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The E-Pistle of Thursday

December 21st, 2023

St. Luke's Webpage

Give/ Pledge to St. Luke's

A Weekly Reflection

From The Reverend George Stevens, Interim Dean

Dear Friends-


On behalf of the people of the Cathedral of St. Luke, I invite you to join us for Christmas services.

On Sunday, our Christmas Eve services are at 5:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., but if you’re planning on joining us for the later service I want to remind you the fantastic music prelude begins at 9:30 p.m.

On Christmas morning at 10:00 a.m. The Rt. Rev. Thomas Brown will officiate and preach. 


Blessings and Merry Christmas!        


P.S. Please remember that at 7:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. on Sunday morning we will be celebrating the Fourth Sunday of Advent.

Please note that two newsletters will be sent out for Sunday, the first being for Advent IV, with bulletin, livestream links, and parish announcements.

The second will be for all Christmas Services, with bulletins and livestream links.


Perhaps it is the very wildness and strangeness of the grace that has led us to try to tame it. We have tried to make it habitable. We have roofed it and furnished it. We have reduced it to an occasion we feel at home with, at best a touching and beautiful occasion, at worst a trite and cloying one.

But if the Christmas event in itself is indeed—as a matter of cold, hard fact—all its cracked up to be, then even at best our efforts are misleading.

The Word became flesh. Ultimate Mystery born with a skull you could crush one-handed. Incarnation. It is not tame. It is not beautiful. It is uninhabitable terror. It is unthinkable darkness riven with unbearable light. Agonized laboring led to it, vast upheavals of intergalactic space, time split apart, a wrenching and tearing of the very sinews of reality itself. You can only cover your eyes and shudder before it, before this: “God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God… who for us and for our salvation,” as the Nicene Creed puts it, “came down from heaven.”

Came down. Only then do we dare uncover our eyes and see what we can see. It is the Resurrection and the Life she holds in her arms. It is the bitterness of death he takes at her breast.

By Frederick Buechner from Whistling in the Dark

Community Announcements

Stewardship 2024

We are grateful for everyone in the Cathedral community who has made generous contributions and pledges for 2024.

We also want to extend a special welcome to the 23 households who have made their first pledge to St. Luke's!

If you wish to join in making a financial pledge to support the Cathedral's mission and ministry, please contact the office or pledge online.

Together our pledges will define the resources we will have to devote to our mission in 2024 as a community. We welcome and invite all contributions to support this effort!

Every gift is gratefully received and enriches our lives. Thank you.

With gratitude,

Randi Hogan

Stewardship Chair

Nominations for Vestry and Convention Delegates

The Cathedral’s Annual Meeting date has been set for February 4, 2024. An

important part of the agenda will be election of the Junior Warden (two-year term),

election of three Vestry members for three-year terms, and election of one Vestry

member for a two-year term. In addition, we will elect five Delegates for Diocesan

Convention, plus alternates.

Our Bylaws specify the Nominations Committee for these positions consist of the

outgoing Warden and Vestry members, plus the Interim Dean. This year’s

Nominations Committee includes: Fred Fowler, Jane Briggs, Catherine Hyde, Linda

Carleton, and George Stevens.

We invite nominees for these positions. You may nominate yourself or someone

else, provided that you seek that person’s permission to serve if elected.

Nominations may be sent to Senior Warden Sam Allen or Interim

Dean, The Rev. George Stevens

If you have questions about what the positions entail, please consult Sam, George, or Acting Junior Warden Fred Fowler.

Please make nominations no later than January 3, 2024. Thank you!

Cathedral Offices will be closed December 26th through January 2nd in observation of the Christmas and New Years Holidays.

Due to the office being closed, we will not be accepting any additional submissions for the E-pistle for Thursday, December 28th or for Sunday, December 31st.

Please send any questions to the parish office or the Rev. George Stevens.

Thank you for your understanding and have a wonderful holiday season.

5:15 Service

A small group is leading an effort to restart the Sunday 5:15 service in the back chapel. We will start Sunday 1/14 and continue for the next six Sunday's concluding on 2/18. 

After that we will meet and decide how to proceed but the long term goal is to have the new dean include that as a regular Sunday service. 

Please contact Tim Wilkins if you want to help with the service or have any questions. Thank you!

Contemplative Prayer

We will not meet on December 21 or 28. We will resume on January 4.

