Many thanks to Ken Pooley for sharing several photos contained in the profile. Photo credit to Hannah McGhee/Twin Villages Foodbank Farm for the photo of St. Philip’s, Wiscasset, volunteers packing fresh veggies for their food pantry.
Good morning from a hazy Austin. Today marks the first official day of General Convention.
Church leaders set tone for General Convention in rousing welcome to bishops, deputies
Gun violence, voting rights, social safety net discussed
Deputies’ president ought to be paid fees for work, committee tells convention
Bishops lament the Church’s role in sexual harassment, exploitation, and abuse
The Marriage Resolutions: A Primer
From other media outlets
Austin American Statesman
Also video from the Austin American Stateman
Love will be the way, says Episcopal Bishop Michael Curry or click the photo at left.
Greetings from the 79th General Convention of The Episcopal Church! As I’m typing out a few thoughts to share with all y’all, the fireworks are popping just over the skyline of downtown Austin. From my big picture window I can see the tops of the neon-colored flashes of light and hear the big bangs. Happily, these are the only fireworks on display during our first full day of prep before the official opening of General Convention tomorrow.
I’m pleased to be an alternate deputy at this convention. I actually sit in the opposite side of the convention hall, separated from our deputation by a low barrier. My role for the next ten days is to support the deputies in their work and step in if they aren’t able to be on the convention floor during the conduct of business. I am also attending committee meetings and hearings and will offer testimony as needed. So, while I was “Alt-Deputy of the Day” today, I wasn’t anywhere near that red lobster hat. Ever the introvert, that was just fine with me!
There’s almost too much to write about and we’re only just getting started. Perhaps the most overwhelming part about being a newbie to General Convention is the sheer volume of work that is being done on multiple levels and in different locales.
Most folks put in 12+ hours a day while conducting the legislative and spiritual work of the Church. I can’t even tell you a linear account of what happened today, as it’s more like a hive of activity and activism. If you haven’t already, be sure to connect with the Diocese of Maine’s daily news brief and the Episcopal News Service for multi-media reporting of our work at General Convention. https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/ Last night I stayed up late to download a mobile app for convention which contains all of the pertinent information we need to do the work and worship of this convention. You can access it too:
Together we are an awesomely energized team from the Diocese of Maine. It’s wonderful to witness the leadership of Bishop Lane, Heidi Shott, and several of our deputies who are well-respected for their advocacy and expertise. We’re all slowly beginning to get a handle on the electronic convention calendar app, which was my humble goal for today.
Part of our orientation this afternoon involved practicing our use of new technology in the daily conduct of business. We each have been issued iPads that are loaded with a Virtual Binder and little electronic voting keypads which only work if you put your little plastic card in it. There are three gigantic screens and multiple video monitors scattered throughout the vast convention hall so that we can see those tiny folks up on the main dais.
But today wasn’t just about the wonky business of learning how to navigate a paperless convention with 1100 convention buddies, the Holy Spirit blew in too. Our day started with moving testimony in committee hearings from people representing all parts of our church.
In the afternoon as Presiding Bishop Michael Curry launched the convention with a stirring address (not a sermon, he insisted), a bird took flight and circled around the House of Deputies. Ok, it was a pigeon, but it sure felt like the Holy Spirit had entered the building.
In the evening hundreds of delegates and friends gathered in our convention worship space to share in a holy listening session with the House of Bishops as the personal narratives of people who have suffered abuse and harassment in the church were read in the spirit of prayer with long spaces of silence and song in-between. Many left the hall in tears.
It’s been said that every three years The Episcopal Church gathers itself together for a big ol’ family reunion. The Episcopal News Service writes that “An estimated 10,000 people are expected to be in Austin at some point this week and next week for General Convention, whether they be bishops, deputies, church employees, volunteers, exhibitors or others interested in participating somehow in the conversations underway. “ That has certainly proven true for me today as I am running into old friends from all parts of my Episcopal life. Laughter and tears are filling my cup to overflowing.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to represent our wonderful diocese at the 79th General Convention of The Episcopal Church. We are family, especially as we challenge ourselves to widen our circle in Christ to include all of God’s People.
Greetings from Austin!
