Category Archives: Faith Development

Spring Training 2016 – Becoming members of The Jesus Movement

springtraining.logoBishop Steve Lane invites Maine Episcopalians to a diocesan education day called Spring Training 2016 to be held on Saturday, April 9, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brunswick.

Three sessions will offer a 20 workshops in areas such as spiritual growth, formation, music, public policy advocacy, church leadership, conflict mediation and more. We’ll pause at mid-day to gather, worship, sing, and hear more about change in our wider culture and the role the church may play in our communities. (Full workshop descriptions are here.)

Bishop Lane says:
Our new Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, calls the Episcopal Church in Maine to be a part of The Jesus Movement. We want our members claim the faith that sends them into the world proclaiming the good news of God’s love. To do that we need to focus on three principles:
  • Know Jesus and follow him.
  • Go into the world where Jesus already is.
  • Leave your baggage behind.

My hope is that Spring Training 2016 will help to prepare us to take our place in The Jesus Movement.

Here’s Bishop Curry’s take:

Want to learn more? Visit our diocesan homepage at www.episcopalmaine.org to link to event information, full workshop descriptions, and registration. You may register directly at www.tinyurl.com/springtraining2016.

Download a flyer and a bulletin insert to share with members of your congregation.

Registration is limited to 150 people, so please don’t delay in signing up.

We look forward to seeing you there.

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Filed under Diocesan Life, Faith Development, Ministry and Outreach, St. Paul's Brunswick, The Church in a Changing World, Training and Education Events

Bishopswood needs our help to open its doors in 2016

Estimates are in and the comprehensive Bishopswood septic system will cost $185,000. As Bishop Lane says in his letter to friends of our diocesan camp: Read it here

“Now is the time to make a gift toward this project. I have committed diocesan resources so that contracts can be made and work can begin, but there is no budget for this work. The funding of this project is completely in the hands of all of us who love Bishopswood and want to see another generation of children benefit from its ministry.” 
 
Bishopswood Executive Director Mike Douglass also has a letter that details the need and urgency for year-end gifts so that camp can open next summer. Donations may be made online on the Diocese of Maine home page at www.episcopalmaine.org. or use this direct link to the secure online donation page. Also checks may be sent directly to Bishopswood at 98 Bishopswood Road, Hope, Maine  04847. If you would like to learn more about the project by having Mike call or email you, please be in touch with him at mike@bishopswood.org. Congregations are encouraged to share this notice in their bulletins, newsletters, and announcements. Click here for a ready-to-print bulletin insert.

 

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Filed under Camp Bishopswood, Diocesan Life, Faith Development, Youth and Young Adults

Creating a sheltered center with Ashes to Go

On Ash Wednesday, February 18, Maine churches offered dozens of services to mark the beginning of the season of Lent with the imposition of ashes. In five locations around the state, clergy and lay people shared God’s love with people they encountered on a street corner or in a parking lot. All those who took part were moved by the experience. Here are the stories and photos from several people who offered Ashes to Go in Brunswick, Farmington, Lewiston, Portland, and Windham.

Bishop Stephen Lane writes of his experience in Portland:

Bishop Lane and Canon Ambler listen to a young man at Monument Square.

Bishop Lane and Canon Ambler listen to a young man at Monument Square.

Today I had the privilege of sharing God’s love with folks in Portland’s Monument Square. From noon to 2, Michael Ambler and I prayed with and marked with ashes some 35 people who approached us and asked for some of our time. As each one came up we made a little circle, shared our names, and talked about what was on our hearts.

Those we prayed with were a remarkably diverse lot, of all ages and circumstances. Only two said there was nothing to pray about. The rest opened their hearts and shared deeply about their joys and sorrows. A young man in town for the day from New Jersey – and whose family was waiting in the car – asked to be a better father and to move closer to God, especially for the 15 month old in he car. A college student prayed for her sister who has Crohn’s disease and never smiles. A young mom asked prayers for her special needs daughter and her own efforts to do right by her. A homeless woman prayed for an apartment – and for her elderly mother in the hospital. A church goer who had forgotten today was Ash Wednesday asked prayers for her husband, who “just had a stroke.” Several people wished us to pray for peace – here and everywhere.

