The New Northeast

tracking the Spirit in the Episcopal Diocese of Maine

Transitions aplenty across the diocese

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:

  1. There’s a large cohort of clergy who are reaching mandatory retirement (age 72) at about the same time.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 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.


Committee rosters announced

November 21, 2017

Dear Ones,

On behalf of the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine, I’m pleased to announce the newly-appointed membership of the Discernment Committee and Transition Committee in our Quest for the Tenth Bishop of Maine. We are deeply grateful for each person who offered their talents for service.

The Standing Committee received double the number of qualified nominations than we had committee slots to fill. This is a terrific sign of a robust and inclusive diocese! It is our hope that these two committee rosters reflect a balance in the diversity of our genders, ethnicity, stages of life, geographic locations, size of our congregations, and our orders of ministry.

Discernment Committee

The Rev. John Balicki, Chair, St. Mark’s, Waterville
Mr. Dale Brooker, St. Ann’s, Windham
Mr. Arthur Carter, St. Anne’s, Calais
The Rev. Andrew D’Angio-White, St. David’s, Kennebunk
Ms Lisa Lindsey, St. Luke’s, Wilton
The Rev. Kerry Mansir, Christ Church, Gardiner
The Rev. Ann McAlhany, St. John’s, Bangor
Ms Kenna Haines, St. Luke’s, Portland
Ms Nancy Mooers, Good Shepherd, Houlton
The Rev. Laura Peckham, St. Martin’s, Palmyra
The Rev. Claudia Smith, St. Francis, Blue Hill
Ms Merle Marie Troeger, St. Mary’s, Falmouth
Mr. Paul Womer, St. Paul’s, Brunswick

Transition Committee

Ms Patricia Buck-Welton, Chair, Sts. Matthew and Barnabas, Hallowell
The Rev. Carolyn Eklund, St. Paul’s, Brunswick
Ms Billie Ellis, Christ Church, Gardiner
Mr. David Fernald, St. Luke’s, Portland
Mr. Fred Fowler, St. Luke’s, Portland
Mr. Philip Hamilton, St. Alban’s, Cape Elizabeth
Ms Lis Ingoldsby, St Brendan’s, Deer Isle
The Rev. Jennifer Reece, Good Shepherd, Rangeley
Ms Linda Roebuck, St. Augustine’s, Dover-Foxcroft
Mr. Mark Spahr, St. Patrick’s, Brewer
The Rev. Susan Taylor, St. Andrew’s, Winthrop
The Rev. Kit Wang, St. George’s, York Harbor
The Rev. Mary Lee Wile, St. Paul’s, Brunswick

We invite the Holy Spirit into our diocesan-wide discernment process and charge the Discernment Committee and Transition Committee to go forth to do the work they’ve been given to do. Together, we commit to creating a process that is transparent, inclusive, and wrapped in prayer. We encourage all members of our diocese to fully engage in this spirited process as it unfolds with God’s grace.

Our chaplain, the Rev. Cn. Nancy Moore, rector of Christ Church, Norway, has composed a collect our use. We invite you to join us in prayer, now and as a part of your weekly worship in the months to come.

God of Grace, we give you thanks for all of the blessings of our common life and ministries as the Episcopal Diocese of Maine, and for our leaders who are guiding us through this season of change. Grant to the Discernment and Transition Committees open hearts, minds, and spirits as they receive the Holy Spirit’s gifts of faith, hope, and love to aid their work. We ask also that you send courage and vision to our next bishop of Maine as she or he discerns your call.
In Christ’s Name, Amen.



The Rev. Maria Hoecker
President, Standing Committee
Rector, St. Columba’s, Boothbay Harbor

Consider offering your gifts in the search for the next Bishop of Maine

Is God calling you to share your gifts and experience in the search for the Tenth Bishop of Maine?

On June 22, 2019, at St. Luke’s Cathedral in Portland, Bishop Steve Lane will pass the crozier to the next Bishop Diocesan of Maine.

Maine Episcopalians must do lots of faithful, prayerful work in the coming months to bring that day to fruition. One of the people to help do that work may be you!

The Standing Committee of the Diocese invites you to consider an invitation to be considered for membership on the two committees that will do much of the work leading to an Episcopal transition.

 Episcopal Transition Q & A 

What are the two committees?
The Discernment Committee will survey the diocese, create a diocesan online profile, receive nominations, screen/interview nominees, and present a slate of qualified bishop candidates to the Standing Committee by November 2018. Most active: December 2017 to November 2018.

