a.m. There will not be an 8 a.m. service on Easter.

Special Sunday School

April 6th, 2014, by Ted Haider


Learning about balance

During Sunday’s services, the Rev. Ruth Morrison made a reference to the word “balance” not appearing in the Bible. During Sunday School, however, the same word became a centerpiece of an exercise led by guest teacher Gary Beckwith.


Gary’s lesson in balance was based on the creation of a mobile, for which precise balance is critical.

Using recycled scraps of cardboard and foam board, Gary’s class was instructed to vote on a general theme — they selected spring — and then create individual pieces of art that would become the elements of the mobile.



Holes were  punched in the corners of each of the art elements and then the lesson in balance took center stage.


From the centers of recycled coat hangers, the class took turns tying on their art elements with small knots and then sliding them along the medal rod until there was a clean balance between all elements. Once the balance was achieved, a small drop of glue was applied to the knot, making permanent the balance of each element.



As it turned out, the lesson in balance wasn’t just about how the art elements hung from the metal rods. At the beginning of the class, Gary showed two photos of students in front of the Packard School in Aroostook County in 1934. One of the students was Gary’s brother. There were younger and older students in the photo and as Gary pointed out, the older ones always helped the younger ones — all a matter of balance. He asked the Sunday School class to do the same.


And they did.


Thank you, Gary!


The mobile is now hanging in Fellowship Hall near Ruth’s office — you have to see it in person to appreciate its movement and balance.


Lenten initiative

April 5th, 2014, by Ted Haider


31,000 meals to end hunger

Four teams of members from our congregation joined with other United Methodist churches  and other community organizations on Saturday to prepare vacuumed-sealed meals as part of a “End Hunger” Lenten project.

The teams gathered throughout the day at the Thornton Heights United Methodist Church in South Portland and worked two-hour shifts, preparing fortified rice and bean meals.


Rosa Larrabee prepares to load rice into one of the food pouches.

Each team worked in a production line of filling plastic pouches with specific amounts of dehydrated vegetables, soy, beans, rice, and a vitamin/seasoning packets, each of which was adjusted to weigh exactly 13.8 ounces. The pouches were then vacuumed-sealed and packed in corrugated boxes to be shipped to food banks, pantries, schools, disaster relief sites and other organizations throughout the country, including some here in Maine, such as Judy’s Pantry.


Money was raised in all of the churches to purchase the food products for Saturday’s packing.  Thornton Heights’ Cori Heatley, who coordinated the event with Allison Doody for the Caco Bay Cluster of UM Churches,  said donations at all churches far exceeded the goal of preparing 10,000 meals. With the final donations, which totaled $7,750, Cori said the new goal was to pack 31,000 meals — and it happened, 31,266 to be exact!

Rev. Kathleen Towns of the Thornton Heights UMC

Cori Heatley of the Thornton Heights UMC

Our church raised $1,800 during two Sunday offerings and during the Ash Wednesday service and 41 church members participated in Saturday’s food-packing at Thornton Heights. There were over 130 volunteers overall.

In addition to the four teams from our church, there were four teams from Thornton Heights, one team from the Peoples UMC, one team from the West Scarborough UMC, one team from Catherine McAuley High School and two teams from local Odd Fellows organizations.

Three teams did their work in the Thornton Heights sanctuary.

Three teams did their work in the Thornton Heights sanctuary.

Saturday’s End Hunger project was done in coordination with Outreach, Inc., in Union, Iowa. Outreach, founded in 2004, has a mission “to provide safe food, water, medical care and education to those in need at home and abroad.”


If you don’t recognize some of the people in these photos it perhaps is because you’ve never seen them in a hair nets.  All volunteers wore hair nets, plastic gloves and in some cases, beard coverings to follow health guidelines for the project — although in some cases, it might have been a fashion statement, too.

Pat Acheson adjust one of the food bags to weight exactly 13.8 ounces.

Pat Acheson adjusting one of the food bags to weigh exactly 13.8 ounces.

The Casco Bay Cluster of UM Churches decided on the rice and bean meal for this Lenten project because it could be distributed internationally through Outreach, Inc. Locally, in addition to Judy’s Pantry at our church, the Scarborough Pantry and the South Portland Food Cupboard will be receiving boxes of vacuum-sealed meals. Each pouch will serve six people when water is added and cooked for 20 minutes.

The bulk of the boxes from Saturday’s event will be picked up by the Good Shepherd Food Bank for shipment to Outreach, Inc. in Iowa.

