Letters to the Editor
Read what our readers have to say about Maine.
- Photography by: Sara Gray
Where in Maine?
I knew your March mystery harbor immediately: Friendship. It is where I have grown up over the last twenty years, as my Dad (Mark Havener, F/V Sarah Ashley), who is a lobsterman out of the Friendship Co-op (pictured to the right of the photograph). My Dad’s boat, a small gray and red colored wooden boat and one of only a few in the harbor, is pictured at the end of Larry Wallace’s wharf. I have stern(woman)ed with my Dad every summer since I was six and wouldn’t trade the view or experience for anything.
It only took a glimpse at March’s “Where in Maine?” photo for me to recognize it as Friendship Harbor. Understandably so, since I have pulled up to the pictured wharf in my father’s lobsterboat to sell the day’s catch countless times over ten summers of working as his stern-person. Although covered in snow in the photo, the scene immediately brings memories of the end of a summer day: warm sun, seagulls calling, a sore back, and the strong desire to get home and wash the scent of bait off my hands! After growing up in Friendship, I have left to live and experience life elsewhere: Boston, San Francisco, and, most recently, closer to home in Portland. However, between each trip, I always find myself returning for a time to my tiny hometown, where I inevitably (and happily) end up on a lobsterboat and at the harbor.
—Lori Burns Blake
I read with interest your March article on the rise of evangelical churches in Maine. We have always had a tradition of Christian fundamentalism here in Georgia, and the “new” evangelical churches also have a huge following here, especially in suburban Atlanta. I am drawn to neither of these paths, but Maine has played an important role in the deepening of my own spiritual awareness in other ways. Once a year we come to Maine for a week’s vacation. We come for all the reasons everyone else does — stunning landscapes, outstanding food, magnificent waters — but we also come for the express purpose of being able to visit the First Congregational Church in Blue Hill. The pastor, who is also a thoughtful author, inspired us with his calm intelligence, compassion, and humor. The congregation was both serious and friendly, a delightful mix of attitudes in such a beautiful old church. This was a church clearly in the tradition of thoughtful examination, prayer, and down-to-earth conviviality that reflects a powerful New England tradition.
We happened to be on top of Cadillac Mountain a few days after the tragedy on September 11. Suddenly, five college women with gorgeous voices began singing “America the Beautiful,” and everyone else stopped in their tracks. We all turned to face the sea on many sides. Several people joined in but none of us could remember or were too choked up to get much further than the first verse. The sky was a magnificent Maine blue, the sea vast and inviting. Maine’s spirit filled our own spirits and we were different people when we all headed back down the mountain to our own lives. I have no idea what those people “believed,” in as far as their religious interests. It didn’t matter. Maine engenders heart-felt spiritual experiences in many ways across a lively spectrum.
Given the proliferation and growth of evangelical Christianity in Maine, one has to question the validity of the Pew Forum study that “showed only 59 percent of Mainers are absolutely certain God exists.” Adding nominal believers in God to the numbers of evangelicals with faith as intense as those described in your article makes me wonder who exactly it was that the Pew people canvassed?
- Photography by: Sara Gray