The Transition Committee will manage the details of the candidates’ walkabouts, the bishop election, and the ordination/consecration in June 2019. They will also actively support Bishop Lane, the bishop-elect, and their families with their transitions. Most active: November 2018 to June 2019.

Who may be nominated to serve?
Lay members in good standing in a Maine Episcopal congregation and priests and deacons who are canonically-resident in the Diocese of Maine may serve on either committee.

What is the Standing Committee looking for in nominees to serve on the committees
Standing Committee members are looking for people who…

  • know a thing or two about the Episcopal Church in their local community and care about the future of the Episcopal Church in Maine.
  • will attend meetings, both in person and online.
  • represent all of our churches: large and small, rural and urban, formal and casual.
  • feel at ease with electronic communication and have a dependable computer or tablet.
  • do tasks they agree to do on behalf of the group in a timely and dedicated manner.
  • listen to others viewpoints, able to articulate their own, and will work toward consensus.
  • respect boundaries and keep strict confidences.
  • can attend the initial overnight meeting in Portland on Friday (evening) and Saturday, December 1 and 2. This is required.

What is the deadline for nominating someone for the committees?
Friday, November 10, 2017

May I nominate myself?
You bet!

Where may I find the nomination form?
A link to the nomination form may be found on the diocesan home page at or at the direct link:

When will membership on the two committees be announced?
The Standing Committee will announce the membership of the committees on November 20.

What if I am (or the person I will nominate is) only interested in serving on one of the committees?
Don’t worry, there’s a check box for that.

I would like to serve but I am on a limited budget. Will committee members be reimbursed for expenses?
Committee members may request reimbursement for mileage and/or child care for any in-person committee or subcommittee meetings.

Is there a full description of the work the two committees will engage in as well as a timeline for the process?
Indeed there is! The link may be found on the diocesan home page at

Other questions?
Please be in touch with the Rev. Maria Hoecker, President of the Standing Committee, at


Click here for this post as a ready-to-use bulletin insert.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry on Hurricane Harvey

Our brothers and sisters in Texas and Louisiana need our help.”

Jump down to an update from the Diocese of Texas – 5 p.m., August 29

August 29, 2017

Long ago the prophet Malachi taught that we are all children of God by virtue of our creation by the same God. “Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us,” he asked (2:10). Jesus taught the same thing when he told a story about a Good Samaritan. We are indeed all the children of God. And if we are all God’s children, then we are all brothers and sisters.

In our recent days, we have watched and witnessed the devastation in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Our brothers and sisters in Texas and Louisiana need our help.

Episcopal Relief & Development reminds us not to send food, clothing or other items because affected dioceses have limited or no capacity to receive, store or distribute goods. It is more efficient and better for the local economy to make a donation.

Episcopal Relief & Development already has actions in place for assistance.

· To donate to the Hurricane Harvey Response Fund to support impacted dioceses as they meet the needs of their most vulnerable neighbors after this event, check here

· Sign-up on the Ready to Serve database to register as a possible volunteer in the future. Episcopal Relief & Development staff share these lists with dioceses when they are ready to recruit external volunteers.

· Bulletin insert for use this Sunday is available here

· The latest Episcopal Relief & Development program updates are available on Facebook and Twitter @EpiscopalRelief and

As our fellow Episcopalians minister to those in need they need our help not just now or in the short term, but for the long haul. Our support of Episcopal Relief & Development is a tangible, practical, effective and reliable way to do that, keep in your prayers for the people in Texas and Louisiana whose lives have been forever changed by Hurricane Harvey.

Together we are the human family of God and our efforts in times like these truly help bring God’s love and ours to our sisters and brothers in great need.

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church


Additional links:

From the Diocese of Texas

From the Diocese of West Texas (where Harvey made landfall): 

From Episcopal News Service 


Update from the Diocese of Texas by Director of Communication Carol Barnwell:

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Episcopal Diocese of Texas has taken first steps in a robust response to now Tropical Storm Harvey, even as rain and flooding continue to threaten southeast Texas. Spiritual care teams have deployed to the George R. Brown Convention Center, which is housing 9,000 plus evacuees. The Mayor Sylvester Turner said Tuesday that he had requested 10,000 more cots from FEMA and was opening additional emergency centers in the Greater Houston area.

By the weekend, Archdeacon Russ Oechsel, head of the diocesan disaster relief efforts, said he would have dozens of deacons and lay chaplains deployed to the hardest hit neighborhoods to offer comfort and emergency funds to people who were flooded.