Please Join The PPEAT Committee and

and Others in The Diocese In Advocating For Gun Safety

The PPEAT Committee is wanting to make our congregation aware of this important opportunity to put our faith to action and advocate for responsible gun safety on January 3 along with our own John Hennessy and others from the Diocese who will be meeting to show our support for and to urge our legislators to take action on this critically important issue before more lives are lost! 

Please contact Mary Linneman, who has generously offered to organize rides for anyone interested in attending. Please seriously consider making space in your calendar for this important event!  

Additional details and registration information can be found in the Diocesan Announcement, listed further down in today's newsletter under 'Updates from the Diocese and Wider Church.'

Join Luke’s Garden for their next meeting

on January 14th at 1:00PM

Join St. Luke’s LGBTQIA+ Group, Luke’s Garden, for their next meeting.

Visit here for the Zoom link.

Public Policy and Environmental Action Team

Eco-tips: The limits of individual action

Did you know that the “carbon footprint” campaign came from an early 2000’s advertising campaign for British Petroleum? The idea was to deflect the responsibility for global warming from oil producers to individuals. The truth is that individual voluntary actions are not the main driver of our collective greenhouse gas emissions. This problem cannot be usefully addressed at the individual level but at the political level. As Maine produces only 0.3% of US emissions, the most effective advocacy will be at the federal level.

Both Senator King and Senator Collins are on the Senate Climate Solutions Caucus, and Rep. Pingree is a staunch environmental advocate. So we Mainers have a lot of influence on federal climate policy. Call or write your members of Congress and ask them to support elimination of fossil fuel subsidies (an estimated  $10 to $50 billion per year). Or ask them to support the BIG WIRES Act, which among other benefits will increase our ability to connect clean energy to the grid. Or, most effective of all, ask them to support the Energy Innovation Act (H.R. 5457), which is the single most effective climate policy solution, estimated to reduce the average global temperature by a full degree centigrade by 2100. 

Sacred Ground Opportunity

Looking for an opportunity to learn more about the racial justice through the lens of a film-based dialogue series on race and faith?

The Episcopal Church has an amazing program - Sacred Ground.

To view a Sacred Ground informational video click here. 

To learn more about Sacred Ground click here. 

There is a group forming for a mid-January kick-off. The group is scheduled to meet on Thursday evenings at 6:30 PM.

Participants from all areas are welcome.

For more information contact the facilitators:

Email Denise Noble - Diocese of Vermont


Email Rebecca Grant - Diocese of Maine

Thank You To All Participants of Lessons and Carols

The Cathedral community wishes to express our thanks to all ministries who contributed to last Sunday's service of Lessons and Carols. We express thanks to the cathedral choir for their wonderful musical offerings.

Please see images below, courtesy of St. Luke's parishioner, Nancy Mawhinney.

St. Luke's Food Pantry Volunteers Spread Christmas Cheer

On Tuesday morning the St. Luke’s Food Pantry 'elves' filled Christmas gift bags for our Thursday morning neighbors. 

New Flags Flying Above the State Street Tower Door

Thanks are given to Sam Allen (Senior Warden) and Fred Fowler (Junior Warden) for their help in assembling and mounting our new flags flying above the state street door.

St. Elizabeth's Pantry Coat Drive

As we gear up for colder temperatures, St. Elizabeth’s is launching its annual coat and boot drive. Many of our neighbors come from warmer climates and don’t have the necessary clothing for fall and winter in Maine. 

Large and Extra-Large sized coats for both men and women are most needed, but coats and boots of all sizes are welcome. Items should be in clean, good condition.

Monetary donations may also be made for the purchase of new coats and boots for our neighbors.

Financial contributions can be mailed to: St. Elizabeth’s Jubilee Center PO Box 4036 Portland, ME 04101 or visit here.

Clarification Regarding Pledging Using Realm

Thank you to all of our community members who have made a pledge gift using Realm.

Treasurer Tim Wilkins and Financial Administrator Nina Andersen wish to clarify the process of setting up a pledge through Realm.

In order for our team to have a record of your pledge for the year please complete and submit a pledge form. This informs us of your total amount to be pledged for the year before using Realm to enter a payment plan in Vanco for your 2024 pledge. We appreciate your understanding and are happy to answer any questions you may have.

Please contact Tim Wilkins or Nina Andersen with any questions you may have.