Demographics of the House of DeputiesFrom other media outlets
Is God male? The Episcopal Church debates whether to change the Book of Common Prayer, The Washington Post, July 3
Schedule for daily worship. (Times listed are Central Time)
General Convention: What is it?
Every three years elected representatives from each of the more than 100 domestic and overseas dioceses – bishops, priests/deacons, and lay members – gather together.
This summer in Austin, Texas, from July 5 to 13, members of the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies will meet at the 79th General Convention to do the work of the wider church: determine the policies, priorities, and budget for the next three years. They will also worship, pray, make public witness, and learn from each other as well.
Episcopal Church Women will also meet from July 5 to 11 for their Triennial gathering.
Click here for GC schedules.
Download a slightly abbreviated two-page flyer/bulletin insert of the information included in this email to share with your congregation.
Who will represent the Diocese of Maine?
Other Mainer Episcopalians who will attend include Sherri Dietrich, incoming president of the United Thank Offering Board of Directors; the Rev. Steve Muncie, of Christ Church, Gardiner, who serves as the Legislative Secretary of the House of Bishops; the Rev. Bob and Maurine Tobin of St. Francis, Blue Hill, who will receive an award from Episcopal Peace Fellowship for their work among and on behalf of Palestinians.
Liz Hall, Christ Church, Gardiner, Chair of the deputation
Elizabeth Ring, St. Bartholomew’s, Yarmouth
serving on Ecumenical and Interreligous Relations Committee
Richard Rozene, St. Ann’s, Windham
serving on Congregational and Diocesan Vitality Committee
John Hennessy, St. Luke’s, Portland
serving on Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget, and Finance
First Lay Alternate
Mark Spahr, St. Patrick’s, Brewer
Nina Pooley, St. Bartholomew’s, Yarmouth
serving on Churchwide Leadership Committee
Mary Lee Wile, St. Paul’s, Brunswick
serving on Privilege and Courtesy Committee
Calvin Sanborn, St. George’s, York Harbor
Ben Shambaugh, St. Luke’s, Portland
serving on Prayerbook, Liturgy, and Music Committee
First Clerical Alternate
Maria Hoecker, St. Columba’s, Boothbay Harbor
and, of course, Bishop Steve Lane, a member of the House of Bishops who serves (for the third time!) as the Vice-chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget, and Finance.
What are the big issues? What will the Maine deputation track?
Social Justice –
Care of Creation –
All the resolutions – resolutions may be submitted until July 6 – are presented by topic on the General Convention webpage here.
For real-time legislative updates during GC, visit the Virtual Binder at www.vbinder.net.
Here’s a helpful graphic, presented in several formats, created by the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, showing how a resolution moves through GC. Thanks, ECCT!
For a big picture (with fun illustrations) download this 20-page booklet explaining GC from the Diocese of Texas. Thanks, DioTex!
Ways to participate and stay up-to-date
Sign up for a daily GC update delivered to your email inbox beginning July 4 and ending July 14.
(Please note: Subscribers to The Dio Log will NOT automatically receive the GC update.)
or the direct link to sign up form: www.tinyurl.com/Maineupdate
Each morning you’ll receive a news summary and links to the Maine Deputy of the Day post, Bishop Steve’s daily video update, photo albums, additional news coverage, and more.
Visit our diocesan news blog, The New Northeast,directly at www.newnortheast.me. All the information published in the daily update may be found on the blog.
More social media: Follow the hasthag #gc79 on any social media platform for posts from people across the church.
Twitter: Follow the Diocese of Maine’s @episcopalmaine and Bishop Steve Lane’s @bishop_maine Twitter accounts for updates.
Instagram: Photos and commentary from your Maine deputation on the new diocesan Instagram. Check it out @episcopal_maine
Live-streams: Legislative sessions of the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies, various Ted-Talks, and all worship services will be live-streamed on the GC Media Hub.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Episcopal Diocese of Maine
143 State Street
Portland, Maine 04101
Contacts: The Rev. John Balicki, Chair, Discernment Committee firstname.lastname@example.org
Heidi Shott, Canon for Communication and Advocacy
email@example.com | 207.772.1953 x 126 (office) | 207.592.7353 (cell)
Nominations now accepted for the Tenth Bishop of Maine
[MAINE], May 3, 2018 – The Discernment Committee for the Tenth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine today released the diocesan profile and announced that nominations and applications for the position are now being accepted. Self-nominations are welcome.