I was deeply moved by the experience. No one seemed to be running from the truth of life in this world. Everyone seemed pretty clear about mortality and sin. Some were church folks; some were not. And in the moment, each reached for community, for understanding, for a sign that God knows what it’s all about – and cares.

We do have great gifts to offer the world. I’m thankful for the chance to share God’s love and to be reminded how good it is.

The Rev. Cn. Michael Ambler was at Monument Square with Bishop Steve. He writes:

I was especially moved by how open people were willing to be about what’s going on in their lives.  We joined people in prayer for peace, for family members, for housing and stability, as well as in prayers of thanks for a great life.  We always know, when we pause to remember, that everyone passing us on the street has a story; but what a privilege to get a moment’s invitation to hear and pray about people’s lives.
It was also just great to have two of us there:  that meant that when someone came to receive ashes, we could form a little triangle, a space with a sheltered center. 
The Rev. Tim Higgins, rector of St. Ann’s, Windham staked out the parking lot at the Windham P.O. with Deacon Wendy Rozene. He writes:
Ash Wednesday has become for me one of the most fulfilling ministry days of the year. There is something about being in community where our folks live and work and offering them a true service of the Church, praying with folk and talking about the Episcopal Church in Windham and beyond. I am grateful to God for this opportunity and I realize that it could be the start of some other “ministry of presence” in the community.

Deacon Wendy Rozene talks with with a young man at Ashes to Go in 2014.

Deacon Wendy Rozene talks with a young man at the Windham post office in 2014.in the community where our folks live and work and offering them a true service of the Church, praying with folk and talking about the Episcopal Church in Windham and beyond. I am grateful to God for this opportunity and I realize that it could be the start of some other “ministry of presence” in the community.

We had little children with moms as well as elderly folk in their vehicle who couldn’t get out and we provided them “drive thru ashes.” We also offered “Ashes on the Go” to a Church member, accountant, who asked if I would stop by his office because he couldn’t make our service tonight.
One gentleman remarked,” this idea has inspired me so much that I’m NOT going to take Ashes to Go but I’m going to make the effort to go to Church tonight instead.” Amen! Isn’t that why we do what we do?
The Rev. Larry Weeks, rector of Trinity and priest in charge of St. Peter’s, Portland, took the morning shift at Monument Square with Dean Ben Shambaugh and Deacon Dick Rasner of St. Luke’s Cathedral. Larry, who has taken the lead on Ashes to Go since 2012, had this to say:

It was as usual a rare privilege to be with people. I find something revealing about the physicality of the ashes and imposing them, a holy spot is found.

A family of 4 kids and a mom brought over their grandfather, who prayed for his family, standing just behind him, beaming. Only the grandfather wanted ashes, and as they walked off, one of the grandchildren said, “See, I told you we would find a church.” We were a church! Wow.

Brenda Holman and the Rev. Tim Walmer on Main Street in Farmington

Brenda Holman and the Rev. Tim Walmer on Main Street in Farmington

The Rev. Tim Walmer of St. Luke’s, Wilton, and St. Barnabas’, Rumford, offered Ashes to Go for the first time in downtown Farmington. He was accompanied by St. Luke’s member Brenda Holman. Tim writes:

St. Luke’s secretary dropped by with her two children, and the oldest (aged 11) was reluctant. I told him No problem; you don’t have to.  Five minutes later he got out of the car and said, “I’ve changed my mind.”
One of our folks was with me, and we handed out cards with the prayer, “Life is short and we have not much time to gladden the hearts of those who walk the way with us; so be swift to love, make haste to be kind.”
All in all a moving experience, in part because we found ourselves doing something outside of our comfort zone.
St. Paul's, Brunswick, parishioner Jane Burke get ready to accompany Deacon Chick Carroll to offer Ashes to Go at the local soup kitchen.

St. Paul’s, Brunswick, parishioner Jane Burke get ready to accompany Deacon Chick Carroll to offer Ashes to Go at the local soup kitchen.