Updates from The Diocese

and Wider Church

An Advent Message of Hope and Inclusion

from Bishop Thomas Brown (2023)

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s Christmas message 2023:

‘A sign for you’

"Hello to my family of faith in The Episcopal Church, and to all of our ecumenical and interfaith friends, and to all people of love and goodwill.

I want to first thank you all for your prayers and well wishes this year as I have weathered some health issues. Please know that I’m doing well, following the doctor’s orders.

I’m also ever more aware of the power of the messages of Advent to watch, to wait, and to listen to the pregnant voice of silence, as one version of the Bible says. And out of that watching, waiting, and listening, following the way of Jesus of Nazareth and his way of love, the Spirit of God being our helper.

Click here to read or watch Presiding Bishop Curry's Full Message

Join together for Gun Safety Day of Action on January 3!

Episcopalians of all ages are invited to come live out your faith and add your voice to others advocating for gun safety.

Arrive at 8:30 a.m. at the State House to begin going through security. The event begins at 9:30 in the Hall of Flags. Meet Director of Advocacy, John Hennessy on the second floor holding our diocesan flag! (He'll be smiling just like he is the photo below!)

Please add your name to this list to let us know you are attending.

Questions? Please reach out to John Hennessy. If you are a young person or a parent or chaperone with questions, please be in touch with Emily Keniston.

Register Here

Last Week's Service

Click the attached link to view last week's Bulletin.

Click the attached link to view last week's Lesson's & Carols Bulletin

To watch the livestream of last Sunday's service, click here.

To watch the livestream of Lessons & Carols, click here.

Click here to watch the sermon offered by The Rev. George Stevens, Interim Dean

To View past services visit our Youtube Page or visit the archive page on our website to read past bulletins, sermons, and newsletters.

Ongoing Opportunities &

Community Resources


Help with Coffee Hour

Coffee Hour needs hosts. It's fun and easy! No commitment required— you can do it once and that's a help. Please check out the schedule and if there is a date you can serve, contact Gail Kesich or Liz Griffin 

Help the Cathedral With Recycling

As Portland does not pick-up recycling for businesses we are looking for volunteers to take home the paper we gather in blue bins and add them to parishioner's recycling bins at their homes (We do however recycle cardboard and compost both of which have been a very successful campaigns). 

If you would like to help please contact Sarah Braik or Tim Wilkins. Thanks for your help.

Access Your Realm Profile

The Cathedral’s new online database, Realm, is a useful tool for parishioners to manage their contact and pledging information.

Realm helps our community by improving our record keeping in a more streamlined fashion. 

When joining Realm you can sign-up to be a part of the online directory in the database.

To activate your Realm profile please contact our financial administrator Nina Andersen.

Nina will assist you with the few steps necessary to access your profile.

We look forward to sharing this exciting new technology with you!

Join the Young and The Restless

We are St. Luke’s 20s-30s-year-old ministry. We are an active group at the cathedral which also gets together outside of the church.

Join us as we go hiking, ice skating, play trivia, or just enjoy each other’s company! If you are new to us, welcome! We meet each Tuesday at Maine Beer Company in Freeport, 6-8 PM for Trivia.

Other events happen sporadically throughout the month, however trivia is a wonderful opportunity to meet us if you’re joining us for the first time. Contact Shana Rose to stay up to date with group activities and information.

Join Luke's Garden


Luke's Garden is the cathedral's LGBTQIA+ group which meets every 2nd Sunday of the month following coffee hour.

All are welcome!

For additional information contact Orion Williams

The Kneeler Guild and

Prayer Shawl Knitters



The Upper Hall.

For additional information contact Jeri Edgar 207-303-8447 or Nancy MaWhinney 207-775-7500

Everyone is welcome, whether you are curious or want to begin. Kneeler kits cost $75, which include directions, yarn, needles & canvas. Novices are welcome; we will teach you as needed. Prayer Shawls: 26-29” by 60”; select your yarn & needles. Coffee & Tea available.

Weekly Ministries

  • The Food Pantry is open from 8 am to 11 am every Thursday.

  • The Tuesday 12:10 Eucharist is offered every week in Emmanuel Chapel in-person and on Zoom.

  • Noon prayer is offered every Wednesday via Zoom.

  • Compline is offered weekly on Friday from 8-8:30pm on Zoom.

Click on the Episcopal Maine Logo above to learn about all that is happening in the wider Diocese.




Physical Address:

143 State Street, Portland, ME 04101

Parking Available at:

134 Park Street, Portland, ME 04101

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 4141, Portland, ME 04101

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