The Dio Log

news & events in the Episcopal Diocese of Maine since 1999

Volume 22, Number 8
April 23, 2020

207.772.1953 I www.episcopalmaine.org

St. Francis by the Sea, Blue Hill and their rector, the Rev. Brent Was organized an effort to bulk-buy directly from lobsterman who are suffering during this crisis. They also provide a church volunteer-run delivery service with which Brent's daughters, Hannah Maeve and Brigid, happily assist! Episcopal News Service highlights their effort here: Maine congregation keeps local lobster industry afloat by buying in bulk
Prayers
We pray for the grandeur of all creation. May we be filled with wonder and gratitude for all of God's gifts and a will to conserve them for future generations on Earth Day and always.

We offer prayers for the victims of the horrific shootings that occurred in Nova Scotia this past weekend and their grieving families. We pray for all who have been affected by gun violence.

Let us pray for Katie Clark as she joins in ministry with the Episcopal Diocese of Maine as the Director of Communications. Read more from ENS here.

Join us in praying for the many volunteers who serve and lead our churches. We thank them during Volunteer Appreciation Week and ask God to strengthen and sustain their ministries.
Illustration by Dave Walker; text by Jayne Manfredi; reprinted with permission
Voices among us
Bishop Thomas Brown reminds us in this Portland Press Herald article, Maine Christians prepare to share Easter services from a distance , "Right now, what we understand to be God’s mission for us is to do everything we can to slow the spread of the virus.”

The Episcopal Bishops of New England issued this Statement on the Disestablishment of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe . The tribe is under threat of having their reservation lands taken out of trust by the United States government. Please read the statement for ways you can support and advocate for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe.

A highlight of The National Cathedral's Easter Service was the Episcopal Church's Easter Virtual Choir, a compilation of 800 submissions from around the country. You can spot Maine's own Pamela Kinsey of the Aroostook Episcopal Cluster about 45 seconds into the performance.
The creativity of the congregation of St. Saviour's, Bar Harbor is highlighted in this article from the Mount Desert Islander, Churches adapt to crisis, cultivate hope and comfort .

The Rev. Kit Sherrill of Southport invites Maine to "...welcome all, work responsibly to defeat this virus, and to build a genuine community winter and summer" in his Boothbay Register letter to the editor .

Read the latest  Maine Episcopal Network for Justice Advocacy Update for Faith Climate Action Week resources, news about voting in upcoming elections, and how you can help make sure the next COVID-19 relief response provides help for the most vulnerable among us by boosting SNAP benefits.
CBS Sunday Morning spoke with Erin Reed , Executive Director of the Trinity Jubilee Center in Lewiston about their struggle to meet increasing demand during the crisis.
Around the diocese
Full online service to be available for Sunday, April 26
A diocese-wide team of clergy and lay leaders are compiling a full service for this Sunday, including music and a sermon from Bishop Brown. Clergy and lay leaders will be provided with a downloadable file on Saturday, April 25 to use as they wish. The video will be available on Facebook on Sunday morning at 10:00 am.
An update from Camp Bishopswood
Camp Bishopswood , in close communication with the American Camping Association, Maine Summer Camps, Episcopal Camps and Conference Centers, and national and local health departments, continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation.

Although they are planning for camp to happen, they’re also planning for other outcomes and have established three potential scenarios for summer 2020:

  • Move forward as scheduled
  • Shorten the summer schedule
  • Cancel programs for the entire summer

A final decision will be announced by May 17. If this summer does not move forward as scheduled, camp families will have the following financial options:

  1. Get a full refund, including deposit, by check
  2. Or if you’re in a position to do so, donate some or all your 2020 camp fees to support Bishopswood, so that next summer can be the best summer ever!

Bishopswood will not be asking for the May 1 payment or be processing those who signed up for three automatic payments at this time. Regardless of what summer 2020 ends up looking like, they will continue to support the camp family and community in any way they can. Please direct inquiries to Michael Douglass , Executive Director of Camp Bishopswood.
Maine Chapter of EPF to hold online meeting May 2
Episcopal Peace Fellowship will hold a Zoom video conference on Saturday, May 2 at 1:00 pm. Members who join us will be encouraged to help brainstorm about how best to use the Zoom platform during the Covid-19 pandemic. The technology is new to us and invites us to ‘congregate’ in unique and creative ways. What are your aspirations for EPF in this period? Is this actually a way for us in our diocese of geographically remote churches to gather more radically and inclusively? Is it, then, a welcome opportunity?

