News for Clergy and Lay Leaders
29 May 2020
From The Bishop
This week in our Town Hall meeting on May 26, I recommended continuing online worship during the month of June. The following is what I shared at that meeting:

I recommended continuing online worship during the month of June as well as continuing to explore options for worshiping God in the outdoors.

There is so much that we don’t know. The risk we take by gathering in-person not only takes a lot of energy, but it also puts us in a potential position of spreading the virus, causing illness, and potentially death.

In addition to the potential risk associated with in-person worship, with all the restrictions—no singing, no exchange of the peace, no celebration of the Eucharist as we have known it, no hugging, no greeting—the experience might well be unsatisfying.

At the end of the day we have to acknowledge that it may not be safe, that we need more time, and that we are actually gathering and worshiping online. God is being praised, we are finding connections among each other, and we’re adapting.

You are faithful, and we’re doing this together. On Tuesday the church commemorated St. Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury. In correspondence between St. Augustine and Pope Gregory, Augustine asked the Pope for advice about what to do in the face of so much diversity of worship practices throughout Europe and England. The Pope replied by saying, ‘things should not be loved for the sake of places, but places for the sake of good things.’

Friends, it is a good thing right now for our place of worship to be online.
A word from Minnesota for Maine

The incidents in New York’s Central Park, and the brutal death of Mr. George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, are two more stories of deep fear and mistrust, and of the horrific effects of racism. Those events, and the fear and mistrust underlying the divisions in our country, impact us in Maine. We are one nation, and when black people are targeted in one city, and brutally handled and killed in another city, it becomes the business of every citizen and every community of faith to examine the heart, to speak truth, and to repair the breach. 

What follows is a statement from the Bishop of Minnesota, and the Bishop-elect, along with links to resources. When it comes to our speech in the pubic square, and indeed, from within our pulpits, I commend Brian and Craig’s words. In the coming days I hope to invite Episcopalians in Maine to make our own lament, even as we work alongside one another for racial reconciliation. 

Faithfully in Christ
The Right Reverend Thomas J. Brown
Diocese-Wide Worship Service for Pentecost
We are delighted to share with you a service celebrating the Feast of Pentecost, compiled by a diocese-wide team of twenty-six clergy and lay leaders both on camera and behind-the-scenes.

The sermon features a conversation between Bishop Brown and Dr. Deirdre Good.

Click here for the full service on YouTube.

Click here for just the sermon on YouTube.

Click here to download the order of service.

If you need to download the video files directly, click here .

The full service will also 'premiere' on the diocesan Facebook and YouTube pages on Sunday morning at 10 a.m.

As we look to the summer months, we welcome your feedback as to whether these services are providing you well-deserved rest as well as a sense of joy and community. Should we continue with a full service once a month? Or perhaps just a sermon once a month? Let us know y our thoughts!
Annual Meetings...Virtually?
Many of you have asked about Annual Meetings, and how to facilitate those as we continue to connect remotely during the pandemic. The Reverend Canon Michael Ambler, Canon to the Ordinary has put together a helpful guide: Caught between a Virus and a Bylaw: What to do about Annual Meetings during Covid-19. Click here to download the document.
Finance Update
This past week we asked churches and other Diocese-related organizations to evaluate their Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) needs and notify the Diocese if further funds could be used or if they had excess funds to be returned to the Diocese.

We received a number of responses for both requesting additional PPP funds and the intent to return excess funds. This weekend we will electronically transfer PPP funds to those churches and organizations requesting additional funds.

Click here to review the PPP Final Adds Reductions document that shows the amounts previously transferred to churches and organizations. The document also has a third column showing amounts returned, or to be returned to the Diocese and amounts to be transferred.
The net total of the three columns represents what the Diocese shows as the net outstanding PPP amounts for each church and organization.

If this net amount differs from your records, please email Canon Terry Reimer, .
Resources From Around The Diocese
Click here for the Outdoor Worship Working Group Preliminary Report

As mentioned on Tuesday's Town Hall, Bridging the Gap is sharing their Reopening Guidelines as a sample for churches who may have similar ministries trying to address the same safety concerns. As with all documents of this nature, the guidelines are subject to change.
In The News
Reverend John Nieman, interim priest-in-charge at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church in Belfast, was recently featured in Village Soup (covering Knox, Lincoln and Waldo counties) in a story about how congregations are finding new ways to worship, to connect, and to find hope and encouragement in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tech Tips
For those of you who have asked how to pipe Zoom meetings into Facebook Live, here are instructions as to how to do that!
Music Copyrights Webinar

Copyrights can be complicated, and as many churches seek to record or stream services, they are encountering new issues. If you own the hymnals, can you stream the music? Since Amazing Grace is public domain, can you use it in your recorded worship service? Learn the answers to these questions, and get a chance to ask your questions live!

Great Livestreaming Overview

Livestreaming seems to be on everyone's mind these days, and for good reason! One of the best resources we've found that provides an excellent overview of livestreaming (including equipment) is The Dummies Guide To LIVE Streaming For Churches [2020 EDITION] . This 11-minute video is a must-watch for all who are currently livestreaming, or considering it for the future.

Don't Forget to Update Zoom!

 The videoconferencing software Zoom is asking everyone to update their software as they
strive to make the platform even more secure.

Spread the word to your parishioners that they should update Zoom now by going to this page .

They will want to select the option that aligns with the technology they are using. For instance "Zoom Client for Meetings" at the top is for a desktop/laptop computer. Further down the page "Zoom Mobile Apps" is for tablets and smart phones.

When downloading to a computer, they will see a pop-up on their screen that looks like the picture below. They should check that the company name says Zoom Video Communications, Inc. Then, they can hit "Run" and they will be all set.

If they are downloading the update for a mobile device, it will launch an update that will look the same in look and feel as other app updates on their device.

After tomorrow, May 30th, this will be a forced update, which means anyone trying to join a meeting after that date will not be able to proceed until they have run the software update.

Questions? Reach out to Director of Communications Katie Clark for help.
Loring House Closure Continues
Loring House will remain closed until Tuesday, September 8th (with that date subject to change). Your diocesan staff will continue to work remotely, and be in and out of the building as their work flows require (such as signing checks), but there will not be a consistent presence on location. If you have any questions or concerns, please connect with  Barbara Martin , Canon for Administration. 
Do You Have Communications Questions?
Do you have a communications question? Join Director of Communications Katie Clark for CommsChat, aka Communications Office Hours.

CommsChat is an opportunity to gather as a group to discuss questions about communications including: livestreaming, social media, digital ministry, and more. The discussion will be guided by the questions of those who attend.

Next week's CommsChat is Friday, June 5 from 1:30 - 2:30pm.  

Click on the "Register Here" button if you'd like to attend-->

Please note these sessions are not recorded due to community contexts shared and questions asked.