The Rev. Mary Lee Wile of St. Paul’s, Brunswick reports:

St. Paul’s sent five parishioners and two deacons out to four locations around Brunswick: the Soup Kitchen, Bowdoin College, the corner of Maine and Pleasant Streets, and (new this year, arranged by one of our parishioners) Midcoast Hospital. Total recipients of ashes and prayers = somewhere over 50. 

A story: a Jewish gentleman came back three times to talk about ashes in Hebrew Scripture, to thank us for being a public witness, and to listen in when someone requested ashes. Although he didn’t receive ashes himself, he said, “I like that prayer.” 
Klara Tammany, director of the Women’s Wisdom Center and member of Trinity, Lewiston, took Ashes to Go to Kennedy Park while the Rev. Steve Crowson shared Ashes to Go at the Trinity Jubilee Center. Klara writes:
Pat (a Methodist parishioner and clergy ordained through ChIME – the Chaplaincy Institute of Maine) and I were in Kennedy Park.  We used the traditional “Remember that you are made from dust and to you shall return.” but added at Pat’s suggestion “And remember that God loves you, now matter what.” 
 
We also asked if there were any prayer needs.  Several did request – one from a young man was for a friend who had died just three days prior. 
 
Another older couple came to us, walking hand in hand, having read about us in the paper.  They said they were Roman Catholic, and people had told them they should not come to us because we were not, but since the local St. Pat’s was now closed, they saw no reason not to come to us because they wanted to receive ashes and it was the only way they could do so.  They thanked us for being there. 
 
After we left the park, I took ashes to the women’s center.  A group of women who wanted to receive ashes, gathered in our meditation room.  A couple had never done this before. All were touched and thankful.

 

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Filed under Diocesan Life, Faith Development, From the Bishop, Ministry and Outreach, Ministry Storytelling

One week: five offerings

Learn about the struggles of daily life in people in Gaza…
Navigate the intricacies of filling out the Parochial Report…
Join a spirited conversation covering strategic thinking in Maine churches…
Share your stories (or learn more) about Godly Play…

Between Thursday, February 5, and Thursday, February 12, the Diocese of Maine will offer five events on WebEx,  the web conferencing service that allows us to gather Maine Episcopalians from all corners of the state to learn and share ideas without leaving home!

There is no need to register for any of the events. To participate in any of these sessions, simply visit the web link episcopalmaine.webex.com a few minutes before the session is scheduled to start, click on the meeting title and the “Join” button, then follow the prompts.

See the list below for a descriptions of each session:

Thursday, February 5, at 7:30 p.m.
Eyewitness to Gaza” with the Rev. Bob and Maurine Tobin
The Tobins of Deer Isle had opportunity in December 2014 to enter Gaza to visit Al Ahli Arab Hospital, an institution of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem (and supported by the Diocese of Maine), and to view the devastation resulting from the Israeli summer war on Gaza. (Read the Tobin’s updated account of their trip here.)

Via WebEx they will share their eyewitness experiences on Thursday, February 5, at 7:30 p.m. with commentary, photos, and brief videos that highlight both the catastrophic conditions under which Gazans are living and the extraordinary medical and psycho-social care provided by the Christian and Muslim staff of this remarkable hospital.  To learn more, visit episcopalmaine.webex.com.

Monday, February 9, at 7 p.m.
Stewardship workshop with Lisa Meeder Turnbull
Diocesan Stewardship Consultant Lisa Meeder Turnbull will lead a session on Monday, February 9, at 7 p.m. She will cover the topic “Strategic Thinking.”    To join the conversation, visit episcopalmaine.webex.com.

Tuesday, February 10, at 7 p.m.
Thursday, February 12, at 7 p.m. (repeat)
Take a Walk through the Parochial Report with Canon for Finance and Stewardship Terry Reimer
 Canon for Finance and Stewardship, Terry Reimer, will offer two sessions by WebEx to walk church leaders through the steps to fill out the Parochial Report. Choose either Tuesday, February 10, or Thursday, February 12. Both sessions will begin at 7 p.m. and last one hour, including time for Q&A. Go to episcopalmaine.webex.com shortly before 7 p.m. to be ready for a prompt start.