At the same time, the Very Rev. Barkley Thompson, dean of Christ Church Cathedral is helping to coordinate the cardinal rectors of Houston’s largest Episcopal churches to respond to the most pressing assessed needs, whether that be space for mission teams, feeding programs and/or funding.

“Our response will come in several ways, and will be long term,” said Bishop Andy Doyle. “We will reach out to our communities through the efforts of Russ, the cardinal rectors and Episcopal Relief and Development, and the diocesan staff will work diligently and urgently to get our affected congregations up and running so that they can serve their immediate communities.”

Episcopal Relief and Development has already provided emergency funds for some of this work and the diocese is accepting donations at Church Pension Group, the Church’s insurance arm, has the capacity to deploy teams to assess the damage to church property and help remediate those issues, said Linda Mitchell, COO of the diocese. She said she had already been in touch with them.
Clergy and heads of congregations will receive online training in best practices for response from Episcopal Relief and Development this week and special liturgical resources will also be provided ( for link). I continue to give thanks for all those around the world who are praying for South Texas and for this Diocese. It is of great comfort to us to know that we are connected to and supported by the larger Body of Christ.

One of the most heartening things to witness during this protracted tragedy is the volunteer response from people who just “want to help.” Robert Jordan, senior warden of Trinity, Baytown was in a boat helping to rescue people when he answered a call from diocesan officials to check on the church. He is one of thousands who put their faith to work in the high water.

“I give thanks for each of you who have offered a warm, dry bed, a hot meal or simply comfort to your neighbors,” said Bishop Doyle. “While it is frustrating to see so much devastation and not be able to fix it, we must first be safe and not create more work for our first responders. Where you have been able to help, it is the reflection of Christ’s love that is shared and it is this love that will bring hope in the darkest moments for many people.”

For now, BE SAFE AND DONATE.  If you are safe, then be a good neighbor and help your neighbors. Give funds to EDOT<> or to Episcopal Relief and Development.<> ERD and diocesan staffs have already begun to help coordinate relief efforts. PRAY for all who are in harm’s way, those who have been displaced and have suffered so much loss, our government officials, volunteers and all of our first responders as well as the media who has worked without rest to bring us this unfolding story. All of these people need our unceasing prayer.

Once the flooding is over, the diocese will coordinate relief efforts as soon as it is safe, working collaboratively with our congregations to make the most impact for both church members and our communities.

“We will face this together. We have a tremendous opportunity to help our communities heal over the coming months and in the long term,” Bishop Doyle said. “This is our call and I am grateful to be with you on this journey, challenging as it is. Thanks be to God.”

River of Life Pilgrimage: praying with your eyes wide open

by Heidi Shott
Canon for Communication and Advocacy

Until two weeks ago, I didn’t own a kayak rack so my kayaking adventures, over the years, have been limited to paddling from my dock on the millpond at the southern end of Damariscotta Lake to Bryant Island – about a four mile round trip. No sweat, literally.

approaching the Cornish-Windsor bridge on Day 21 of the Pilgrimage

Then this spring, the opportunity arose to represent the Diocese of Maine on a three-day segment of the River of Life Pilgrimage, a 40-day, 400-mile paddling journey spanning the length of the Connecticut River, from its headwaters at the Canadian border to its mouth at Long Island Sound.

Sponsored by the seven Episcopal Dioceses of New England, the New England Lutheran Synod, and Kairos Earth, each segment of the journey included a dozen pilgrims paddling 12 or so miles a day then camping on shore or sleeping in local churches at night.

It all sounded like fun until I fell into my default worry mode: Would I have the stamina for paddling that far each day? Could I carry my kayak over the rough terrain of a 200-yard portage? Was I skilled enough to handle the possibly tricky current on a big river? How could I stage a car at the end without hugely inconveniencing my husband? What if we ran into bad weather? What if the pesky bursitis in my left shoulder flared up while underway?

Awash in worry, I forgot the trip was meant to be a pilgrimage – a journey of mind, body, and soul. As a world-class worrier, I’m apt to forget, at any given time, what it is I’m meant to be about.

companions for the journey

My group of 12 pilgrims gathered on a Sunday evening at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in White River Junction, Vermont, for orientation to the next three days of paddling, a supper of sausages and potatoes, and evening prayer. We ranged in age from 11 to early 70s and hailed from many walks of life: teacher and farmer, priest and bishop, as well as roles less easy to define.