Please contact Glenis Elliott, Co-Convener, at  gleniswayne93@comcast.net  for an invitation with a link to join the Zoom meeting on May 2. Members will be sent an invitation the day before.
Faith-based solar farm project continues
The diocese passed a resolution last fall authorizing establishment of a body to explore a faith-based solar farm initiative . Bishop Brown appointed the Very Rev. Dr. Ben Shambaugh, Cathedral of Saint Luke, Portland, the Rev. Nathan Ferrell, Saint Mary's, Falmouth, and Ms. Elizabeth Parsons , Cathedral of Saint Luke, Portland to work with John Hennessy , Director of Advocacy and a volunteer consultant, Robert Stoddard , a parishioner at St. Alban’s, Cape Elizabeth.

The group reached out to all churches in the diocese in January to guage interest and ask for commitment to the project. Although the first phase of this work is slated only for faith communities in the Central Maine Power service area, response across the diocese has been robust. 

In order to be cost effective, the project is expected to accommodate around 100 or so facilities in Maine including churches, synagogues, rectories, parish halls, missions, etc. Synagogues? Yes, this initiative is open to all faith communities who are interested in saving God’s creation. Solar farms are among the top ten most viable options for stopping global warming.Thanks to some great press , many different faith traditions have expressed interest.

The next phase of this work, drafting a request for proposal, is underway now. The group hopes to be in the market in late May or early June. Feel free to connect with John Hennessy if you want more information. 
Meals for the community in a time of stress
Good, nutritious meals are an important part of sustaining our health and wholeness always! St. Alban’s, Cape Elizabeth is making sure good meals are available to their parish and community. High-quality frozen meals to-go are available to any member of the parish or community in need, without charge. It just takes an email and the meal will be packaged and ready for pick up. The church has also partnered with Portland’s Blue Spoon restaurant to provide affordable, pre-ordered meals (order Wednesday for Friday pickup) to the community during this time of social distancing with an option for families experiencing financial hardship and ways to help cover the cost of a meal for another family. Please email stalbanscares@stalbansmaine.org with questions about their program. For information on ordering or contributing, please visit stalbansmaine.org.
Beyond Maine
VTS offers Digital Ministry Open Office Hours
Digital Ministry Open Office Hours are an opportunity to have continued conversation around how best to serve our communities of faith in times of crisis and concern. These office hours are sponsored by the eFormation Learning Community and Lifelong Learning at Virginia Theological Seminary, and they're focused on digital ministry and worship and how all of us can best adapt to the new landscape.

Upcoming office hours will be held: Friday, April 24 @ 12:00 pm, Tuesday, April 28 @ 4:00 pm, and Friday, May 1 @ 12:00 pm. Please register here for as many of the sessions as you want - the discussion will be determined by those who show up. Reach out with any questions or comments to Sarah Stonesifer Boylan at sstonesifer@vts.edu.
ECF continues to support churches during the crisis
Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF) has organized online resources and gatherings to foster community and sharing knowledge to help support faith communities during this time of crisis. The ECF Vital Practices website contains a resource hub, recent recorded webinars on topics like self-care and effective vestries in times of crisis, and a blog section highlighting the voices of lay and clergy leaders sharing ideas for navigating this unprecedented time. In the April issue of their newsletter, Vestry Papers, they bring you ideas for community beyond the red doors. Some cannot be implemented in our current context, but ECF lifts up these examples to bring hope and inspiration for brighter days ahead.
The Living Church launches online bible studies
The Living Church launched two new online community bible studies that are available to anyone in the U.S. or around the world with access to a computer. The hope is that the new virtual online community proves to be a much-needed space for connection and conversation. One of the studies, The Resurrected Life , is authored by Houston-based Episcopal priest, the Rev. Charlie Holt and another, A Living Hope: A Study of 1 Peter, by new Christian author, Sarah Viggiano Wright. These low-fee studies are designed to be used during the Easter season by churches, small groups, or individuals.
New resource to help identify misinformation
In response to the increased prevalence of disinformation campaigns, The Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations has released the resource " Misinformation, Disinformation, Fake News: Why Do We Care?".
 
While misinformation has been used for centuries, it has become especially prevalent and difficult to identify with the rise of social media platforms and expansion of internet access. Misinformation often spreads faster and is seen by a broader audience than legitimate news. This means that when misinformation is spread about a topic like the coronavirus disease or the U.S. 2020 Census instead of expert advice, it can pose a serious threat to public health and social systems.