The New Northeast

tracking the Spirit in the Episcopal Diocese of Maine

Check out Bishop Steve’s new blog posts

Bishop Steve organizing his stuff at General Convention in Anaheim. That was 19 months ago. The 77th General Convention in Indianapolis is only 16.5 months away.

Bishop Steve is a master at blocking out the buzz of an airport and using the time he waits for flights to blog about his visits around the Diocese and across the Church.  Yesterday he was on his way to Fort Worth, Texas, to attend the Executive Council meeting.  He’s there in his newly appointed role as Vice-Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance.

PB&F, as it’s known, is a core body in the Episcopal Church.  It is the group that develops the three-year or triennial  budget that is presented for approval at each General Convention.  Each of the nine provinces in the Episcopal Church is represented by a bishop (appointed by the Presiding Bishop), and two lay or clergy deputies to General Convention (appointed by the President of the House of Deputies).  So that Bishop Steve is the new vice-chair is a big deal, but he wouldn’t ever say that.

Instead, he’s writing about his most recent visitation to St. Matthew’s in Lisbon and time spent in Iowa last week with a group that shares innovative ministry ideas called Living Stones.

Take a look.

Homelessness in rural Maine is real and Christ Church in Norway is doing something about it

From today’s Lewiston Sun Journal

NORWAY — A group of representatives from charities, churches and towns helping homeless and near-homeless people has a tentative name now and a more focused mission.

The Oxford County Community Resource Coalition aims to direct homeless and nearly homeless people to resources and outreach workers who can help.

The group plans to create a resource manual to direct people in need to the appropriate sources for food and mental health services, among other things.

The coalition began when the Rev. Anne Stanley, rector at Christ Episcopal Church in Norway, noticed an increase in people coming to her church asking for financial help. She said more homeless teens and families have been coming in since the fall, and she wanted to be able to direct those she couldn’t help, those looking for shelter and those who hadn’t asked local town governments for General Assistance.

Read the rest of the story…

Presiding Bishop on Sudanese referendum

“We rejoice with our brothers and sisters in both Southern and Northern Sudan” [February 8, 2011]

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori shared the joy of the Episcopal Church with the people in Sudan on the positive outcome of the country-wide referendum in a statement today.

“We rejoice with our brothers and sisters in both Southern and Northern Sudan as they work for peaceful co-existence,” she said in a statement. Sudanese government officials announced on Monday that over 98% voted in favor of independence for the South. In September, the Presiding Bishop called for a Season of Prayer for Sudan, urging prayer, study, and action for the January 9 referendum.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori’s full statement: The Episcopal Church is deeply grateful for the peaceful outcome of the referendum in Sudan. We rejoice with our brothers and sisters in both Southern and Northern Sudan as they work for peaceful co-existence. Our partnerships with the Episcopal Church of Sudan, which will remain united as one church body, will continue. We pray for peace, and for communities where all may enjoy the abundant life for which all God’s children have been created.

Episcopal News Service: Southern Sudanese celebrate the birth of a new nation Presiding bishop welcomes independence vote

Jefferts Schori appointed to Obama advisory group

The Episcopal Church’s Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori was appointed to the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Read on…

A letter from the Bishop of Egypt

The Anglican Communion News Service has published this letter from the Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis, Bishop of Egypt.

He says in part –

In the midst of the turmoil which Egypt is going through, we have felt that the Lord is very near to us. We have experienced his peace, and we were assured of his protection. In most of our churches and homes, there have been prayer meetings for the situation and for our beloved country Egypt. All our churches are safe, although they have not been guarded by the security since Friday when all the security were withdrawn. This assured us that the one who protects the churches is the Lord of the Church.

I was touched to see young adults, Muslims and Christians, guarding the streets, homes, and our churches. They did not allow any thieves or looters to come near the area. They also arrested some of those and handed them over to the Army. I applaud our local Egyptian clergy and people who joined the youth in the streets in guarding homes and churches.

Read his letter here.

Primates to meet in Dublin this week

At the last Primates' Meeting, held in Alexandria, Egypt, in February 2009, the Most Rev. Francis Park of the Anglican Church of Korea with Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. Photo by Matthew Davies

Matthew Davies has a story at Episcopal News Service about the upcoming meeting of the Anglican Communion Primates (most of them, anyway).

Read it here.

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori will attend.  Today she released the following statement about the Primates meeting:

January 24, 2011

I look forward to greeting many old friends at the Primates Meeting in Dublin, and I look forward to meeting those who have been elected in the past two years.

I am deeply grateful that we may begin to focus on issues that are highly significant in local contexts as well as across the breadth of the Anglican Communion. Certainly issues of serving our brothers and sisters, offering good news for body, mind, and spirit, are the central ones in our province.

The Episcopal Church is urgently focused on rebuilding in Haiti, seeking increased ways to bring good news to the poor in indigenous communities, inner cities, and expanding and depopulating rural areas in all the nations in our province.

Across the globe, in partnership with Anglicans and others, we seek to serve the least of these, bringing light in the midst of darkness, peace in the midst of war and violence, and hope in the face of devastating natural disasters and the growing reality of climate change. We own our domestic responsibility to change our habits and ways of life that contribute to environmental damage and destruction.