The profile, nomination form, and application form may be found online at www.bishopquest.me. All forms and required attachments must be submitted electronically. Nominations will be accepted until Wednesday, May 30, 2018, and applications must be submitted on or before Monday, June 4, 2018.
Visit www.bishopquest.me for news and updates throughout the Episcopal transition process.
The Episcopal Diocese of Maine, established in 1820, is made up of 59 year-round congregations, 18 summer chapels, and many ministries across the state. It is part of The Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion.
Find us online at www.episcopalmaine.org and on Facebook and Twitter @episcopalmaine. Sign up for our bi-weekly email newsletter, The Dio Log. Subscribe to our podcast, Faith in Maine, on iTunes or Google Play Music or listen at www.faithinmaine.org.
Saturday, April 28, 2018
South Parish Congregational Church
9 Church Street
“Jesus is Here. Right Here. Right Now.”
Gather with Bishop Steve Lane and Episcopalians across the diocese for a day of learning, sharing, and growth. A church leader? A clergy person? Someone interested in spiritual growth or community outreach? With 20 workshops to choose from, you’ll find what you’re looking for. There’s no cost for this event which will be held at South Parish Congregational Church in Augusta.
Congregations and diocesan ministries and program groups are welcome to share their stories by hosting a display table. Click here to reserve a table.
Learn more about each workshop offered. Click for workshop descriptions.
Doors Open, Coffee Ready: 8:30 a.m.
Workshop Session I and Dwelling in the Word: 9:30-11:00 a.m.
New Liturgical Expressions – led by Stephen Lane
New Ideas for the Church of the Future – led by Michael Ambler
Christian Formation for Kids – led by Sherry Sivret
Pray Yin: Christian Yoga for Everybody – led by Leslie Lambert
In Their Shoes: – led by Hamet Ly, Catholic Charities Refugee and Immigration Services
Getting to Know Your Congregation and Community – led by Terry Reimer
Plenary with remarks from Bishop Stephen Lane, worship, and music: 11:15 to Noon
Lunch: Noon to 12:30
Workshop Session II: 12:30-1:45 pm
Asset-Based Community Development, Part 1 – led by John Hennessy and Maria Hoecker
Living Local: Joining God – led by Team from St. Patrick’s, Brewer, and Jane Hartwell
Everyday Theology – led by Merle Marie Troeger
The Spirituality of Self-Care – led by Katie Holicky
Loving All Our Neighbors: Committee on Indian Relations – led by John Dieffenbacher-Krall
No-Cost and Low-Cost Ways to Collaborate and Communicate – led by Heidi Shott
Church Finances 101 – led by Terry Reimer
Workshop Session III: 2:00 – 3:15 pm
Asset-Based Community Development, Part 2 – led by John Hennessy and Maria Hoecker
Wisdom for Vestries – led by Michael Ambler
Ministry for Lay People – led by Stephen Lane
Theological Reflection Using Provocative Word – led by Emily Rotch and Emily Jenks
Songs for the World That Is Coming – led by Thew Elliot
Lay Eucharistic Ministry Training – leader TBA
Our Story is God’s Story – led by Nancy Moore
WHEN? Saturday, April 28, 2018.
TIME? Coffee and a snack are available from 8:30 – 9:15. The workshops begin at 9:30 and end at 3:15.
WHERE? South Parish Congregational Church, 9 Church Street in Augusta. (Click to locate it on Google Maps) A full schedule with workshop locations will be available at the registration table just inside the entrance from the parking lot.
PARKING? Please plan extra time so you can park in a municipal lot or on the street. Please don’t take one of the limited spaces in the church parking lot unless walking is difficult for you. South Parish is a four minute walk from the Dickman Street Parking Garage.
WHERE SHOULD I GO WHEN I ARRIVE? The parking lot door will be the easiest to use. Register at the door and allow time for coffee, visiting, and browsing the display tables.
