The New Northeast

tracking the Spirit in the Episcopal Diocese of Maine

Bishops advocate for Jerusalem bishop denied a residency permit

From Episcopal News Service –

Bishop of Jerusalem, the Rt. Rev. Suheil Dawani

Following the March 25 – 30 meeting of the House of Bishops, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and the house have written letters requesting support for Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem Suheil Dawani, who has been denied the customary residency permit allowing him to live in Jerusalem.

Jefferts Schori’s letter is addressed to the Episcopal Church; the letter from the House of Bishops is written to Israel’s ambassadors serving in nations where the Episcopal Church has dioceses or presence.

Read the entire article and both letters.

Bishop Steve reflects on the House of Bishops meeting

Since returning home, I’ve reflected a bit on the bishops’ time together. It seems to me that part of what it made it feel so jam-packed was that what we were discussing – ministry with young adults and conversations with Islam – is so very challenging. Our assumptions about the value of the church are not shared today by many in Western culture. Indeed, many young adults have no experience of or interest in the church at all. And in our increasingly pluralistic communities, Christianity no longer corners the market on meaning or morals. Other religions/philosophies have passionate adherents. Like the early church, we are in the position of having to show the world our good news, to take what we believe on the road, and to risk the encounters of the marketplace. And, frankly, we don’t know how. We have some ideas. There are successful programs in a number of places. But a lot of our congregations are stuck in a manner of life that no longer serves.

Read it all.

Two new blogs in the Diocese of Maine

The episcopalmaine presence on the blogsosphere is growing again!

We welcome two new blogs:

Maine’s Campus Missioner, the Rev. Shirley Bowen has started a new blog about campus ministry in Maine. It is a place for young adults to find “ideas and meaning-making on Maine’s campuses.” Everyone interested in this ministry is welcome to visit and share in the conversation.

Visit it at

At the New England Deacons Conference in October 2010: Linda Cappers, Trinity, Saco; Audrey Delafield, St. Alban's, Cape Elizabeth; Sudie Blanchard, St. George's, York Harbor; and Christine Bennett, S. Mary, Falmouth

Another new presence on the web is an online, interactive version of a newsletter for the community of deacons that has been around in print and by email for many years: The Deacon’s Bench. With 41 deacons active in congregations, they need a place to share their stories and good company.

Visit it at

Other blogs include:

NNE – The New Northeast (where you are right now!). It offers late-breaking news, events, and links about the Diocese of Maine

Round Maine with Bishop Lane – Bishop Steve’s blog about his visits and travels around the diocese and the wider church.

Resourcefully Yours – reflections and resources on Christian education and formation

Justice and Mercy ME – information and links to encourage and empower people of all faith traditions to join in the battle to end domestic poverty here in Maine.

There is one more that will remain a bit dormant for awhile yet, but we wanted to register it to grab an awesome web address. That is Mainers in Indianapolis – the blog about the the Diocese of Maine’s presence at the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church set for July 2012. You can visit at

This week’s Lenten reflection – Innocent of Alaska


Read the text version here.

Religious leaders gather to support new Mainers

Representatives from the several religious communities, including the Episcopal Diocese of Maine,  gathered in Portland for a press conference earlier today to express support for continuing the the Maine Compact, a declaration of five principles by which to guide civil conversation about immigration in Maine.  In February the Maine Compact was issued by a group of Maine business leaders who value the economic importance of new Mainers as employees and residents.

The Rev. Dr. Roy Partridge, priest-in-charge of St. Nicholas in Scarborough and assistant professor of sociology at Bowdoin College, spoke as did Bishop Richard Malone of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, Rabbi Carolyn Braun of Temple Beth El in Portland, and Eric Smith, associate director of the Maine Council of Churches.

Read the Waterville Morning Sentinel article here.

More coverage

Maine religious organizations have a proud history of welcoming immigrants and refugees to the state. Since 1966, Catholic Charities of Maine has worked with immigrant and refugee families as they settle into new homes.  For over ten years, Episcopal Churches in Maine have run St. Elizabeth’s Essentials Pantry, which offers food and household items not covered under state programs.  Over 350 households per week come to the pantry for items like diapers or drinking cups, which cannot be purchased with food stamps. Trinity Episcopal in Lewiston founded and runs the Trinity Jubilee Center, an after-school program for area youth, primarily children of immigrants and refugees. The Center offers tutoring, snacks and after-school programming for over 50 children. Temple Beth El works with Jewish Family Services to provide for the needs of others. Jewish Family Services runs a food pantry for local people in need. They also help new families, immigrant or otherwise, acquire furniture or household items when building a new home. For immigrant and refugee families arriving with no personal belongings, these services provide access to essential household items and support during difficult transitions.

“Our nation and state have always been beacons of liberty and freedom,” said Eric Smith, Associate Director of the Maine Council of Churches. “Maine should be a welcoming place for all of our new neighbors, especially those fleeing war and famine in other countries.”

Kanuga and the House of Bishops

Bishop Steve offered this reflection on his blog  from the Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, North Carolina, where the House of Bishops is meeting.

One of the topics discussed by the bishop was proclaiming the Gospel in the 21st Century.  Bishop Steve has this to say:

“On the matter of ministry of young adults, it’s clear to me that we in Maine are on the right track. But we have a long way to go in turning our conversation into real ministry. One of the major issues is getting us out of our churches into the places where we may encounter young adults who either know little about Christian faith and the church or who are suspicious about what the church believes and does. As long as we wait for folks to come us, we’re likely to wait by ourselves.”

Read the whole post here.

Read Episcopal News Service reports on the Spring House of Bishops meeting at

The Living Church magazine talks with Bishop Steve about grief

Doug LeBlanc, a journalist who writes for The Living Church and many other publications, interviewed Bishop Stephen Lane earlier this year about the loss of our two active priests in late 2010.

“Once you connect with people, their suffering is yours,” [Lane] said. “Life happens, with all its joys and sorrows, and you are definitely in it. The greatest gift that God gives us is the capacity to be with people in their grief. God is present with us, and we find support for one another that we didn’t know we had.”

Click here for the article.

Spirited Gifts workshop canceled

The Spirited Gifts workshop, scheduled at St. Mark’s in Waterville for Saturday, April 2, has been canceled. It will be offered at the Baptismal Ministry Day set for October 1. More to info to come.

Bishop Steve on an American saint: Richard Allen

In Bishop Steve’s third Lenten video reflection, he shares the story of Richard Allen, newly commemorated in Holy Women, Holy Men.


From the Bishop of Kohoku in Nippon Sei Ko Kai

From the Rt. Rev. John Hiromichi Kato of the Diocese of Kohoku in Nippon Sei Ko Kai (NSKK) or the Anglican Episcopal Church in Japan. Bishop Kato was in Bishop Steve’s daily small group at the Lambeth Conference in 2008.

What we are experiencing in our city does not compare to what we have seen in the media, particularly those areas directly impacted by the tsunami. According to the Asahi newspaper, life for the between 400,000 to 500,000 people living in temporary shelters is getting worse. The affected area is very wide and diocesan staff have not been able to visit all areas. What we do know about churches and kindergartens (in the Tohoku diocese, kindergartens are often attached to churches) is:

The Grace Church, Kamaishi and Kindergarten: The building did not suffer damage from the tsunami, but not all church members have been found (this location is right on coast and it was very fortunate that Tsunami did not reach the building) St. John’s Church, Isoyama: It is located very close to sea and it has been reported that one person dead. It is not known about others in the area. We pray that they are all safe in some temporary shelter. (This church has membership of 8 without a resident priest.)

Read more…