Ann Daggett and Jaymie Chamberlin had plenty of youthful assistance for their afternoon session of packing.
Ann Daggett and Jaymie Chamberlin had plenty of youthful assistance for their afternoon session of packing.
Eric Higley packs 36 of the food packets into a corrugated box for shipping.

Eric Higley loads one of the 11 boxes his team finished.

More soy is loaded for the packers to fill individual meal bags.

Caden Lamoglia took turns loading vegetables, rice and beans.

Click here for more images of Saturday’s “End Hunger” event: Continue reading »

Volunteer Day at Soup Kitchen

March 29th, 2014, by Ted Haider


Portland mission at work

More than 16 members of our church volunteered at the Preble Street Soup Kitchen on Saturday, helping to prepare and serve lunches to 300-plus men, women and children.

Thank you to everyone who took part in this church mission, one that takes place whenever there is a fifth Saturday in a month.

Our next Volunteer Day at the Soup Kitchen will be Saturday, May 31. We are always looking for more volunteers.






Ash Wednesday

March 6th, 2014, by Ted Haider

Tom Merrill prepares to catch the ashes of a prayer.

Offering our Prayers for Lent

In a poignant moment of the Ash Wednesday service at our church, personal prayers were written on small slips of paper, rolled like a tiny scroll, and then lighted with the flame of an incense stick.

As the scroll burned down, it lifted off the plate on which it had been placed and wafted toward the ceiling of the narthex. When the scroll was reduced to ashes, it floated back down and was caught on the plate of the person who offered the prayer.

Lord, receive our prayers.


The Ash Wednesday service at our church was the first in a series of Lenten gatherings hosted by members of the Casco Bay Cluster of United Methodist churches. Each of the cluster churches will host a service on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. through April 2. The next service will be at the West Scarborough UMC on March 12.

As will all Lenten services, the Ash Wednesday service began with reflective music, a prayer and a light supper of soup, bread and water. Tables in the narthex were set up in the shape of a large cross.


The theme for this year’s Ash Wednesday was “Hunger for God.” Following the shared meal together, participants were asked to have a “holy conversation” with others at their tables based on Matthew 5:6: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”

Other scripture also was offered as inspiration for the conversation, including Luke 6:21 and John 6:33. And to begin, participants were asked to consider the following questions:

  • Describe the most hungry for food you have ever been. What did it feel like?
  • Describe the most hungry for God you have ever been. What did it feel like?
  • When did you feel empty/full of God?
  • How does food fit into your spiritual life, into Lent?
  • How often will you share the bread of life this Lent?
Margaret Braun and Laura Young serve soup at the beginning of the service.

Margaret Braun and Laura Young serve soup at the beginning of the service.

The Rev. Ruth Morrison prepared everyone for Holy Communion by reading Emily Dickinson’s poem, “I Had Been Hungry All the Years.” At each table, participants were then asked to break bread for their own individual communions.

The service ended with a hymn, “Thy Holy Wings, O Savior,” and the offering of ashes, remnants from the burned scrolls of prayers.

The Rev. Jim Young offering ashes.

The Rev. Jim Young offering ashes.

The remaining schedule of Lenten services at Casco Bay UM churches:

  • March 12: West Scarborough UMC, 6 p.m.
  • March 19: Peoples UMC, 6 p.m.
  • March 26: Elm Street UMC, 6 p.m.
  • April 2: Thornton Heights UMC, 6 p.m.
Members of our choir singing during the Ash Wednesday service.

Members of our choir singing during the Ash Wednesday service.

The final portion of the “Hunger for God” theme for this Lenten season will be teams  from each Casco Bay cluster church gathering at Thornton Heights on April 5 to pack 10,000 lunches to be distributed to Food Banks, Food Pantries, Disaster Relief sites, schools and Backpack programs, both locally and nationally.

The distribution of these meals is part of the Outreach, Inc. program in Union, Iowa.


Jazz Sunday

March 2nd, 2014, by Ted Haider


Spirited worship

From “Amazing Grace”  to “When the Saints Go Marching In,” Sunday’s 10 a.m. service mirrored all the traditions of Mardi Gras before we turn our attention to the solemnity of Lent. This was Jazz Sunday, Cape Elizabeth style, at its best.

Maintaining one of the church’s favorite traditions, Stephen Bither and a gathering of his talented musical friends, played Dixieland jazz throughout the service, bringing people to their feet at the end with an extended rendition of “The Saints.”