At the close of worship, we formed a circle and each shared our prayerful intention for the trip. Mine was to listen carefully for what is next, a fairly predictable intention for a middle-aged empty-nester whose been engaged in the same work and ministry for many years.

Of course, by the time I was driving home to Maine on Wednesday evening, it was clear that God had other news to impart. Pilgrimages are tricky that way.

Each morning from rising through the first hour of paddling we kept, if not quite silence, a withdrawal from nonessential conversation. That silence allowed the bird song and the rhythmic splash of our paddles in the river to fill the gap we so often fill with chitchat. The routine and silence also invited an engagement with our other senses throughout the day. Wind sweeping across the river brushed our arms, and the slightly acrid scent of the silty river mud plastered on our feet and clothes filled our noses. We savored the taste of good, simple food because we were truly hungry from the work of paddling. And on all sides, at each bend in the river, there was something new to see: ducklings trailing behind their adults, the sweep of blue sky over our heads, the play of light on the water, the yellow irises along the bank, the swallows darting low across the water in search of dinner.

the morning after the thunderstorm

How different the river looked from our vantage point on the water. A fellow pilgrim mentioned one evening that she thought she knew what the river was like from driving across a bridge and looking down. “It’s nothing like that,” she said. And she’s right. At kayak level, the river is so much more vibrant and complex and unpredictable. It’s so much more beautiful. Her comment also recalled to me something I knew once but forgot. The ninth-century theologian, John Scotus Eriugena, taught us that we can look to creation just as we look to the Scriptures to receive the living Word of God. Eriugena called Scripture the “little book” and creation the “big book,” which by reading we can divine the grace of God that surrounds us, its type as tall as trees.

Two elements of this pilgrimage were to pray and to paddle, and, at first, they seemed to be mutually exclusive. But since it’s impossible to paddle with our eyes closed, we were required to pray with our eyes wide open. We had to watch for rocks, the ripples that indicate fast water, and the boats of fellow pilgrims. There is no separating the praying and the paddling. For a long time I’ve kept my prayers sequestered from the daily business of living: working, parenting, mentoring, cooking, nagging, gardening, hiking — all the things I do, many of which I worry about constantly – instead of allowing prayer to infuse and, perhaps, defuse my daily routines.

As I drove across New Hampshire toward home, my trusty kayak firmly strapped to the roof, I vowed to live in closer, clear-eyed proximity to the surface of this gorgeous, complicated, fearsome, world. 

approaching Hoyts Landing at the end of the three days

— More news of the River of Life Pilgrimage

Summer Finale Week – a new way to gather at Bishopswood

For the past 50 years, young people from across Maine and beyond have immersed themselves in the natural world at our diocesan camp, Bishopswood. Located in the midcoast town of Hope, Bishopswood is just five miles from downtown Camden.

For all those adults who have had to wave good-bye to children and grandchildren on Sunday afternoon, wishing they could stay at camp themselves, your time has come – finally!

Introducing Summer Finale Week! This new camp for all ages will be offered from August 21 to August 27.  Fred Fowler of St. Luke’s Cathedral in Portland, who serves on the Summer Finale Planning Committee recently visited Bishopswood as part of the planning process. He says, “Camp has never looked so good. I’m looking forward to new sailing and rowing opportunities in the great outdoors while meeting new people and celebrating God in our lives.”

A few years ago, Bishopswood Director Mike Douglass began to invite Maine churches to consider using Bishopswood in the spring and fall for parish retreat weekends. The churches that availed themselves of this opportunity discovered that the chance for people of all ages to come together for fun and fellowship – away from the busyness of the outside world – was good for everyone, kids and adults alike.

Emily Keniston, of St. Ann’s, Windham, who attended one of those parish retreats, is also on the Summer Finale Week Planning Committee. She says, “For me, Summer Finale Week represents the very best that church can be. People from all over, in very different places and stages of life, coming together to share experiences, time and fellowship with one another. We will relax into each other’s company, breathe deeply the fresh air all around, and take the time to really experience the Body of Christ in a way that can be challenging while we’re in the midst of our busy, daily lives at home. Summer Finale Week will be a restful, exciting, inspiring, peaceful, delicious, growing time that we can all choose to experience together.”

In addition to the many activities to be offered,  Bishopswood will provide delicious home-cooked meals made with many ingredients harvested from local farms. Several housing options include cabins or RVs set-ups and tenting sites. A number of L.L. Bean 3 to 4-person tents are available to borrow.

