7 December 2021
Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, 397
This newsletter sent to Churches, Priests and Deacons (active), Diocesan Council, Standing Committee and Chancellor, Wardens, Treasurers, Parish Administrators, Jubilee Center and Camp Leadership, Trustees, Summer Chapel Leadership, and Diocesan Staff
From the Bishop
Dear Friends in Christ,
 
The COVID pandemic continues to surge in Maine. Every day I open the newspaper hoping to see the statistics go in a different direction only to read, with all of you, that we’re breaking records for transmission and hospitalizations. 
 
Earlier this week, the COVID advisory team (Janet Bowne, Brenda Hamilton, Margaret Reimer, Suzanne Roberts, and Steve Towle) met to discuss the current reality and their thoughts for our path forward. I’m grateful for their leadership which personifies care, respect, and prayer for you who pastor our faith communities. 
 
Let me first acknowledge that the pandemic has gone on much longer than many of us thought it would. With the longevity of this pandemic we feel ever-deepening levels of both anxiety and “pandemic fatigue.” It’s difficult but we need to stay the course to keep ourselves and our communities safe. Remember to give each other grace and trust that everybody is doing the best they can with the information and the dynamics of their local context, and what might be true for one community or county may not be true for another. The great storm is not over but be heartened that you’ve developed skills and you have gifts of knowledge and compassion. Hold fast to St. Paul’s words in First Thessalonians: “Be encouraged!”

Second, I’d like to reiterate our three-fold taxonomy: 
1) Love God and your neighbor
2) Comply with all state and federal laws, policies, and recommendations
3) We trust the clergy and lay leaders of each church to make decisions that are best for your context (building size and HVAC systems, membership/attendance demographics, and regional transmission rates), and that you will make loving decisions for the safety and spiritual nurture of your people, and that of your neighbors and wider community.
 
Third, I ask you to continue to think and act creatively. Doing so is both exhausting, and also the key to our forward momentum. For example, three of our congregations have stopped using the term “coffee hour,” replaced it with “fellowship time,” and are not serving any food or drink, but are still creating space for friendship and connection to flourish. Others are supporting small group “pods” of fellowship that have been created in their congregation. 

Finally, remember that we are here to help! The COVID Advisory Team and diocesan office staff are here to come alongside you as we press through these challenging times.  

Faithfully in Christ,
The Right Reverend Thomas J. Brown
Announcements & Updates
Save the Dates!

Vigil of Pentecost
June 4, 2022
Cathedral of St. Luke, 1pm

A celebration of regathering, unity, and reunion! This event will include appreciation for canceled events (especially the Bicentennial Celebration and Presiding Bishop’s visit). This celebration will include worship and fellowship.

203rd Annual Convention
October 22, 2022
Online, start and end times TBD

**Please note the 2022 Convention webpage is live, and provides helpful information about what it means to be a delegate, the dates of pre-convention hearings/Town Halls, and more! This is a great resource to share at your Annual Meeting and with your delegates. Click here for that page.**

A handy recap of the feedback received regarding the 2021 convention can be found here.
Clergy Formation Committee Seeking New Members
 
The Clergy Formation Committee is seeking four new members (presbyters and deacons) to join in their work of offering opportunities to enrich the ongoing formation, education, collegiality, and spirituality of the Diocese of Maine’s clergy community.
 
All members serve for three years. The committee meets on the second Thursday of the month at 12:30 pm for approximately 1 hour (currently via Zoom), with subcommittees meeting at other times when needed. For the four new members, their service would begin at the January 13, 2022 meeting.
 
The committee plans and executes four annual events:
  • A clergy retreat of 1-2 days, to sustain and enrich our prayer life and spirituality.
  • Two (2) clergy days, one in the autumn and one in late spring, to worship, learn, and nourish our collegiality.
  • A third clergy day, often led by the bishop, designed to integrate continuing education and spiritual formation with the ministry and strategic mission of the Diocese of Maine and the Episcopal Church.
 