WHAT TO BRING? A bagged lunch. Be prepared to eat in a room without a table.
WHO CAN COME? Everyone is invited, but registration is required so we can plan for you. The workshops were chosen to appeal to clergy, wardens, vestries, staff, teachers, lay leaders and all parishioners in churches around Maine. Space is limited to 170 people.
WHERE DO I REGISTER? Register here. Registration will close if we reach capacity of 170 people. Otherwise, it will close on Tuesday, April 24. Sorry, group registration isn’t available. We need to get a headcount for workshops in order to put them in the right-sized rooms.
I FORGOT WHICH WORKSHOPS I REGISTERED FOR? Look at your confirmation email. Or use your best guess. Or check the list available at registration which will also indicate which workshops have unlimited seating.
HANDOUTS/DISPLAYS? If you would like to highlight your church program or ministry, we invite you to reserve a display table. Reserve your display table here.
GRATITUDE: Thank you to South Parish for their wonderful hospitality!
QUESTIONS? Ask Jane Hartwell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Ash Wednesday, February 14, clergy and lay people in ten Maine communities shared the start of the Lenten season with their neighbors by offering Ashes to Go on street corners, along the road, and in the public square.
Tim Higgins, the rector of St. Ann’s in Windham, was joined by Deacons Wendy Rozene and Cindy Beaulieu in Windham outside the local Amatos and near the post office. He said, “I am filled with gratitude to God for this amazing ministry. There is something about praying with perfect strangers on the sidewalk that is humbling and gratifying all at the same time.
“I had a wonderful conversation with a gal about Ash Wednesday, the Lenten Season, and importance of faith in our lives. I then asked if she wanted to receive ashes and be prayed with and she said, ‘I’m in retail and a smudge mark on my forehead the rest of the day is not a good look, so no thanks.'”
Slightly off the beaten track in Yarmouth, St. Bart’s rector, Nina Pooley, stood with an Ashes to Go sign by the road. She told a different story, “A mom and her middle school son swung in on their way to school. They jumped out of the car and asked for their ashes. It was very intentional and it was that moment when I realized THAT’S why I was there. To do this for them. Our community in is in deep mourning after a recent suicide and if this helps this one family find some healing… it is a holy, holy Lent.”
At Monument Square in Portland, Dean of St. Luke’s Cathedral, Ben Shambaugh, and Larry Weeks, rector of Trinity Church and St. Peter’s, were in the thick of people going about their business on a busy weekday. Shambaugh shared, “I had a young mom with two kids jump out of a car and make a beeline toward me, ‘We really wanted to do this,’ she said. I had a college student say, ‘I am on the way to class. I’m afraid it wouldn’t be taken very well.’ Then she said turned back and said, ‘Let’s go ahead!'”
He added, “People are hungry for a blessing, to know that there is something more, to feel loved. It’s not penitential for them but a sign of hope. And it was very cool to have the huge heart hanging from the library in the backdrop!”
Weeks, who organized the first Ashes to Go in the Diocese of Maine seven years ago, explained to a reporter for a segment on WMTW-8, “We want the Church to be a public entity to offer to everyone, whether they are Christians or not, to come and maybe have a conversation around what it means to have a changing heart.”
Ashes to Go were also offered by clergy from Grace Church, Bath; St. Paul’s, Brunswick; St. James, Old Town; St. Peter’s, Rockland; St. Luke’s, Wilton; and St. Andrew’s, Winthrop.
The Rev. Susan Taylor, vicar of St. Andrew’s in Winthrop, was featured in a story in the Kennebec Journal headlined, “Winthrop priest offers “Ashes 2 Go” downtown as sign of love.”
Across Maine on Ash Wednesday, Episcopal churches marked the start of the Lenten season in, perhaps, more traditional ways. As Maria Hoecker, rector of St. Columba’s in Boothbay Harbor, where services were held indoors, put it, “We offer opportunities for meaningful prayer and worship for two or more gathered together. I truly believe folks who are able are hungering to be invited to enter into our sacred sanctuary spaces now more than ever.”
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:
- There’s a large cohort of clergy who are reaching mandatory retirement (age 72) at about the same time.
- 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.
- 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 email@example.com 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.