Kerry Mansir of Mustard Seeds at Church at 209 in Augusta, also serves on the planning committee. “I’m looking forward to getting away from the crazy pace of life with three kids to a space where we can slow down and be mindful of the beauty around us, our relationships, and the relationships we will build within the larger Bishopswood community. I am excited about a week of playing outside, worshiping together, and sharing meals,” she says.

For those who can’t commit to the entire week, half-week options – from Monday afternoon (Aug. 21) to Thursday morning (Aug. 24) or from Thursday afternoon (Aug. 24) to Sunday morning (Aug. 27)  – are available.

Embedded into Summer Finale Week will be a discrete Youth Camp modeled after BION,  the diocesan teen camp held for many years.

Douglass says, “This is a perfect time for families, kids, youth, grandparents, anyone to be at Bishopswood and recharge. It’s a time to set electronics to the side and be a part of community that will allow us to grow, recharge, and head back home better than we arrived. Summer Finale is a time to reconnect with ourselves, our environment, and all the good in this world.  Summer Finale is going to be fun.”

Whether you are hoping to relax by the lake, enjoy active recreation, explore spirituality or have fun meeting new people— this Summer Finale Week is for you.

For more information about activities offered, registration fees, housing options, and a link to the registration site, visit . Click here for a brochure that lists all of the activities offer at Summer Finale Week. More questions, contact Mike Douglass at

Register now for Spring Training 2017

Saturday, April 29, 2017
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
27 Pleasant Street
Brunswick, Maine

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 21 workshops to choose from, you’ll find what you’re looking for. The topic offered by each workshop will be framed around the question: How do I be a Christian? There’s no cost for this event, which will be held at St. Paul’s Church and the public library in Brunswick.

Register Now! | Display Registration | Schedule | Download a bulletin insert and flyer | FAQs

Workshops Offered (Click here for full workshop descriptions)

Workshop Session I and Dwelling in the Word: 9:30-11:00 a.m.

  • Optimal Vestry meeting – led by Stephen Lane
  • Beyond (and deeper into) the Hymnal – led by Thew Elliott
  • How to Love Our Neighbor When You Disagree – led by the Rev. Calvin Sanborn
  • All of Us for All of God – led by Merle Marie Troeger
  • Ministry to the Aging and Elderly in our Communities – led by Betty Balderson, Mary Ann Hoy, Rachel Zoller, and Edie Vaughan
  • Stewardship/Annual Pledging – led by Terry Reimer
  • Maine Pilgrims Share Their Palestine Stories – led by members of the pilgrimage

Plenary with remarks from Bishop Stephen Lane, worship, and music: 11:15 to Noon

Workshop Session II: 12:30-1:45 pm

  • Money and Wisdom for Vestries – led by Michael Ambler and Heidi Shott
  • Dinner Church – led by the Rev. Reed Loy and Linden Rayton
  • The Art of Being with the Poor and Homeless – led by the Rev. Chick Carroll
  • Telling the Gospel as if you believe it is GOOD news – led by Klara Tammany
  • Incapacity and Death: How to take care of yourself, your loved ones and your favorite charities – led by Betsey McCandless and Terry Reimer
  • Discernment Tools for Everyday Life – led by Jane Hartwell

Workshop Session III: 2:00 – 3:15 pm

  • Leadership in Contentious Times – led by Stephen Lane
  • Messy Church – led by Kerry Mansir
  • Community Partnerships – led by Susan Murphy, Erik Karas, and Andree Appel
  • Discovering our Roots: Exploring Celtic Spirituality – led by the Rev. Claudia Wyatt Smith
  • The Other Six Days: Prayer and Spiritual Practice – led by Michael Ambler
  • Church Finances – led by Terry Reimer
  • Best Practices for Social Media – led by Heidi Shott

Schedule of the Day

8:30 to 9:15 – Greeting and Coffee

9:30 to 11:00 – Workshop Session I (with Dwelling in the Word)

11:15 to noon – Plenary with remarks from Bishop Lane, worship, and music

12:30 to 1:45 – Workshop Session II (with lunch)

2:00 to 3:15 – Workshop Session III (and clean up)


WHEN? Saturday, April 29, 2017.

TIME? Coffee and a snack are available from 8:30 – 9:15.  The workshops begin at 9:30 and end at 3:15.

WHERE? St. Paul’s Church, 27 Pleasant Street in Brunswick. It’s on the corner of Union Street. Come in the backdoor. Some workshops will also be held at the adjacent Curtis Public Library. A full schedule with workshop locations is available at the registration table just inside the lower level entrance from St. Paul’s parking lot.

