ADDRESS: 43 Foreside Road

DENOMINATION/AFFILIATION: Episcopal

HISTORY: The genesis of Saint Mary’s Church offers testimony to God’s ability to redeem tragedy as a source of blessing.

In 1890, Civil War Gen. John Marshall Brown and his wife, Alida Carroll Brown, erected a private chapel on their estate, Thornhurst Farm, where the body of their daughter, who had died in Europe at age 18, could rest.

Originally called the “Chapel of Saint Mary the Blessed Virgin,” the structure was constructed so that sunlight would strike the center of the altar window on March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation, or “Lady Day.”

Using a bequest from his mother’s estate, John Brown saw to the construction of the castellated Norman tower and nave in 1902. The design was inspired by the 13th-century Church of Saint Mary the Virgin in Iffley, England.

Also in 1902, Brown gave the chapel to the Episcopal Diocese of Maine, and in 1927, Saint Mary’s became an incorporated parish.

Situated on more than 3 acres of park-like grounds, Saint Mary’s offers an idyllic setting for a stroll, contemplation or walking the stone labyrinth. Saint Mary’s churchyard and burial gardens afford both traditional burial and the interment of ashes, with one area in the woods maintained in its natural state, a reminder that we are to be stewards of God’s creation.

There is much more to Saint Mary’s than exterior beauty, however. It is a growing parish, active in “inreach,” and proactive in outreach beyond the church’s walls. The Guiding RAY (Religious Adventures for Youth) program engages children from nursery through sixth grade with a variety of workshop and learning modalities. Youth groups for both middle and high school ages are flourishing.

Worship at Saint Mary’s is centered in the Book of Common Prayer, and music is provided under the direction of organist-choirmaster Bruce Fithian.

The commitment to outreach continues to define Saint Mary’s as a parish. The church’s work with the Falmouth Food Pantry, the Preble Street Resource Center, Habitat for Humanity, the Heifer Project International and the St. Elizabeth’s Essentials Pantry in Portland, as well as a long-term partnership with a parish in Haiti, are just a few examples of how Saint Mary’s lives out the Gospel imperative on a parish-wide level.

WORSHIP SERVICES: 8 a.m. Sunday: Holy Eucharist, Rite 1 (traditional and reflective); 10 a.m. Sunday: Holy Eucharist, Rite 2 (choral celebration). Summer hours are 8 and 9:30 a.m. Sundays, June 1 through Sept. 7.

The Holy Eucharist is at 10:30 a.m. Thursday in the Parish House; “Mass on the Grass,” on the labyrinth, is held at 6 p.m. Thursday in the summer and “Eucharist on Ice,” for weekend outdoor-winter-lovers, is at 6 p.m. Thursday during the winter. All are informal services.

FUTURE PLANS: Saint Mary’s is engaged in a feasibility study for a comprehensive capital campaign to further its program needs and to make its buildings and campus more environmentally conscious, energy-efficient and sustainable.

CONTACT: 781-3366; office hours for the parish administrator are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday; e-mail: [email protected]; Web site: www.smary.org