Wednesday, February 11, at 6 p.m.
Godly Play Storytelling Circle gathers at St. Ann’s, Windham, and online
On Wednesday, February 11, all are welcome to gather for a Godly Play session at 6 p.m. at St. Ann’s in Windham. Participants may also join from home through WebEx by visiting episcopalmaine.webex.com.

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Filed under Diocesan Life, Faith Development, Ministry and Outreach, Social Justice, Stewardship, Training and Education Events

Seriously grown-ups: these kids can pray you under the table

By Liz Graves
St. Saviour’s, Bar Harbor

Liz Graves

Liz Graves

“Who knows how the awareness of God’s love first hits people?” Frederick Buechner wrote. “Some moment happens in your life that you say yes, right to the roots of your hair, that makes it worth having been born just to have happen.”

When high school teens and adults from across Maine, and a few from New Hampshire, converged at Trinity Church in Portland in February for the annual diocesan “Teens Encounter Christ” (TEC) high school weekend retreat, there were a lot of those moments.

We gathered on a Friday night for music and the parish hall was packed. More than 30 high school participants and 11 teen staff were led by two co-“rectors” of the retreat, CJ Wallace of St. Ann’s, Windham, and Kate Rogers of Trinity.

Building a safe, close community to experience and share those “yes!” moments is what youth ministry is all about.

“I told [the teen staff] that we have to be a team during this weekend, all of us, and that part of being a team is watching out for each other and making sure we leave no one behind,” CJ said in an email after the retreat. “Then I just tried to lead by example. It wasn’t easy, because I’m not really as outgoing as I probably appeared, but I was the leader so it was my duty to show everyone where I wanted this weekend to go.”

More than 20 adults were mixed in, too—some had brought teens with them, some wanted to learn about the program and try to start another one elsewhere. As a member of Diocesan Council, I, too, wanted to learn more and offer support to youth ministry in the diocese.

As a former youth minister and Episcopal camp leader, I had heard that the “Teens Encounter Christ” retreat was similar to “Happening” retreats that draw inspiration from Cursillo. I didn’t know what to expect.

The core group of volunteers who developed this retreat in Maine and have shepherded it through its long life had an uphill climb this year following Diocesan staff restructuring.

Despite those challenges, I was blown away by the effectiveness of the retreat. Youth and young adult leaders leading worship and giving short talks spoke from deep conviction and experience. The structure of small group discussion builds towards a powerful healing prayer service Sunday morning.

“You get to meet a lot of people and some of them are incredibly intelligent and thoughtful when it comes to God,” CJ said. “These events are fun and provide a safe environment for everyone no matter your background. I hope the participants came away knowing that Jesus is that friend who will help you out anytime anywhere. That is incredibly important.”

Seriously, grown-ups: these kids can pray you under the table.

 

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Filed under Diocesan Life, Faith Development, Trinity Portland, Youth and Young Adults

Super affordable Godly Play training comes to Maine

GodlyPlayLogoNewJoin people from churches all over our diocese for a weekend of exploring spirituality of children at Godly Play training on June 27-29.  It will also be a spiritual experience for you!

A large, one-time grant from the diocesan New Initiatives Fund enables us to have three nationally-known trainers and to reduce the usual $295 fee down to $50 per person.  The three-day training will be located at the church of St. Mary in Falmouth on Friday June 27 from 3:00p – 9:00p, Saturday June 28 from 8:00a to 5:00p and Sunday June 29 from 9:00a to 5:00p.

Register before June 5 for the $50 rate. Here are the registration sites for Core Training and for Advanced Training. (These sites also have more detailed information.)

If you would like childcare, contact Jenn Davidson  (from St. George’s) before June 5.  To arrange for housing or to offer housing, contact Emily Keniston (from St. Ann’s) before June 5. To borrow books, contact Canon Jane Hartwell.