PARKING? Please plan extra time so you can park in a municipal lot or on the street.  To reach the public parking in the Fire Station lot, continue on Pleasant Street and turn left onto Abby Lane.  OR Drive beside the church to the public parking lot on Union Street. OR Park along Union Street.  Please don’t take one of the limited spaces in the church parking lot unless walking is difficult for you.

WHERE SHOULD I GO WHEN I ARRIVE?  The parking lot door will be the easiest to use.  Register at the door and come to the Great Hall for coffee and to browse the display tables.

WHAT TO BRING? Your lunch and a nametag.  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 25. 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 on the bulletin board at St. Paul’s. Also, the bulletin board will indicate which workshops have unlimited seating.

ACCESSIBILITY? St. Paul’s Church and the Curtis Public Library both have an elevator.

ABOUT THE BUILDING?  There are four bathrooms on the first floor and two on the second floor.  The building has two sets of stairs and an elevator.  Come to the Registration Table when you arrive and we’ll give you a packet with workshop locations and a map. At the end of the day, we’ll pitch in to move chairs and clean up so the building will be ready for Sunday morning.

HANDOUTS/DISPLAYS?  If you would like to highlight your church program or ministry, we invite you to reserve a display table. Sign up to reserve a display table here.

GRATITUDE:  Thank you to St. Paul’s Church for your wonderful hospitality!

QUESTIONS? Ask Jane Hartwell at

Faith in Action: Maine Advocacy Days, March 27 & 28

Follow #faithinaction

Maine Episcopalians are invited to gather with people of faith from across the state for a first-ever training in Augusta on March 27 and 28. “Faith in Action: Maine Interfaith Advocacy Days,” sponsored by the Maine Council of Churches, Maine Episcopal Network for Justice, and Preble Street Faith Action Network, is designed to bring people together to worship, learn, and advocate effectively with Maine’s elected officials on pressing issues faced by our neighbors and our wider communities.

On Day 1, Monday, March 27, participants will gather at South Parish Congregational Church located at 9 Church Street in Augusta. After worship and prayer, the Rev. Bill Barter, long-time social justice advocate and rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Lewiston, will offer a keynote address, “A Case for Faith-based Advocacy: The Ethics of the Collective ‘We.’”

Barter says, “In faith-based ethics, we focus on the oneness, on the collective “we” of our humanity. The keynote will focus on advocacy as an ethical decision made by all people of faith, reminding us that advocacy is only truly authentic when it comes from a place of honest self-awareness, and a recognition of our oneness with others. Ethically, there is no “them and us” – we are all simply “us”.  And in this recognition, in this identity, we find our way to advocacy and justice.”

Participants will then choose two workshop focused on the following issues: hunger/poverty, homelessness/housing, health care, and climate justice. In each workshop a policy expert and a faith leader with expertise on that issue will guide participants through current bills under consideration by the Maine legislature, a faith-based rationale for advocacy, and strategies for talking to legislators and policy makers.

Workshop presenters are:

Mr. Joby Thoyalil, Policy Analyst, Maine Equal Justice Partners
Ms Jan Bindas-Tenney, Advocacy Director, Preble Street
The Very Rev. Ben Shambaugh, dean of St. Luke’s Cathedral in Portland and Preble Street board member

The Rev. Jim Gertmenian, retired United Church of Christ minister and Preble Street board member
Ms Donna Yellen, Chief Program Officer, Preble Street

Health Care:
The Rev. Suzanne Roberts, MD, St. Luke’s Cathedral in Portland and family physician
Mr. Mitchell Stein, Health Care Consultant and Policy Expert
Ms Ann Woloson, Policy Analyst, Maine Equal Justice Partners

Climate Justice:
Dr. Elizabeth Parsons, past faculty, Boston University School of Theology
Ms Beth Ahearn, Political Director, Maine Conservation Voters
The Rev. Dr. Steve Hastings, United Church of Christ minister serving at Leeds and Hartford Presbyterian Church

After lunch, representatives from Muslim, Jewish, and Christian traditions will offer a panel discussion on the impetus for faith-rooted advocacy in each faith. Rabbi Joshua Chasan; the Rev. Maria Anderson, of St. Ansgar’s Lutheran Church in Portland; and the Rev. Calvin Sanborn of St. George’s Episcopal Church in York Harbor; will offer their perspectives on faith in the public square.

