The New Northeast

tracking the Spirit in the Episcopal Diocese of Maine

Transitions aplenty across the diocese

by the Rev. Cn. Michael Ambler
Canon to the Ordinary

There are a lot of comings and goings among the clergy of the diocese! And that means a lot of congregations are in transition. Here’s an update about some of the newest developments:

  • Auburn, St. Michael’s: The Rev. Dan Warren has announced that his last Sunday will be January 7, 2018. The congregation will soon begin planning their transition process.
  • Augusta, Emmanuel Lutheran Episcopal: The Rev. Suzanne Colburn has started as interim Priest-in-Charge.
  • Bridgton, St. Peter’s: The Rev. Dan Warren will serve as interim priest-in-charge, beginning in the middle of January. The congregation is currently working on their search materials.
  • Castine, Trinity: The Rev. Emily Blair Stribling has concluded her ministry, and the congregation is reviewing applications from prospective priests-in-charge.
  • Deer Isle, St. Brendan the Navigator: Currently being  served by supply clergy while they discern future plans
  • Gardiner, Christ Church: The Rev. Kerry Mansir has started an internship year under the supervision of the Rev. Steve Muncie.
  • Millinocket, St. Andrew’s: Currently being  served by supply clergy while they discern future plans
  • Mount Desert Island (St. Saviour’s Bar Harbor; St. Andrew and St. John, Southwest Harbor; and Church of Our Father, Hull’s Cove): The three parishes continue to live into their experiment in which certain aspects of ministry (including clergy ministry) are shared among the various congregations. St. Mary and St. Jude Northeast Harbor is a new participant in these conversations.
  • Newcastle, St. Andrew’s: The Rev. John Neiman will soon begin the third year of his three year interim, and the process of searching for the next rector will begin in the new year.
  • Old Town, St. James: Currently reviewing applications.
  • Saco, Trinity: The Rev. David Robinson has announced his retirement effective January 2018; the vestry is currently planning the transition process.
    Skowhegan, All Saints: The Rev. Bill Blaine-Wallace will conclude his service at All Saints as of the end of this month; the Vestry is currently working on transition materials.
  • Wiscasset, St. Philip’s: Currently being  served by supply clergy while they discern future plans

This is the wave of transitions that we’ve been anticipating, and it’s just beginning: there are around a dozen more coming in the next year or so. This wave has come about because of the convergence of at least three factors:

  1. There’s a large cohort of clergy who are reaching mandatory retirement (age 72) at about the same time.
  2. There’s a group of mid-career clergy who have been in their parishes for long enough that it’s timely for them to consider new calls, and they are in demand.
  3. The housing crisis, which froze people in place for a while, is well behind us now and there’s some pent-up movement being set free.

We work hard to offer pastoral care and practical guidance to congregations in the transition process. Please feel free to be in touch with me at or 772-1953 x 123. Also, please visit the transition page on the diocesan website for updated information about congregations and the “Guide to Clergy Transitions”.

In order to continue the same level of support in the future, I have assembled a team of priests consisting of Sara D’Angio White of Kennebunk, Sara Gavit of Calais, Jud Pealer of South Paris, and John Rafter of Camden.

Going forward, it is likely one of the consultants will work alongside me on most transitions. I’m excited about working with them, and what we together will be able to do with the congregations we serve.


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