In all we do, we seek to recognize the face of God wherever we turn, realizing that the body of God’s creation will only be healed when all members of the body of Christ are working together.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

The PB also was also featured in a brief Q&A with the Houston Chronicle yesterday.  Check it out here.  [h/t Episcopal Cafe]

The Presiding Bishop writes the President

Here’s a link to Episcopal Cafe’s reporting on the letter the Most. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori has sent to President Obama on the Middle East peace process.  [read more…]

At the Diocese of Maine’s annual convention in October 2010, clergy of the diocese and lay delegates from our 65 congregations passed the following resolution presented by the Maine chapter of Episcopal Peace Fellowship on our role as peacemakers in Palestine.

Resolved that the Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine formally recognize that the Holy Land has a unique place in the history of Christianity and the roots of the Christian faith as well as the history and faith of Islam and Judaism; and be it further

Resolved the Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine approve the Episcopal Peace Fellowship-Maine Chapter recommendation that we all


to help ease the conflict between Israel and Palestine in order to move into a peaceful and just solution as soon as possible; and be it further

Resolved that we support efforts to better understand and help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; and be it further

Resolved, that we acknowledge the complexity and emotionally charged atmosphere of debates on the issues inherent in that conflict, and be it further

Resolved that churches in the Diocese of Maine be encouraged to overcome long-standing reluctance to talk about this conflict, recognizing the strong emotions involved on all sides, and to engage in informational programs and open-minded discussions, aimed at increasing understanding on all sides, facilitated, if requested, by members of the Maine Chapter of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship.

Different Means, Same Story

The final edition of Episcopal News Monthly, a print publication of The Episcopal Church launched just one year ago to succeed the 20 year-old publication, Episcopal Life, contains a column by the Rev. Scott Gunn, rector of Christ Church in Lincoln, Rhode Island.

In “Different Means, Same Story” Scott+ writes that the communication tools we have at our disposal for sharing the Gospel story may be radically different from the past, but the message is the same.  He writes

We have to remember why we are doing something before we can decide what to do. Whether we use hand-calligraphied scrolls or Twitter, the church is trying to share the good news of what God has done in Jesus Christ and what God is doing in our own lives today. The question cannot be, “Should we have a Facebook page” or “How long will newsprint survive?” Instead the question is, “How is God calling us to tell the story of how our lives have been changed?” “How is God inviting us to share the good news with a world that desperately needs to hear an encouraging, hope-filled Word?”

[Read the whole piece …]

What my friend Scott+ is writing about is the crux of the conversation Episcopal Communicators across the church have been engaged in for a long time.  When I started as Communications Director at the Diocese of Maine in 1998, virtually every diocese had a monthly or bimonthly tab-sized newspaper.  Ours, The Northeast, published continuously since 1872, is the oldest news journal in the Episcopal Church, and we’ve been proud of that.  Today, very few diocesan newspapers publish even six times a year.  Many have gone to quarterly news magazines, and many – as we are in Maine –  are working hard to determine how we can retain a print presence that is relevant, timely and represents good stewardship of our limited resources.

Scott+ and I served on a panel with other New England communicators in October at the Province 1 Deacons Conference where the theme was ministry storytelling and its vital role in sharing the Good News  as it plays out in the our lives -for  both the teller and the listener.  In the column linked above, he writes that the more and more communication becomes relational through social media like Facebook and blogs like this, the NNE, “The publishing model will give way to the storytelling model.” I think that’s true.

In this newly created space, I invite you to share the stories and pictures of the ministries you and your congregations are engaged in across the Diocese of Maine.  And to make it a true forum – a dynamic interaction of ideas – please please please comment on the postings of others…ask questions, ask how one church’s program can be replicated in yours. Send your news (300-350 words is best) and photos to .

Monthly, beginning in February, we will gather the previous month’s stories into a pdf that congregations can share electronically or reprint for their own newsletters or bulletins.  That’s the plan for 2011, anyway.  Things are changing but our charge remains the same, as this week’s collect so aptly nails it:

Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ and proclaim to all people the Good News of his salvation, that we and the whole world may perceive the glory of his marvelous works; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

–Heidi Shott
Canon for Communications and Social Justice

A Creative Stewardship Idea

A way to raise funds at your church’s next silent auction?

(hat/tip – the Rev. Scott Gunn of Christ Church, Lincoln, RI)


Finance SATURDAYS in February

In yesterday’s Dio Log, an alliterative headline indicated that the Finance workshops in February will be held on Fridays.  Well, that’s wrong, the dates indicated are actually Saturdays.  Please see below.   Sorry for any confusion.

Three workshops for Maine Episcopalians

Do you have questions on how to fill out your parochial reports each year?

Do you wonder how to properly handle priest discretionary funds and designated donations?

Wondering about the new Revolving Loan Program?

Please join Terry Reimer, the Canon for Finance and Stewardship as he presents these topics and others about finances in a church setting.  The topics he will cover are the new Audit Program, Parochial Reports, the new Compensation Handbook, Employee Health Benefits, the Diocesan Payroll Program, the Diocesan Revolving Loan Fund, and Diocesan Insurance Program.  Terry will also provide ample time for questions and answers.  The workshops are open to all who have an interest in church finances.  There is no fee and no need to register.  Please come and learn!

Saturday, February 12 – St. George’s, Sanford – 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Saturday, February 19 – St. John’s, Presque Isle – 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Saturday, February 26 – St. Dunstan’s, Ellsworth – 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.