We’re offering this training because although there are lots of things you can learn from a lecture, Godly Play is best learned from the inside out.  You will experience and learn to tell biblical stories in a collegial, prayerful setting.  Godly Play Foundation’s talented trainers will deepen your understanding of children’s spirituality while guiding you on a personal journey of wonder.  By exploring the fundamental foundations of a Godly Play class with us, you will improve your teaching skills, learn how to build a classroom of your own and leave spiritually refreshed.

Are you wondering about Godly Play?  Godly Play is probably one of the best programs that a church can offer for children ages 3-10.  It is used in churches all over our diocese.

Godly Play is a creative and imaginative approach to Christian nurture.  The curriculum provides the stories and language for children to explore and articulate their experiences of God, and to become part of a worshiping community. It’s Montessori-based and is used in Sunday schools, homes for the elderly and churches.  Godly Play invites listeners into biblical and sacramental stories and encourages them to connect the stories with personal experience.  It uses symbols and objects as well as words.  Godly Play invites kids and adults into a larger dimension of relationship with God through wondering questions and open-ended response time.

If you have questions, contact Emily Keniston, Chairperson of Maine Episcopal Christian Ed Collaboration.

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Filed under Faith Development, Fun, Saint Mary Falmouth, Training and Education Events

Dream Teams: a new discernment option for lay people

by Darreby Ambler
Grace Church, Bath

“The place God calls you to is where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”  – Frederick Buechner

Back when my husband Michael Ambler was considering ordination, a wonderful thing happened to him: his discernment group. Here was a kindly disposed group of people on his side, helping him figure out his gifts as he clarified his mission in life. I thought, how wonderful would that be for any Christian, not just the ones seeking ordination?

Fall 2013 group from St. George's, Sanford

Fall 2013 group from St. George’s, Sanford

Inspired in part by his experience, I developed Dream Teams, small groups of people who meet together to listen carefully to each other, help discern where God is tugging each person next, and then walk alongside each other as they take concrete steps to follow that call. Following a weekend discernment retreat, there are 8 action meetings, scheduled every week or two at the convenience of the team members. During and between those 8 meetings teammates help each other bring a new gift or goal to life,  providing all the encouragement, accountability, and good humor that it takes.

After launching several teams for the Diocese of Colorado, this year I have brought my work home to Maine. Last fall I led a retreat at St. George’s in Sanford, where eight women are pursuing a wide range of goals. Becoming a police chaplain, turning a quilting passion into a business, finding a safe place for homeless young people in town – their goals are as diverse as they are. A grandmother with a flair for creative writing is composing a series of letters to her grandson from an imaginary animal friend to help him through a rough time. With a regular job and a life full of obligations, she particularly likes the fact that the goals are pursued in small steps. “The commitment to your team means you take that little bit of time to be creative. You can be very busy, but still accomplish your goal.”  The Reverend Susan Murphy, rector of St. George’s, was open to try something new when I approached her last summer. Now that she has seen the group in action she says, “The people involved have all stated it has been life changing, and the support and care of each other goes way beyond ‘coffee house conversations.’ They minister to one another, pray deeply together  and are encouraging others. The energy they have used and gained has helped all of us…The enthusiasm from this first group has spread to others in the  congregation!”

March 2014 team from St. Bart's, Yarmouth

March 2014 team from St. Bart’s, Yarmouth

This winter there are three new teams in the midcoast area, seven teammates from St. Bart’s in Yarmouth, and two teams of six from Grace Church in Bath. Again, our gifts and the dreams that come from them are inspiring in their diversity: tutor high schoolers in writing, get my medical invention affordable and into the hands of local people, write a historical mystery, finish a college degree (and get the coveted Maine Black Bears license plate!), start a camp for new writers, bring Lent Madness to my congregation.

It is important to note that Dream Teams are not a substitute for prayer or Godly counsel. Instead, they are a technique for helping people of faith move forward along their chosen path, and bring their own ministries and passions to life.  And the fellowship they build along the way is as important as the goals themselves. Says Connie Butson-Halterman, owner of the Bath Book Shop, “The teams offer a time to get to know old friends in a a deeper way, and to meet new ones with their own unique gifts.”