On Tuesday morning, March 28, equipped with information and inspiration, participants will meet in the Cross Cafe of the Cross Office Building (11 Sewall Street) adjacent to the State House before going to speak directly their representatives and senators about pending legislation. Opportunities will also exist, depending on the legislative schedule, for participants to sit in on a legislative session or attend public hearings held by legislative committees.

A registration fee of $20.00 covers morning refreshments, a buffet lunch on Monday, and a lunch voucher at the Cross Cafe on Tuesday.

Registration is now open at

Co-sponsors of Maine Interfaith Advocacy Days include: the Capital Area Multi-faith Association; Winthrop Area Ministerial Association; Faith Linking in Action, Bangor; and Maine Unitarian Universalist State Advocacy Network (MUUSAN).

For more information contact:
John Hennessy at the Maine Episcopal Network for Justice, at or Jane Field of the Maine Council of Churches, at

Click here for an event flyer  or a bulletin insert.

A virtual pilgrimage to Palestine and Israel in five conversations

Last October a group of 20 Maine Episcopalians from a dozen congregations traveled to Israel and Palestine for a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. In addition to the holy sites, they had the opportunity to hear from many people involved in working for peace and dealing with circumstances resulting from the Israeli occupation of Palestine. The visitors from Maine were profoundly moved by the people they met and the conditions they witnessed.

As they considered how to share their experiences with their fellow parishioners, friends, and neighbors back in Maine, they lighted upon the idea to bring the remarkable Palestinian Christians and Muslims they met to Maine…by way of online conversations.

These online conversations – a virtual pilgrimage – with people from different walks of life in Palestine and Israel will allow Mainers and others interested to learn first-hand about the region and the conditions under which our five guests live and work.

Held on five Sunday afternoons in Lent, each conversation will begin at 3 p.m. (Eastern) with a 30 minute presentation and 15 minutes of Q&A.

Participants may ask questions through the chat function of Zoom – the webinar program – or via email to

No advance registration is required to participate. A solid internet connection and computer speakers are the only requirements. Each meeting can accommodate up to 50 viewers who are encouraged to join the meeting (by clicking the Zoom link for that presentation listed below). Please plan to join the meeting ten minutes prior to the start time to work out any technical issues.

Please join us for this remarkable opportunity to hear directly from five fascinating, accomplished Palestinians.


Daily life under occupation
Sunday, March 19, 3 .m. (EDT)
with Walid Abu Alhalaweh, Hebron Rehabilitation Committee

Ten years ago, the Old City of Hebron, an ancient city south of Bethlehem on Palestine’s West Bank, was

Walid giving Mainers a tour of the Old City of Hebron

regarded as the poorest part of town. It suffered from social and economic problems, and environmental pollution. More than a third of its buildings were desolate, abandoned or crumbling. Infrastructure was lacking. Israeli soldiers and settlers harassed the occupants. Closures, curfews and shortages caused residents to leave, bringing commerce almost to a halt.

In the face of this discouragement a Presidential Decree was issued on 12 August 1996, ordering the creation of Hebron Rehabilitation Committee, of which Walid serves as Public Relations Director. This initiative acknowledged Hebron’s religious and cultural status and recognized the determination of the people of Hebron, their institutions – municipal, communal and academic – and the Palestinian leadership, to cherish the cultural heritage of the City and to safeguard it from the encroachment of illegal Israeli settlements.

Learn more from Walid on March 19 at 3 p.m. at 

The Church’s Response to occupation and its call to ministry
Sunday, March 26, 3 p.m. (EDT)
with Father Fadi Diab, rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Ramallah:

Fr. Fadi Diab is the rector of St. Andrew’s in Ramallah on Palestine’s West Bank. In addition to the many parish activities, the congregation works to develop job programs for youth enabling them to stay in the area and to continue to support Christians spiritually and socially. The parish provide leadership and pastoral support for St. Andrew’s School, the Episcopal Vocational and Technical Training Center, and our sister parish in Bir Zeit with a developing elderly housing project. Fr. Diab

will also talk about many of the healthcare ministries in the Diocese of Jerusalem including Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza and the Arab Episcopal Medical Center, adjacent to St. Andrew’s, that offers services to patients with diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Learn more from Fadi on March 26 at 3 p.m. at

Life as a Palestinian Christian in Israel
Sunday, April 2, 3 p.m. (EDT) with Violette Khoury, Director of Sabeel Nazareth

Sabeel is an ecumenical grassroots liberation movement among Palestinian Christians. In Arabic Sabeel means “The Way” and also a “Spring of Water.” Sabeel strives to develop a spirituality based on justice, peace, nonviolence, liberation and reconciliation for the different national and faith communities. Sabeel also works to promote a more accurate international awareness regarding the identity, presence, and witness of Palestinian Christians.

