Sent to the leadership of the Diocese of Maine
27 March 2020
Friday in the 4th Week of Lent
We are all called to support, respond, and minister to the needs of our congregations and communities.
The coming days and weeks will also demand vigilant care for nourishing ourselves so we can welcome each day with hope and faith. Now is a moment to trust God to give us large measures of gentleness and kindness, for surely they will lead us to a promised land.
As we are called on to support, respond and minister to the growing spiritual, practical
and emotional needs of our congregations over the coming days and weeks ahead, so
too are we called on to take the precious time and steps necessary to nurture and
minister to ourselves, nourishing and replenishing our own spiritual souls and beings, in
order to feed and sustain us so to greet and welcome each new day with hope and faith.
Above all, let us keep trusting God to give us large measures of gentleness and
kindness…those will lead us to a promised land.
Care and Nurture - It's a Marathon
Please take care of yourselves and be mindful of your own capacity for energy –
carefully monitor your own physical and emotional well-being: Lura Steele of Episcopal
Relief and Development likens the virus response to a marathon, with the initial boost of energy and adrenaline diminishing over time.
I'd like to share a few of my own daily routines and thoughts:
· Limit daily intake of news
· Listen to relaxing music such as offered on Maine Public Radio/NPR
· Limit time spent on Facebook and social media
· Seek out those channels of communication which provide humor and inspiration
· Call friends, and host gatherings and check-ins via Zoom
· Discuss anything other than the virus
· Exercise each day: take a walk around the block or in the park
· Be sure to get plenty of rest: a good excuse for an afternoon nap!
· Enjoy meal planning and eating better
In short, if we don’t take care of ourselves, how can we expect to take good care of
each other? Please make stewardship of your mind, body, and soul your top priority
right now: we are not called be perfect – no need to work every hour God sends! I am
standing by if you find you need a loving reminder.
What follows is the most up-to-date compilation of resources we have:
Share Resources – A New Opportunity for Virtual Collaborations
With circumstances shifting so very unpredictably and day to day, the diocese is
committed to sharing information and giving your resources. In addition to our website, a special Facebook group, Episcopal Maine Clergy Creativity Collaborative (EMC3), has been created to share what is working for you and to create additional networks to support and maintain a connection with each other. Please follow this
to join the EMC3 group on Facebook.
Worship - is still happening!
At some basic level, everything we are doing right now is worship. We cry out in lament,
we intercede with others for healing, we give thanks for the new ways we’re learning
and responding, and we join our hearts with the prayers of the world. There is also a
need to worship liturgically, with others and with our families.
Those of us who are ordained and are called to preach, to assist with and administer
the sacraments are feeling in this moment a tremendous sense of loss. Ministry is what
we are called to do, and it’s what our parishioners expect us to do. Despite the fact we
cannot offer our gifts and vocations in quite the same way, I suggest perhaps the best
use of our time right now might be in organizing much needed pastoral care networks
via phone trees and informing members how to use online resources and technology
(such as Zoom) to keep informed and connected.
As difficult a decision as this might be, I suggest we release ourselves from the
pressure of feeling individually responsible for producing online worship, particularly if
you are hesitant about your own expertise in using the necessary equipment and
technology. Now is an opportunity to join other communities to worship--being updated
. I also strongly encourage you to send emails, with regular messages
(and videos if able) offering spiritual support. Lay leaders are telling me that your
communication and assurance edifies as much, or more, than online worship services.
For those who are considering or able to telecast worship services, I recommend doing
this from home.
More information will be shared soon about a diocesan-wide reading of the Passion
Narrative. Video and manuscripts of meditations/sermons for Maundy Thursday, Good
Friday, and Easter Day will be created by me and members of the diocesan staff.
Rectors and priests-in-charge may use these in whatever way you think is best.
I commend these
and I will invite clergy to join me in a conversation about end of life pastoral care very soon.
Faith Formation - Bringing it Home
A suggested form for an
is available. I commend this both as a pastoral
response to be connected with one another, and as a resource for growing Christian
Several liturgical resources for praying the Daily Office, praying with children, formation
podcasts, grace at meals, suggestions for "Triduum Under Quarantine" are available
Mission & Outreach - Pivoting Our Energy
With use and access to our buildings and facilities now greatly curtailed, I encourage
you to seek creative and new ways to pivot energy and resources (keeping within
) in partnering with organizations in mission and outreach – such as those
agencies addressing the ongoing needs of hunger, the American Red Cross, and any
community who is especially hard-hit by the pandemic. Share ideas and new ways that
Resources for Mental Health and Domestic Violence
During this time, ordinary channels for mental health support may be disrupted and
support groups, like 12-step meetings, may not operate at the usual places and times.
Those under quarantine, sheltering at home or feeling isolated or fearful may need
additional support. The risk of domestic violence may increase. Keep in touch with
people in your congregation through phone calls, video chats, and notes. Find
resources for additional support listed on our diocesan
Resources for Finance and Administration
With use and access to our buildings and facilities curtailed, we are called on to seek
practical and alternative ways to manage medical, personnel, financial and general
operational matters. A document addressing practical concerns surrounding
maintenance, operations, administration and finance will be forthcoming. Please
is available to assist with any questions related to
finance and stewardship.
For additional operational and financial resources and guidance for congregations,
Faithfully in Christ,