Category Archives: Fun

A parish retreat at Bishopswood builds bonds of connection

by Kirsten Lowell
St. Ann’s, Windham

IMG_9793Moments of solitude, moments of fellowship, moments of peace, and moments of laughter. Moments like these were enjoyed throughout the woods of Camp Bishopswood in Hope over Labor Day weekend. More than 50 members of the St. Ann’s community in Windham gathered at beautiful Camp Bishopswood for a weekend of play, relaxation, discussion, learning, and worship. There were parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren, friends new and old.

The discussion over the course of the weekend focused on a video by Brené Brown, “The Power of Vulnerability,” which deals with the topics of courage, compassion, and connection. We learned about love and how it can, at times, seem harder than we originally thought. We gained courage to be vulnerable with one another and grow deeper in connection with each other. We showed compassion throughout the weekend by lending a helping hand, offering encouragement, and unconditionally loving one another. We connected through meals, focus groups, living in cabins together, playing games, and worship.

We no longer were strangers, or someone we simply said hello to on Sunday mornings. We left each discussion time with a better understanding of where we each come from and where we are currently.

The youth led a magnificent worship service for us including readings, dance, and music. They worked so beautifully st. anns retreattogether to create a worship service where there was a little bit of something for everyone. It was wonderful to see the youth use their talents to praise God and bring joy into the lives of others. On Sunday morning we enjoyed Eucharist in the chapel overlooking the beautiful lake. During this time we had come together in prayer during a healing service and prayer circles, at which point a young child, just three years old, joined in prayer and laying of hands for his mother. The power of prayer felt throughout the chapel was definitely something all present will remember for quite some time.

The weather was extremely cooperative, which allowed for some extended outdoor play Sunday afternoon. Each of the kayaks and canoes was put to good use by young and old alike, exploring the beautiful Lake Megunticook. A few were even brave enough to try their hand at paddle boarding, some more successfully than others.

IMG_9792Having Camp Bishopswood as a place for retreat from daily life allowed for some reflective alone time for many as well. Some enjoyed their time at Chapel Rocks, others enjoyed time sitting on the Great Hall Porch rocking away in the rocking chairs.

Camp is a place where age does not matter, and St. Ann’s weekend retreat truly reflected that. It was a time when teens and youth were placed in the same discussion groups with the elders of the church. It was a time when each person served one another, both at meal times and in worship. Each person laughed as we roasted marshmallows around a lakeside campfire and many of us stayed up late chatting in the cabins.

Not only did we learn about courage, compassion, and connection, we used the weekend together as a time to put these three things into practice along with the hopes of bringing them back to the rest of the St. Ann’s community who could not join us for the retreat.

We used our time together in focus groups and in play to truly build long lasting friendships and relationships. Folks are already looking forward to next year’s retreat!

Comments Off on A parish retreat at Bishopswood builds bonds of connection

Filed under Camp Bishopswood, Diocesan Life, Fun, St. Ann's Windham

What about BION?

Boys at BION

Boys at BION

BION is a five-day camp for kids in grades 6-12 at Bishopswood and led by Maine Episcopal Youth Events.Fifty four teens were at BION in August. Campers in the six cabins were each given different topics to comment on. Here’s what they had to say:

“The experience at BION was fun; it was also a wonderful way to connect with God. The cooks prepared amazing food. During worship we had laughs but also became spiritually more mature. There were a variety of activities that we enjoyed with our friends.”

“Some of our favorite activities were: Ultimate frisbee, theatre games, paracord bracelets, swimming and noodle hockey.”

BION 3 036

Girls at BION

“We enjoyed the focus group called Arts & Creation because it gave us a chance to be creative while learning about God. We also enjoyed the focus group Scraps of Scripture because we got to find Bible quotes and bring them home to keep. As always, High School Huddle was awesome because it gave us a chance to connect with people our own age on a deeper level and talk about things we’re all going through.”

“We love upbeat songs like Prince of Peace, Big House, I Am the Resurrection, and Fear Not because they have hand motions and they pump us up. We also like the slow songs like Sanctuary because of the harmonies and they help us to get in the mood for worship.”

“We had a ton of fun as new campers. We liked that the cabins were very clean when we arrived. We had a lot of fun during rest hour. We are all coming back next year to BION Camp and bringing friends!”

The next BION Camp will be August 18-22, 2015. See more at

Comments Off on What about BION?

Filed under Camp Bishopswood, Fun, 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.

Comments Off on Super affordable Godly Play training comes to Maine

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

A Maine Benedicite

Rediscovered in the Summer 2009 edition of The Northeast when looking for something else:

The Rev. John Rafter, rector of St. Thomas, Camden, composed this canticle or benedicite for the opening of the Maine State Senate on June 2, 2009.

So lovely and wonderful.  Thank you, John.

O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord;
Praise him and magnify him forever.

Brilliant-lighted day and dark, enfolding night;
Running sap and clinging mud;
Summer sky and autumn leaf;
Bless ye the Lord.

Island of granite and meadow of grass;
Flooding river and shimmering lake;
Berry-covered mountain and organic farm;
Bless ye the Lord.

Crying loon and scolding crow;
Diving hawk and wheeling gull;
Majestic moose and Belted Galloway;
Bless ye the Lord.

Mill-town and city and unemployed worker;
Wilderness and village and summer hiker;
Resident of Mexico and China and Peru;
Bless ye the Lord.

Merchant and tourist;
Artist and laborer;
Lobsterman and student;
Bless ye the Lord.

Newly-arrived immigrant and native-born Mainer;
Writer of laws and worker for justice;
All people in all places;
Bless ye the Lord.

O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord;
Praise him and magnify him forever.

1 Comment

Filed under Diocesan Life, Fun, our island home, St. Thomas' Camden

Welcome Advent

Between today and December 24 follow Trinity Wall Street’s online Advent calendar, Light Breaks. Each day a new window will open with Advent reflections, video and a chance to share your response. Visit by clicking the image below:

Comments Off on Welcome Advent

Filed under Faith Development, Fun

A Creative Stewardship Idea

A way to raise funds at your church’s next silent auction?

(hat/tip – the Rev. Scott Gunn of Christ Church, Lincoln, RI)


Comments Off on A Creative Stewardship Idea

Filed under Fun, Stewardship