Violette is the Director of Sabeel Nazareth. The Nazareth branch of Sabeel ministers to the Christian population living inside Israel. Their unique circumstance of being Arab, Christian, Palestinian, and citizens of Israel creates an identity problem that involves unemployment and discrimination.

Learn more from Violette on April 2 at 3 p.m. at

Economic realities under occupation, especially for young Palestinians
Sunday, April 9, 3 p.m. (EDT)
with Sam Bahour, Muslim Palestinian-American businessman

Sam is a Palestinian-American based in Al-Bireh/Ramallah, Palestine who relocated with his family to Palestine from the United States in 1995 to assist in the building of the Palestinian telecommunications sector. He was part of the core team that established the Palestine Telecommunications Company (PALTEL). In 1997, Sam established a management consulting firm, Applied Information Management (AIM), which is engaged in business development, executive counsel, strategic management, and investment, with a niche focus on start-ups. In addition, he founded the Palestine Diaspora Investment Company (PDIC) and is co-founder of American for a Vibrant Palestinian Economy.

Learn more from Sam on April 9 at 3 p.m. at  


Ashes to Go in nine communities across Maine

Bishop Lane and Canon Ambler listen to a young man at Monument Square.

On Wednesday, March 1, a group of Episcopal clergy, including Maine Bishop the Rt. Rev. Stephen T. Lane, will take the traditional Ash Wednesday practice of the imposition of ashes from inside of church buildings out to the people on the streets of Portland, Rockland, Bath, Waterville, Windham, Brunswick, Winthrop, Wilton, and Farmington.

Started by Episcopal clergy in Chicago in 2007, Ashes to Go marks its sixth year in Maine communities. First offered on a commuter rail platform, the practice has spread to dozens of cities across the U.S.

The Rev. Barbara Clarke and a helper on Main Street in Farmington

“Not everyone is able to be in their church today. It’s a way of bringing the church’s presence outside a building and offering an opportunity for people to practice their faith as they go about their daily life and work,” said the Rev. Larry Weeks of Trinity Episcopal and St. Peter’s Episcopal Portland. In 2012 Weeks organized the first Ashes to Go in Portland. Each year more than 100 people, including many passers-by have availed themselves of the opportunity to receive ashes and a blessing.

In Portland all who wish the imposition of ashes and a brief blessing are welcome at Monument Square from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bishop Lane will join clergy from several Portland-area congregations to offer Ash Wednesday blessings beginning at 11 a.m.

In Rockland – 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. in front of Rock City Cafe and at other spots along Main Street with the Rev. Lael Sorensen and church leaders of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.

In Windham – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Windham Post Office parking lot on Route 302 by the Rev. Tim Higgins and the Rev. Wendy Rozene of St. Ann’s Episcopal Church

In Wilton – 9: a.m. to 9:30 a.m. near the Wilton Post Office by and in Farmington – Noon to 12:30 p.m. on Main Street near the Post Office by the Rev. Barbara Clarke of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church

In Winthrop – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Winthrop Commerce Center on Main Street by the Rev. Jim Gill of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church

In Brunswick – 10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. at Midcoast Hunger Prevention and from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. in front of the Bowdoin College Chapel by the Rev. Chick Carroll and the Rev. Mary Lee Wile of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

the Rev. Ted Geiser in downtown Bath

In Bath – 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the corner of Front and Center Streets by the Rev. Ted Gaiser of Grace Episcopal Church

In Waterville – 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Colby College’s Pulver Pavilion and from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church’s Evening Sandwich Program at 69 Silver Street with the Rev. John Balicki of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and members of the Waterville-Winslow Interfaith Council.

In the Christian tradition, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, the six weeks leading up to Easter. As a time of self-reflection for believers, Lent is often marked by prayer, penance, and charity.

The Rev. Tim Higgins, rector of St. Ann’s Episcopal Church in Windham, described his experience in past years as “one of the coolest ministries I have ever been involved with.” He added, “A jogger came through and stopped long enough to pray with us, receive his ashes and continue on his jog, while saying, ‘I’ve never done that before, thanks so much!’”

Weeks added, “We found that many people had forgotten that it was Ash Wednesday and welcomed the opportunity to receive ashes and a blessing. It’s high time we venture outside our church walls to offer hope, forgiveness, and healing to people who may still have a spiritual hunger but aren’t so sure about Church.”