The New Northeast

tracking the Spirit in the Episcopal Diocese of Maine

Family Separation: Op-ed by Bishop Lane, vigils, and more

updated Wednesday, June 21. 7:40 a.m.

“Every so often an issue emerges in public life that compels us, as faith leaders in Maine, to join together. The convergence of World Refugee Day and the current administration’s zero tolerance policy of separating immigrant families — including those who have presented themselves as asylum seekers — at the southern border inspires us to speak with one voice.”

Episcopal Bishop of Maine Stephen Lane and Roman Catholic Bishop of Portland Robert Deeley in an op-ed titled, “Tearing children from their parents at the border goes against Jesus’ teachings” featured in the June 20 edition of the Bangor Daily News.


News reports of family separations at our southern border are causing people to ask, “What can we do?” One Maine Episcopalian – living in part-time exile in Washington, D.C. – has been in touch to make a suggestion. 

Marge Kilkelly, a member of St. Matthew’s and St. Barnabas, Hallowell, proposes that on Thursday, June 21 – the longest day of the year – churches stay open from dawn to dusk to welcome people to prayer for the families affected.

She writes: 

The longest day of the year is Thursday. For families on the border, parents and children, every second, every minute, every hour, every day is the longest of their lives. What can you do to share the longest day of the year and send a message of outrage at the separations and support for the families experiencing their longest day ever? #longestdayvigil

If you would are interested and decide to keep your church open for prayer or host a vigil, please contact Heidi Shott with the details at or send a text to 207.592.7353. 

Churches in Maine open for prayer on June 21 (updates ongoing)

St. Andrew’s, 11 Glidden Street, Newcastle will open our doors tomorrow from dawn to dusk for quiet prayer.  We will have printed resources available to aid people in their prayer.

Grace Church, Bath, will join with other area congregations for prayer on the green (at the Bath Gazebo) at 5 p.m.

St. George’s, 407 York Street, York Harbor – Sanctuary and Chapel are open 24 hours a day for prayer, and tomorrow, Thursday, June 21, from noon to 1:00 pm, we will hold a special vigil with guided prayers and scripture relating to the care and comfort of strangers who are also children and families.

St. Luke’s Cathedral, 143 State Street, Portland – vigil Thursday at noon and will also gather for the Families Belong Together rally at Monument Square on Saturday, June 30, at 3 p.m.

Saints Matthew and Barnabas, 20 Union Street, Hallowell – open Thursday noon to 7 p.m., candle light vigil at 6:30 p.m.

Trinity Church, 150 Perkins Street, Castine – vigil from noon to 3 p.m.

All Saints, 169 Malbon’s Mill Road, Skowhegan – open for prayer 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Christ Church, 2 Dresden Ave., Gardiner –  dawn to dusk

St. Patrick’s, 21 Holyoke Street, Brewer – Noon to 8:30 p.m. with a candlelight vigil at 7:30 p.m.
(Members of St. Pat’s will also visit Senator Susan Collins’ Bangor office at 10 a.m. on Thursday. They invite people to join them at the Federal Building at 202 Harlow, Bangor. Best to leaves bags in the car due to a sensitive metal detector.)

St. Columba’s, 32 Emery Lane, Boothbay Harbor – Open for prayer 24 hours with regularly scheduled guided mediation at 4 p.m.; vigil at the Boothbay Congregational Church at 7:30 p.m.

St. Bartholomew’s, 396 Gilman Road, Yarmouth – 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. with prayer together at 6:30 p.m.
Prayers will be available for you to use during your visit if you so wish. If you are unable to physically be at St. Bart’s this Thursday, let’s hold these families in prayer as we go through the day. Here are copies to use wherever you are or to adapt for your congregation’s use. Prayers -docx Prayers – pdf.

The Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations (OGR) plans to host a #longestdayvigil in the chapel of their building on Capitol Hill that they share with many other denominations’ advocacy offices. They will also host a Virtual Vigil for Family Unity on Facebook from Noon to 1 p.m.

Ways to participate:
1. Tune in on Facebook live on The Episcopal Public Policy Network.
2. Submit prayers via social media to be read at the vigil.
3. Engage on Social Media with #longestdayvigil and  #KeepFamiliesTogether
4. Take action on family separation and asylum action using the action alert from The Episcopal Public Policy Network.

Families Belong Together Rallies in Maine on Saturday, June 30

Augusta  at the State House at 11 a.m.

Portland at Portland City Square at 3 p.m.

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