Category Archives: Clergy News

Congregations in Transition: (Almost) Spring 2014

Canon for Transition and Leadership Development Vicki Wiederkehr offers this brief listing of the status of all congregations in transition.

St. Mark’s, Augusta
Canon Vicki Wiederkehr, Lay Pastoral Administrator

St. Margaret’s, Belfast
The Rev. Martha Kirkpatrick’s Service of Leavetaking June 1. She leaves to become rector of St. Barnabas’, Wilmington, Delaware.

St. Patrick’s, Brewer
The Rev. Ann Kidder’s Service of Leavetaking March 27.

St. John’s, Brownville Junction
The Rev. Nancy Moore’s Service of Leavetaking April 27.

St. Anne’s, Calais
The Rev. Jenny Reece’s Service of Leavetaking April 27.

Trinity, Castine 
The Rev. Peg Thomas’ Service of Leavetaking April 27.

St. Augustine’s, Dover-Foxcroft
The Rev. Nancy Moore’s Service of Leavetaking April 27.

Christ Church, Gardiner
The Rev. George Lambert, Priest in Charge

Church of Our Father, Hulls Cove
Supply transition clergy.  Receiving names through March 30.

St. Aidan’s, Machias
Supply clergy.  Priest in Charge Letter of Agreement pending.

St. Mary and St. Jude, Northeast Harbor
The Rev. Jane Cornman called as Rector.

Christ Church, Norway   
The Rev. Elizabeth Miller, Transition Priest in Charge.
Vestry has called the Rev. Nancy Moore as Priest in Charge in collaboration with Trinity Lutheran Church, South Paris. Letters of Agreement in process.

St. James’, Old Town
The Rev. Dick Johnson, Priest in Charge

St. Peter’s, Rockland 
The Rev. John Van Siclen, Transition Priest in Charge.  Vestry developing congregational profile.

St. Barnabas, Rumford
Supply clergy.  Letter of Agreement for Priest in Charge pending.

St. Thomas, Winn
The Rev. Lev Sherman’s Service of Leavetaking April 13.

St. Andrew’s, Winthrop 
The Rev. Jim Gill, Pastoral Vicar

St. Philip’s, Wiscasset
Supply Clergy

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Maine clergy invited to explore ministry in Lewiston

by the Rev. Peggy Day
Deacon at St. Patrick’s, Brewer and member of the Clergy Day Committee

Campers and staff at Tree Street Youth, a summer program in Lewiston

Campers and staff at Tree Street Youth, a summer program in Lewiston

Relationship-building plays an important part in the success of the efforts by Lewiston’s Trinity Church to raise up the Kingdom of God in their community.

On September 17 all clergy in the Diocese are invited to explore two programs that comprise a big part of Trinity’s ministry in the Lewiston-Auburn area.

One program clergy will learn about this fall is  the Women’s Wisdom Center located in the middle of Lewiston in what is referred to as the B Street neighborhood.  The B street neighborhood encompasses the intersections of Birch, Bates and Bartlett streets.

The Women’s wisdom Center provides a safe, sacred space that is run by women for women.  Klara Tammany, the executive director, will be our guide.  Women who come to the center are referred to as guests and range in age from young women to the elderly.  Through the center’s various programs, they find friends,  joy, compassion, hope, and support that they might not otherwise experience.  Many might fall through the cracks without this safe haven that serves as sanctuary for many.  According to its website, the Center “… offers a stress free environment to share the stories of their lives” without judgment but rather with dignity and respect.

Women’s Wisdom Center was started by sisters Irene Arsenault, Mona Guerrette, and Maureen Hurley of the Order of The Daughters of Wisdom, a Roman Catholic religious community.  It began in 1999 and was originally named Wisdom’s Center.  It became a valuable resource for the community.  In June, 2008, “the congregation found it necessary to discontinue the work” and approached Trinity Church about fiscal sponsorship.  The center is no longer associated with any religion or denomination but continues “the wisdom charisma of the original organization as it continues to care for the spiritual well- being of the guests who find sanctuary there.”

The second program we will explore is the Tree Street Youth Center. According to its materials, the mission of this center is “to support the youth of Lewiston-Auburn through academics, the arts, and athletics while providing a safe space that encourages healthy physical, social, emotional, and academic development while building unity across lines of difference.”  The Youth Center offers an afterschool program, a summer youth program, a street leader program, a college preparation program, and a visual and performing arts program.  They serve more than 400 youth each year with help from interns and volunteers.

The Center began as an outgrowth of a local homework help program that began after community parents wanted to help their children academically, but lacked the necessary language and academic skills to do so.  The program began in 2005 by split staff from AmeriCorp, the refugee assistance Program and a host of volunteers.  Housed at Trinity, it served as a valuable resource for the community for six years.  After six years, it was noted that the need went beyond assistance with homework.  The co-founders, Julia Sleeper (the Executive Director) and Kim Sullivan (a Bates College intern) began seeking more support. The Center expanded its programs to include a summer youth program and found a building.  It opened in July 2011 “in a vacant lot building located in the heart of the downtown residential community and across from the local elementary school.”  It provides low-income youth the opportunity to learn and grow in a nurturing environment, in their own neighborhood at no cost to the family.

There will also be an opportunity to have a neighborhood walking tour with a member of Trinity who is also a member of Lewiston City Council.  Craig Saddlemire,  a Bates graduate, community volunteer and advocate will give a tour of his Ward, an inner city poverty pocket.  Craig is the producer of the Trinity video that was shown at Convention in 2011.

