The New Northeast

tracking the Spirit in the Episcopal Diocese of Maine

Deputy of the Day – Liz Hall

Liz Hall (center), lay deputy from Christ Church, Gardiner, listens to Bishop Steve Lane at a gathering with Maine deputies

Good heavens – where to begin? We started at 8 a.m. with a legislative session, shortly followed by the opening Eucharist.

I now have on my bucket list: selfie with the Presiding Bishop. Wow. My system has not yet adjusted to the hour difference, so I was starving (and wilting) by 11:30. I ran back to my room, slapped together a PB&J, and then headed of for a noon meeting to learn how to facilitate. (I think I’ve got this one.)

From there it was a 1 p.m. luncheon (oops – second lunch) sponsored by the Church Pension Group to learn about church demographics: very interesting. By 2:15 p.m. I was searching for the committee meeting on marriage liturgies, couldn’t find it, and landed in prayerbook revision. I figured God wanted me there, so I sat until my eyes started to droop.

Back to the hotel for a 30 minute nap, back to the Convention Center for a two hour legislative session, practice lining up to represent the Diocese of Maine for the UTO Ingathering Eucharist tomorrow, then back to the hotel briefly so I could get my thoughts together to testify for Safe Church Training at a hotel five blocks away.

Next I hopped two rooms over and testified on the importance of youth events and the triennial EYE event. Now I am safely back in my room, showered, fed (pear cider is the most amazing beverage), and ready to call it a day. Whew!

From General Convention – July 5

Bishop Steve and Gretchen Lane enjoy the chance to have dinner last night with their daughter, Emily Ross. This is Emily’s fifth stint on the General Convention staff.

Good morning from a hazy Austin. Today marks the first official day of General Convention.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry will preach at this opening worship at 9:30 a.m. It’s live-streamed and will be available for on-demand viewing at the Media Hub. (Click on the worship tab for a selection of videos)
Today lots of committee hearings on resolutions, including C037 – Responding to the Opioid Crisis submitted by Province 1, will be held. Several members of your deputation will testify on their experience ministering to those affected by the crisis.
Check out Bishop Steve’s daily video, the Deputy of the Day post from the Rev. Maria Hoecker, first clerical alternate deputy and rector of St. Columba’s, Boothbay Harbor.

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 

Also each day at 4:30 p.m. (Central Time) a short news program called “Inside General Convention” will be broadcast at

The Marriage Resolutions: A Primer

From other media outlets


At a press conference with the Presiding Officers

Also video from the Austin American Stateman

Love will be the way, says Episcopal Bishop Michael Curry or click the photo at left.

 Schedule for daily worship (Times listed are Central Time)
All worship (as well as sessions of the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies) will be live-streams and available for on-demand viewing on the GC Media Hub

Deputy of the Day – the Rev. Maria Hoecker

The Rev. Maria Hoecker, rector of St. Columba’s, Boothbay Harbor, and first clerical alternate, at front right.

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.   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.

From General Convention – July 4

Greetings from Austin!

All members of the Diocese of  Maine deputation and Bishop Steve and Gretchen Lane arrived safe and sound in Austin by Tuesday afternoon.
Deputation members with committee assignments attended the first of many meetings in the evening and then everyone gathered to check in at 8 p.m. to plan for frenetic pace to come.
Pictured clockwise from front left: Maria Hoecker, Gretchen Lane, Elizabeth Ring, Steve Lane, Liz Hall, Nina Ranadive Pooley, Calvin Sanborn, Mark Spahr, Mary Lee Wile, John Hennessy, and Ben Shambaugh.
Look for the first Deputy of the Day column to start tomorrow.
Bishop Steve Lane’s daily video update:

Also each day at 4:30 p.m. (Central Time) a short news program called “Inside General Convention” will be broadcast at
From the House of Deputies News
Demographics of the House of DeputiesFrom other media outlets
Is God male? The Episcopal Church debates whether to change the Book of Common PrayerThe Washington Post, July 3

Schedule for daily worship. (Times listed are Central Time)

All worship will be live-streamed on the GC Media Hub
   Presiding Bishop Michael Currywill preach at the opening Eucharist on Thursday, July 5, at 9:30 a.m. and at the Episcopal Revival (not a typo or an oxymoron) on Saturday, July 7, at 5:30 p.m.

Bishop Steve Lane’s Daily Update – July 2

Follow along at General Convention in Austin

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?
Bishop Steve Lane joins the Maine deputies on the floor of the House of Deputies in Salt Lake City in 2015. (L-R Bishop Lane, Larry the Lobster, Nina Pooley, Calvin Sanborn, Mary Lee Wile, Mark Spahr, Dick Rozene, and Ben Shambaugh.)

At our Diocese of Maine convention in 2016 four lay deputies and four clerical deputies  as well as alternates were elected to represent Maine. In addition to Bishop Steve Lane and the eight deputies, the first alternates in each order will attend. 

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. 
Lay Deputies

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
Clerical Deputies
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? 

Liturgy and Music – 

  • Plan for the Revision of the Book of Common Prayer (Resolution A068)
  • Trial use liturgies (various)
  • Inclusion of a statement in the Baptismal Covenant pledging the care of creation (Resolution C007)
  • Reports from the Marriage Task Force (Resolutions A085and A086)
Social Justice –
  • Responding to the Opioid Crisis (Resolution C037submitted by Province 1, initiated in Maine)
  • Safeguarding Palestinian Children (Resolution C038submitted by Province 1 at the direction of the Diocese of Maine Convention)
  • Immigration: DACA (Resolution C002), sanctuary cities (Resolutions C009 and C018)
Governance –
Care of Creation – 
  • Ocean Health (not yet submitted, endorsed by the Maine deputation)
  • Climate Change Carbon Tax (Resolution C020)
  • Amending the Parochial Report to include energy data (Resolution C039 submitted by Province 1)
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 
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
Since GC in Denver in 2000, Maine deputies have “volunteered” to write a post to share with people back home. Not sure at what point it became a rule that the Deputy of the Day had to wear the lobster hat. Here’s Mary Lee Wile taking her turn at the 78th GC.

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: 
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 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. 
Facebook: Join the Mainers in Austin Facebook group at for real-time updates and photos from, well, Mainers in Austin. Look for lots of cross-posting our our diocesan page as well.
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 
Other news sourcesEpiscopal News Service and House of Deputies News will report on all things GC. 
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

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.

Diocesan profile is up and nominations are open


The Episcopal Diocese of Maine
143 State Street
Portland, Maine  04101

Contacts: The Rev. John Balicki, Chair, Discernment Committee


Heidi Shott, Canon for Communication and Advocacy | 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 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 for news and updates throughout the Episcopal transition process.

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.

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 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


Spring Training 2018 – April 28 in Augusta

Saturday, April 28, 2018
South Parish Congregational Church
9 Church Street
Augusta, Maine

“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.

Register for Spring Training now!

Share the news in your bulletin, newsletter, or notice board! Download the Spring Training flyer and bulletin insert.

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

Ash Wednesday stories from beyond our church doors

The Rev. Suzanne Cole offers Ashes to Go to a young person in downtown Wilton.

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.

Deacons Wendy Rozene and Cindy Beaulieu offer a blessing and ashes in Windham.

“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!'”

Ash Wednesday fell on Valentines Day, for the first time in 73 years, as the heart in the background shows. This photo, by Portland Press Herald photographer Gregory Rec, made the front page of the local section on Wednesday.

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.”