Stephen’s troupe this year included Peter Lord on soprano saxophone,  Roger Snow on trombone, Peter Dunphy on banjo, Eric Anderson on tuba, and Paul Aranson on drums. Stephen, of course, led from the piano.


Throughout the service, the jazz sextet was joined by the church choir and at times by Faith York and her ukulele and Gail Parker on the organ. There was plenty of improvising, but with any good jazz performance, you just couldn’t tell.


To add to the spirit of the day, Mardi Gras beads were handed out to everyone who entered the sanctuary.


Following the service, a pancake brunch was served, thanks to the hard work — behind the scenes — of Terry Keezer, Steve and Megan Parker, and Chris DeSantis. Thank you, all!


Click here for some more images of Jazz Sunday: Continue reading »

Adult Social Activity Group

February 23rd, 2014, by Ted Haider


Enjoying winter weather

Members of the church’s Adult Social Activity Group spent Saturday afternoon walking around snowy Sebago Lake State Park, building a snowman, talking with an ice fisherman and generally enjoying an beautiful winter afternoon in Maine.

The group had planned to go snow tubing at Seacoast Adventure, but when they arrived, there were no more tickets available for the afternoon session.


Special Sunday School

February 4th, 2014, by Ted Haider


Learning about Listening

Mark Braun brought Piper, his dog, to Sunday School to help teach a lesson on Feb. 2 about listening. For everyone, it was a lesson worth listening to — and learning from.

Mark said he first learned about listening when he was in 11th grade in high school and he, along with two other boys, were sent to the counselor’s office to learn about listening. He said he wasn’t sure why he was sent there, but that what he learned that day helped to shape his life.

During the all-to-short time Mark was able to share his insight with the Sunday School children and a few adults, he talked about listening vs. hearing, paying attention, reflective listening, listening to God and how God listens to us. It was an engaging discussion with many of the children sharing their own perspectives — after attentively listening to what Mark had to say.


Piper took part in the discussion when Mark talked about how to tell when dogs are listening to you and how they react to what you say, largely through body language. Piper was a master of providing examples of  every point Mark was making.

Mark told his listeners that as a doctor, he spends most of his day listening to others and how important that is and can be.

To illustrate his points, Mark read the poem, “How to Listen,” by Joyce Sutphen, the Poet Laureate of Minnesota.

Thank you Mark, for giving us the chance to listen and learn.


“How to Listen”

By Joyce Sutphen

Tilt your head slightly to one side and lift

your eyebrows expectantly. Ask questions.

Delve into the subject at hand or let

things come randomly. Don’t expect answers.

Forget everything you’ve ever done.

Make no comparisons. Simply listen.

Listen with your eyes, as if the story

you are hearing is happening right now.

Listen without blinking, as if a move

might frighten the truth away forever.

Don’t attempt to copy anything down.

Don’t bring a camera or recorder.

This is your chance to listen carefully.

Your whole life might depend on what you hear.


Super Bowl Sandwiches

February 2nd, 2014, by Ted Haider


Fortification for football viewing

The United Methodist Women once again made it easier to select food for Super Bowl Sunday, preparing 37 Italian sandwiches early Sunday morning for members of the congregation who had ordered them in advance.

The Super Bowl sandwiches have been a successful fund-raising event for UMW missions for a number of years.

This year’s sandwiches were prepared by Kathie Hackett, Mary Anne Champeon, Gloria Kierstead and Shirley Maxwell-Royall.

Adult Education Class

January 25th, 2014, by Ted Haider

New series continues

The Rev. Jim Young has begun a new series of Adult Education classes that will continue  through March 2.

The subject of the new series is “Who Wrote The Bible?”

The classes will meet on Sundays at 9 a.m. in the Sunshine Room.

All adults and friends are invited to join and participate in these classes. It is not necessary to have attended all classes in order to participate in any one class.

The classes also are open to the public.

Here is a schedule of the remaining classes in this series:

  • Feb. 9: The Hebrew Scripture, Part One: The Pentatuch, Inspiration, and Authority of the Bible
  • Feb. 16: The Hebrew Scripture, Part Two: The Law, the Prophets, and Holy Writings
  • Feb. 23: The Christian Scripture: The Gospels, The Epistles, The Revelation to John
  • March 2: God’s Plans to Reconcile the Creation to the Creator: Law and Grace, “God was in Christ reconciling the Creation (II Corinthians 5:18)