If I’ve managed to intrigue you, please go to my website www.dreamteams.net. (I lead secular teams as well, so of particular interest to you might be the tab: Find a Team in the Episcopal Church.)

To clergy in particular the Rev. Susan Murphy of St. George’s, Sanford, adds, “If you are willing to be open to surprises of God’s grace and help your people grow deeper in faith I would encourage you to look into Dream Teams.”

darrebyambler@gmail.com
www.dreamteams.net

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Filed under Faith Development, Grace Church Bath, Ministry and Outreach, St. Bart's Yarmout, St. George's Sanford

Diocesan Council awards three New Initiative Fund grants

At its February 1 meeting at St. Martin’s in Palmyra, Diocesan Council considered grant applications for the 2014 New Initiative Fund and made three awards. In its fourth year, the NIF program awards Maine congregations with funding for start-up ministries or new programs within existing ministries. Funds come from two sources: $10,000 from the 2014 diocesan budget approved at Convention and up to $15,000 from income from the Foundations for Ministry endowment, a capital campaign effort in the 1990s.

St. Peter’s, Bridgton, was awarded $2,400 to support its Women’s Initiative. St. Peter’s Women’s Initiative is for all women, especially low income women, in the Bridgton and surrounding areas to participate in mentoring and support in the areas of employment skills, health and wellness, and other areas on a weekly basis. Leaders are volunteers from the parish and offer their many gifts and talents. The leaders of the group will offer education and emotional support for women going through transitions in their lives. The initiative will work with others groups and professionals in the community such as the Bridgton Community Center as well as area physicians and other churches for referrals.

St. George’s, York Harbor, was awarded $4,000 to support mentor training for The Stockell Program. This community program will work with at-risk young adults between 17 – 20 years old to allow them to achieve their full potential as healthy and well-adjusted individuals. This will be achieved through assessment programs that identify needs, offer workplace intervention, housing options, mentoring, counseling, and transition services.

The Diocese of Maine Christian Ed Collaboration was awarded $6,700 to train Maine Episcopalians to become Godly Play trainers and to host training events in Maine each year. In recent years three Maine congregations tried to host Godly Play trainings with mixed results, primarily due to the overwhelming cost of bringing trainers to Maine. Currently, the only option for Godly Play training is to drive to Massachusetts, which is not practical for most parishioners. Four churches (St. Ann’s, Windham; Saint Mary’s, Falmouth; St. Columba’s, Boothbay Harbor; and St. George’s, York Harbor) are collaborating to host one set of Maine trainings each year, with each church rotating hosting duties and hospitality costs.  This will also allow smaller parishes the opportunity to send teachers for training without worrying about added costs incurred by traveling out of state for a weekend.

Council to offer second round of New Initiative Grant funding in 2014

Diocesan Council also approved a second round of grant funding for the fall of 2014. Recognizing that new ideas for ministry can emerge throughout the year, Council will publish an application for the second round after its next meeting on May 16-17. The deadline for applications will be September 1. Start now to think about new ministry possibilities for your church or community.

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Filed under Diocesan Council, Diocesan Life, Faith Development, Ministry and Outreach

Mainers learn about “life-wide” learning at national conference

by Emily Ainsworth Keniston
Director of Christian Education
St. Ann’s, Windham

Kim Wallace, St. Ann's, Windham; Julie Morrison, Saint Mary's, Falmouth; Canon Missioner Jane Hartwell; Emily Keniston (with Meredith), St. Ann's, Windham; Deacon Bob Landry, St. Andrew's, Millinocket; Sherry Sivret, St. Anne's, Calais; Ryan and Amber Corum, St. Matthew's, Hallowell; the Rev. Kelly Moughty, St. Alban's, Cape Elizabeth, and St. Peter's, Portland.