Come and join your Clergy Day Committee in visiting these two wonderful programs and learn more about how they have built relationship with their neighbors in order to allow God to show forth in these neighborhoods.  We ask that you come with an open heart and mind to listen to how God called this congregation to new ways of being.

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Filed under Clergy News, Ministry and Outreach, Social Justice, Training and Education Events, Trinity Lewiston

Maine priest advocates for immigration reform

The Rev. Virginia Marie Rincon, a priest of this diocese now living in Texas, with great knowledge and expertise on immigration issues in Maine.

The Rev. Virginia Marie Rincon, a priest of this diocese now living in Texas, who has great knowledge and expertise on immigration issues in Maine pictured before the U.S. Capitol earlier this week.

Thanks to the Rev. Virginia Marie Rincon for representing the Diocese of Maine this week in Washington, D.C.  She was one of several Maine faith leaders to meet with lawmakers to press for passage of S. 744, the comprehensive immigration reform bill. Rincon served as the diocese’s Hispanic Missioner for more than ten years and is well-respected across Maine for her advocacy and support of immigrants new to Maine. She moved to Texas in 2012.

Meeting with Senator Collins just minutes after she arrived in Washington Rincon said, “She listened and seemed to be on board at the end of our meeting.  She did say that she wanted a “Yes” on S.744 but that there were so many amendments she had three aides working on deciphering which amendments were real and which ones were just trying to kill the bill.”

The group also met with Senator King’s staffer, Chris Rauscher, with whom Rincon had served on the board of the Portland-based organization Immigration Legal Advocacy Services (ILAP). “He offered information on Senator King’s co-sponsorship of the Cardin amendment which includes positives for adding community service and education as an alternative for pathway to citizenship.” Rincon, who offered the final blessing at a prayer vigil held on the front lawn of the U.S. Capitol, went on to say, “I felt proud to be included in the discussions.”

Expenses for the faith leaders’ travel to Washington, D.C. were covered by Church World Service.

Bishop Stephen Lane said, “When we were approached to name someone to represent our diocese to advocate for immigration reform, Virginia Marie instantly popped to mind. Through she now makes her home in Texas, she remains a priest of this diocese and there is no one who knows better the challenges and difficulties that new Mainers face upon arriving here.”

There’s an article and more photos about the effort on the Interfaith Immigration Coalition’s website.

 

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Greetings and Updates from the Rev. Jack Fles

Dear Episcopal friends and colleagues:

It has been almost two months since my 18 year-old daughter gave me 4.2 lbs., or 70%, of her liver on Dec. 20, 2010.  The surgery was done at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington Mass.  Each of us had a team of 12 doctors for the dual operations, which lasted eight hours.

Surgery was successful, both father and daughter were at the top of the charts in terms of recovery.  Broghann stayed in the hospital nine days, I remained for 14.  While the care given by doctors and nurses was excellent, our memories of those days are somewhat traumatic; discomfort, no sleep, changing soaked bandages, multiple drainage lines, the meds and escape from pain.   But we also were mesmerized simply by the idea that my liver was gone and Broghann’s was functioning inside me.  My first semi-cognizant day was December 25.  What a new angle of thought on the meaning of Christmas, new life though a gift of love.  Pain was part of it, as follows the pattern given to us during that first week of the great passion.

Yesterday was my last weekly visit to Lahey.  Now I go down once per month, with blood work sent up every two weeks.  Yesterday I  voiced my concerns about recovery time and returning to work.  “It is generally six months before a recipient returns to work, and part time at that” was the medical response.  “Maybe five months if you are up to it.”

And what of work?  I have been on full-time disability since before Easter, and working part-time for some months before that.  I see now how sick I was; my energy level was low, my memory was failing, zest for new ideas non-existent.  I am grateful to the membership and vestry of Christ Church in Gardiner for their patience and determination to see our family through surgery and recovery.  I have learned in an inescapable way that I am loved and my family is too.

But this thin time between health and illness is difficult to bear.  Bishop Steve has been great, very present and supportive. Our church insurance plan has been excellent.  Friends, church members and even strangers have been helpful with food, finances and friendly support.  But you can imagine that such a disruption is hard on a congregation, even with the excellent and faithful pastoral care provided by Fathers Jim Gill and John Widdows and our Deacon Gary Drinkwater.  Attendance has fallen off, death has taken its toll on long term members, the challenge we all face garnering enthusiastic and present younger members is no stranger to us in Gardiner.

The greatest and most direct challenge I have experienced is the annual meeting decision a few weeks ago that come June 1, the rectorate of Christ Church will be a half-time position.  Besides half salary, that means having to pay for half utilities and health insurance.  In my youth I thought job security was part of the clergy job description. “They will always need a priest,” I thought.  “Even in the most dire of circumstances, the church will continue and a clergy person will always have a place to serve.”

But this merely personalizes the trauma that most of us face as pew warmers of the Episcopal Church.  I am not alone in this dilemma, and this reality is known and felt by +Bishop Steve and at all administrative levels of our diocese, and probably to you as you read this.  I look forward to the soon to be released “white papers” with observations and recommendations for the strengthening of all of our congregations.  I have a feeling a major theme will be “no more pew warmers”.

We must stand up and be counted, reach out, express our faith in word and deed, and share the light that we know as Christ.  Other neighborhood churches are full.  We can be too!

I look forward to growing stronger day by day, and especially at rejoining the good working people of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine.  God bless us all, and thank you for your prayers!

Sincerely in Christ,
Father Jack Fles+

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