Friday, July 20, 2012

Reminiscing about Lubec Maine and Ridge Baptist Church

By this time of summer my routine has calmed me and the cats. I do the exact same thing at the exact same time every day and every week. I like it that way. But because my social sphere is small-to-zero, and because I never add any new experiences to the pantheon of experiences that make me me, I have little to report.

The bible always brings something new, and I comment at The End Time every day. Or twice. Or quadruple times. But here at The Quiet Life, all is, well, quiet.

I bought a John MacArthur study bible and I'm looking forward to start using that. At the same time I bought a neat little book about Lubec Maine. Lubec is the most eastern town in the US and it is my favorite little secret place where I used to vacation in the summer.

It was about 3 and a half hours' drive from where I lived in Gray Maine. The drive was beautiful as the further north and east you go in Maine the fewer vehicles you wrangle with. There is the occasional exception of the old logging truck here and there, but overall, the population density is so low that beyond Bangor, I hardly saw a car at all for an hour on end.

Lubec is at the end of a long peninsula and finishes at the Bay of Fundy. Next stop, Canada. The little town sits atop a high bluff where the 22-foot tides swoosh in and out, where the seals bask and the eagles perch. Where the fog bank rolls in and out in time with the fog horns that toot after it. The town has a little but well-stocked and clean library, a coffee shop, not much else and so much beauty it hurts your eyes.

The place I rented for a ridiculously low price, which also allowed cats, was Globe View Cottage. It was on a small dead end road overlooking Johnson Bay. The views were so dynamic because they changed every hour. The high tides swelling in and out changed the landscape, the fog rolling in and out did the same, and the animals that chased the tides were a joy to look at. There was a small fishing fleet and lobstering fleet that steamed in and out twice a day. It was glorious.


The view from that bay window looks out at this:
A one minute walk brings you to the harbor edge where polished sea glass from centuries of salmon fishermen having thrown old bottles overboard will wash up. They glitter like sapphires and emeralds and diamonds in the soft wet sand.

I traveled down a long and winding road for two miles to get to the cottage. At the end of the road intersecting the main drag there is a gas station and eat-in convenience store, and a small New England white clapboard Baptist church.

One year, in 2004 I think, I decided to attend Sunday Services at the church. In Lubec there is a large Congregational church, a Catholic church, Methodist church and something called Christian Temple. The town was settled, after all, 250 years ago by sea captains and mariners who were Godly and knew well the suddenness of life's end.

I had been saved a few months before but was not yet attending church. I thought that the Baptist church would be good to attend, for some reason, I say now, as the Spirit laughs. Anyway, that was the one He drew me to. It also happened to be across from the street where I come out of Globe View so I couldn't miss it or ignore it.

It is called Ridge Baptist Church and I was plenty nervous when I went in. It is a very small country church, at that time having maybe 30 congregants who were attending that particular day. There were also a lot of kids running up and down the handicapped ramp and being educated in other parts of the building.

I don't know if they get a lot of visitors there, but I was welcomed warmly and the service was absolutely sweet. I had very good feelings about the place and I've never forgotten it.

Now that the economic downturn has occurred and seems to be deepening, and now that I have been a church goer regularly for 6 years, I know well the vagaries of the dropping offering plate and the difficulties of keeping a church family together. I searched recently on Google for "Ridge Baptist Church" and I found two things. One was a lovely photo:

Photo by Tom Genovese, a free Commons photo
The other was a comment by one of the church members on a prayer board in 2011. She said that they were without a pastor at that time, and were in need of revival.

I have often wondered about little town like Lubec, out of the way places that have no industry and no opportunity for industry. The fish smoking and sardine canning industries had collapsed long ago, and now they rely on service industries such as tourism and hotels/B&B. And we all know how those are doing with the majority of Americans opting for staycations these days. Times are hard, no doubt about it.

As for that little church, you never know when a weary and lost traveler like myself may stumble in, and are greeted with the warmth of Jesus and the friendliness of the Holy Spirit. I carry that seed the people there offered me to this very day. We are all persevering in the faith, and we are united by our common love of the Savior. Though this church or that church may seem to have needs that exceed earthly solutions, we're all bound in the body of Christ, and I want to thank the people of Ridge Baptist and the small town of Lubec Maine for their hospitality and rest that has been offered to me so generously through the years.

I can't go back to visit, times being what they are, but I'm glad I found the little book by Ronald Pesha,
"Remembering Lubec (ME): Stories from the Easternmost Point (Amercian Chronicles)." I will re-visit by reading.

And I can look at the photo of a small country church in the snow, and remember the warmth of the people there by faith, and pray for the day when we are all in each other's presence by sight.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

LOVELY article!

JIMS BOOKS, MACHIAS, MAINE has this book (SIGNED if YOU hurry) for sale at the seasonal shoppe on RT 92, Machias, just off RT 1 in MACHIAS!

Tom said...

Hi Elizabeth - I truly enjoyed your post as I was the pastor of Ridge Baptist Church from 1984 till 1990. I went back to pastor the church in July of 2010, but only stayed for 10 months due to personal problems. The picture displayed was taken by me that winter before we left. My wife and I love Downeast and we are still in contact with folk from Lubec. I'm delighted that your visit to the church was a pleasant one. There are some good folk there. Summer there was always a delight as many Sundays, in my earlier years, brought visitors. By the way, the church has a pastor who has been faithful there since shortly after I left. Oh, I should add that I found your blog "reminiscing" of some great days in the beautiful state of Maine. Here is my blog. Please check it out when you have time. http://pastortg.weebly.com/

Elizabeth Prata said...

Hello Pastor Tom,

Thank you SO much for the update. I've been worried on and off for the folks there. I'm thrilled to know that a pastor has been shepherding there for these last few years after you left :) I will certainly check out your blog.

Lubec kind of captures the heart, doesn't it?

Elizabeth Prata said...

PS, Pastor Tom, I moved to northeast Georgia a few years ago, you're in SC now. The south is wonderful too, but the wildness of Maine is something to remember forever