Kim Wallace, St. Ann’s, Windham; Julie Morrison, Saint Mary’s, Falmouth; Canon Missioner Jane Hartwell; Emily Keniston (with Meredith), St. Ann’s, Windham; Deacon Bob Landry, St. Andrew’s, Millinocket; Sherry Sivret, St. Anne’s, Calais; Ryan and Amber Corum, St. Matthew’s, Hallowell; the Rev. Kelly Moughty, St. Alban’s, Cape Elizabeth, and St. Peter’s, Portland.

Change has been abundant in the Diocese of Maine recently. Many programs have been scaled back, jobs have been dissolved or reshaped, and many have felt the pinch of “going without” services they have previously enjoyed. It’s been a difficult time for many, but also a time to refocus and reinvent. It’s been a time to rely upon one another, and on God. 

For three days in January, that’s just what some Episcopalians from the Diocese of Maine did, myself included. Relying upon scholarships from the Wolf Fund and a generous donation, nine Mainers traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in a national conference of Episcopal formation called FORMA. We were an eclectic group of faith formation directors, clergy, youth program volunteers, diocesan staff and youth group leaders, representing congregations in Calais, Portland, Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth, Hallowell, and Millinocket. Though we all play different roles in our respective churches, we were all there in DC to participate in the FORMA conference with one purpose: to explore new ways to bring people into the body of Christ.

And explore, we did! By splitting up workshop attendance amongst us, we were able to optimize information gathering. Some attended the workshop on confirmation, others on using music in ministry, others learned about using social media in the Church, and still others explored the use of hybrid online and small group learning for adults.  Regardless of workshop choice, each of us was able to attend a keynote address and three plenary sessions by well-known Episcopal scholars, Lisa Kimball and Patricia Lyons. The theme of the conference was “The Once and Future Church,” thus we spent considerable time reflecting upon the characteristics of people living in American society today, and what the implications might be for furthering our ministry amidst modern culture. We discussed cultural icons, the seemingly insatiable interest in “gaming” in our society, and the importance of the “epic” journey Christians are offered through our faith. (In other words, “Hey, American culture! You want EPIC? Forget Nintendo- try the invitation to live life for Christ! THAT’S epic!”)

Of course, as our discussion led us to the point when the promise of eternal life didn’t seem sufficient to fully express what our faith offers us in each individual moment of our lives, our conversation turned to the idea of  “life wide” faith formation, as opposed to the more traditional idea of “life long.” Often challenged by the idea that we Christians live out our days with the promise of one day achieving eternal life, Kimball and Turner suggested taking a slightly different approach: inviting others to experience a Christian life by focusing on how faith improves the quality of our lives right now. How faith will help us to give with compassion, find comfort in difficult times, and to experience a depth and vibrancy in life which is absent from secular activity. We were impressed, and ready to leave Washington to begin a new ministry helping others to live “life wide” moments.

We’ve since returned home to Maine and are still ablaze with excitement to share what we’ve learned; to begin conversations where there hadn’t been any, to create collaborative ventures where one church can’t stand alone, to grown in knowledge and faith as believers and members of the body of Christ.

Learn more about FORMA: Partnering to Inspire Christian Formation at episcoforma.org

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Filed under Faith Development, Training and Education Events

Social media resources from the Rev. Kelly Moughty

Kelly Moughty held two well-attended workshops on social media basics at Point Lookout on Friday morning before the start of Convention.

Kelly Moughty held two well-attended workshops on social media basics at Point Lookout on Friday morning before the start of Convention.

Social media platforms are the latest in a long line of tools we’ve been given to invite people into conversations about their faith and their lives.  The world of social media can seem intimidating and time-consuming, but the web is full of advice, hints, and platforms that can help you provide your congregation with formational content managed in a time-sensitive way.

The following presentation was given by the Rev. Kelly Moughty, assistant priest at St. Peter’s, Portland, and St. Alban’s, Cape Elizabeth, at Maine’s 194th Diocesan Convention to give congregational leaders a basic introduction to the primary social media platforms.
Download the presentation: Social Media Basics
Other helpful links:

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Filed under Diocesan Convention, Faith Development, Ministry and Outreach, Training and Education Events