Would you like to nominate yourself or someone you know (with their permission)? Send an email to Claudia Smith or Suzannah Rohman, the committee co-chairs, by Wednesday, December 8th. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to Claudia and Suzannah!
Upcoming Diocese of Maine Events
Town Hall: “Where is God calling me, in my real life, right now?” : A Question for All of Us!
December 14th at 5pm

Every week we ask God to “send us out to do the work you have given us to do.” 
We’re doing something unique and exciting in Maine that we hope will spread and influence the wider church. With the leadership of the Commission on Ministry, we’re asking what God is up to in each of our lives at this moment in time. We are looking for ways to offer discernment for all of us: laypeople, people seeking holy orders, and even clergy - because discernment is not a “one-and-done” event!

This Town Hall will:
  • Introduce you to this exciting work
  • Invite you to take part in it
  • Update you on the work the Commission on Ministry is doing to shepherd the ordination process

Watch your inbox for a Town Hall invitation on December 11th. You are encouraged to share/forward the invitation to others in your church community - all are welcome!
Upcoming Events
The Micah Paradigm Building a Culture of Justice, Mercy, and Solidarity in Your Church’s Children and Youth Programs
Thu, December 16, 2021
7:00 PM – 8:30 PM EST

The Province 1 Christian Formation Network is hosting a series of online monthly “Conversations with Noted Speakers.” On the third Thursday of each month, participants will have the opportunity to hear from people at the forefront of Christian Formation. The next session is on December 16th and is led by Kelly Demo and Barbara McCall speaking on: The Micah Paradigm Building a Culture of Justice, Mercy, and Solidarity in Your Church’s Children and Youth Programs.

To register, click here.
Resources
Small Churches, Big Impact Podcast

The Small Churches Big Impact Collective (SCBI) launched a new podcast of the same name on December 2.

The Small Churches Big Impact Collective began in July 2020 when its founding members, six Episcopal clergywomen, were awarded a $10,000 grant from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary’s College of Pastoral Leaders. The six priests, each serve small-sized Episcopal congregations (with an average Sunday attendance of 60 or less) in the U.S. in part-time parochial ministry.

They created the podcast to share stories about small parish ministry, to identify and amplify the beauty and grace of small churches, to offer tools and best practices to congregational leaders in similar contexts.

Six additional episodes will be released weekly. The podcast can be found via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Learn more here.
Communications Office Hours

Are you interested in a working session regarding technology, social media, or how to communicate your message?

These are all topics for discussion at CommsChat - aka Communications Office Hours. The discussion each week is guided by the questions of those who attend.

This is a non-mandatory, come-if-you'd-like open discussion session.

This week's CommsChat is on Thursday, December 9th from 11am - 12pm.

Click on the "Register Here" button below if you'd like to attend.
Job Openings
St. Alban's in Cape Elizabeth is seeking a Director of Music who will bring exceptional talent to their newly commissioned Ortloff pipe organ (due Spring ‘22) and will conduct the Chancel Choir at the principal Sunday service and other special services. The Director will also provide regular leadership/administration for the Shore Ringers Handbell Choir, instrumentalists for Sunday morning and evening, and special concerts. Click here for more information.

First Congregational Church and St. Philip’s Episcopal Church are hiring a part-time shared Office Administrator/Bookkeeper to support their work and ministries in Wiscasset. The Office Administrator will be hired by both churches to fulfill the specific duties needed in their separate and shared ministries. The position will begin January 2022 and will require 15-20 hours per week. The successful candidate will be comfortable with Office programs, Word, Excel and Publisher as well as QuickBooks. Click here for a job description. For more information, please contact Rev. Tom Junkert at 218-205-0420 or by email.

Trinity Church, Castine is seeking a part-time Administrator/Bookkeeper. This position requires a good working knowledge of QuickBooks for non-profits and Office programs such as Publisher, Word and Excel. If you have an interest or know of someone who would be interested, please contact Trinity's Treasurer, Kate Noel.

Is your church hiring? Would you like us to share out the job description in the CLL (this email), the Dio Log, and/or the diocesan LinkedIn page? If so, let us know!

As a reminder, churches that are in the search process for a new clergyperson are listed on the diocesan website here.