17 February 2020
 
Dear Friends in Christ,
 
Plans are underway to continue our celebration of the bicentennial of the diocese with our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry on Saturday, May 2 at the University of Maine in Orono.
 
This will be an extraordinary opportunity to showcase the Episcopal branch of the Jesus movement in Maine! We expect this to be an inter-generational gathering that tells everyone we care deeply about the current and future state of our church.
 
Today, I want to highlight and invite you to a special opportunity for Maine clergy (Plus One*) to participate in an Evangelism deeper dive with Stephanie Spellers, Canon to the Presiding Bishop, and Jerusalem Greer, Staff Officer for Evangelism, on Friday, May 1st, the day before the event with Bishop Curry.
 
 We seek, name, and celebrate Jesus' loving presence in the stories of all Maine people - then invite everyone to more. #EpiscopalEvangelismMaine
 
We will gather at 5 PM at St. John's - Bangor for a light supper and fellowship to learn how to proclaim the loving, liberating, and life-giving good news of Christ to the people of Maine. We will discuss how the practice of evangelism in our diocese can guide us to seek, name and celebrate Jesus' loving presence in the stories of ALL people - then invite everyone to more. We expect to be done by 8 PM.
 
At this point, let me offer you some more context about our goals for the PB's visit to Maine and I will start by saying what it isn't. It isn't a revival. Some of you have attended a revival service at General Convention or some other national church gathering. Episcopal Revivals are preceded by months of planning and training for local teams learning about evangelism and listening for the Spirit among their neighbors.
 
We are looking at this gathering as a catalyst event, a starting point for the process and begin to discover, with God's help, as followers of Jesus Christ, to recognize and live into our own belovedness as children of God. It will launch a period of 12 - 18 months to discern evangelism of, by, and for the church in Maine.
 
We will use our time with Stephanie Spellers, Jerusalem Greer and Bishop Curry to:
  • Proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ in the language of the people of Maine;
  • Share faith and open space for others' stories about God;
  • Organize people to embody good news through reconciling action and justice;
  • Gather a diverse body that crosses lines of age, race, culture and class;
  • Equip and invite people to share, celebrate and embody the good news in daily life.
After this catalyst event, we will follow up with a summer assignment and an exercise at Diocesan Convention in October. We will plan our 2021 program year around evangelism that could lead to an Episcopalian Revival in 2022. This is truly the start of a long-term plan for our church in Maine.  
 
Back to Friday, we will spend our time with Canon Spellers and Jerusalem Greer to take some of the mystery - and stigma - out of the work of evangelism in the Episcopal church in our diocese. We will share a simple meal together and prepare for the next day with the people of the diocese.  
 
We have reserved a block of hotel rooms in the Bangor area for Friday night for those who will want to stay overnight. We are hoping that churches across the diocese will consider the environment and look into transportation alternatives (buses) to get to the University on Saturday.  
 
Saturday's program will begin at 11:00 AM and run through 12:30 PM at the Pit gymnasium at UMO (directions will be provided). There will be pre-paid box lunch options, food concessions open for lunch, plenty of activities and space for children, music, and time for fellowship, learning, and networking.  
 
There will be exhibit tables set up highlighting the ministries of our church including:
  • Creation Care
  • Domestic Poverty (Jubilee Centers)
  • Episcopal Migration Ministries - Maine
  • Episcopal Peace Fellowship - Maine
  • Evangelism Initiatives
  • Social Justice & Advocacy Engagement
  • Youth Ministries
  • Racial Reconciliation (Sacred Ground)
  • Indigenous Ministries - Committee on Indian Relations
  • Anglican Pilgrimage Centre - Santiago
  • Highlights of Other Diocesan Ministries (Contributions of churches welcomed)
At 1:00 PM we will begin a special worship service with the Presiding Bishop, Bishop Lane, Bishop Knudsen and myself. The music will be glorious. The energy will be off the charts. We will share details about the service as it is fully developed. We expect it to be over by 3:00 PM to allow everyone to get on buses or cars to make their way home.  
 
Please be aware folks will need to register for the event although it is not ticketed. The space accommodates 3,000 people so we should be able to welcome Episcopalians, Christians of all faiths and people who may be looking to hear the author of the book, Crazy Christians live and in person.  
 
While I have tried to share as much information as possible, I expect you may have some questions and ideas. I ask you to reach out to John Hennessy who is the team lead for this event for Loring House.
 
In closing, mark your calendars, start talking this up in your churches and book a hotel room now.  We will have the diocesan website updated with current information in the next 48-72 hours.  
 
Faithfully in Christ,  
The Rt. Rev. Thomas J. Brown

*What's this PLUS ONE mean? Well, I am glad you have read this far to find out. Evangelism is more than conversing, being a friend, or even listening. Celebrating the good news of Jesus" loving presence inspires us towards something more. PLUS ONE means inviting someone to more dialogues, more reflection or more Christian community as a partner. The concept of evangelism is to invite someone into the process.   


"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the greatest and first commandment." - Matthew 22:37-38