Category Archives: St. Luke’s Cathedral

March 12 Workshop: Engaging in Public Life as Christians

original-4636-10657629The Maine Episcopal Network for Justice invites Maine Episcopalians to faith-based advocacy workshop at St. Luke’s Cathedral in Portland on Saturday, March 12, from 10 a.m to 2 p.m.

“Engaging in Public Life as Christians: A Faith-Based Advocacy Workshop,”  will offer four interactive sessions. Topics include: examining assumptions about the relationship between religion and democracy, a walk through the Maine legislative process, case studies on issues that will appear on the 2016 ballot, and practical steps to engage as individuals and churches. Free refreshments and a boxed lunch!

Please find an outline of the day below.

Because attendance is limited to 40 and lunch is provided, registration  is required. Please register at

Download a copy of the event flyer here, MENJ-March 12 workshop

10 a.m. – Dr. Elizabeth Parsons Elizabeth Parsons photo

Liz will examine some prevalent assumptions about the relationship between religion and democracy in the United States and propose a way of seeing the world that shows why thoughtful Christian engagement is vital to our public life.

Part 1:   Revisiting the founders’ thinking about religion and governance
Part 2:   Thinking like Anglicans in the public square today

Elizabeth C. Parsons is an educator, activist, former ECUSA missioner to Southern Africa, and a member of St. Luke’s Cathedral. She holds the M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School and the Ph.D. in theology and development from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. She currently teaches at Boston University School of Theology. 

joanne11:15 a.m. – Joanne D’Arcangelo – Former Chief of Staff to Speaker of the House

By sharing engaging examples and defining terms, Joanne will unpack the legislative process in the Maine State House.

Joanne D’Arcangelo, owner of JD’A Consulting, an advocacy, political, and organizational consultant with over twenty-five years’ experience in public policy development, legislative advocacy, voter education, and organizational planning, coaching and support. She served as chief of staff to the Speaker of the Maine House during the 122nd Legislature.

12:15 p.m. – Working Lunch with Case Studies from the 2016 Ballot:
These sessions led by campaign leaders will show how grassroots campaigns work.

      • Gun Safety  – Maine Moms Demand Action
      • Fair Wage Maine – Amy Halsted of Maine People’s Alliance

johnhennessy11 p.m. – John Hennessy

This interactive session will focus how to frame a message and narrative to demonstrate our values and how to taking action rooted in Christian practices. John will also share the scope, plans, and aspirations of the Maine Episcopal Network for Justice going forward.

John Hennessy is the Director of the MENJ. He has extensive experience advocating for non-profit social service organizations in Augusta and Washington, DC. His clients have included: Maine Community Action Association, Disability Rights Center of Maine, Maine AIDS Alliance, and AARP among others. In his new role, he is eager to help organize people of faith to enable them to contribute all of their unique gifts and resources to the broader movement for justice in our state.

Space is limited, so please register today!

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Bishop Steve’s welcome to Convention: “This will be a good time.”

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Deputy of the Day – Ben Shambaugh

by the Very Rev. Ben Shambaugh
Cathedral Church of St. Luke, Portland

General Convention Begins

Dean Ben Shambaugh

Dean Ben Shambaugh

Here we are. After two days of travel, orientation, committee meetings and training, our people, our iPads, and even some of resolutions are ready.   Today – Thursday –  General convention officially begins.

General Convention is the legislative and chief governing body for the Episcopal Church. With more than 1,000 people from all corners of the world — including a wonderful group from Maine — it is well up to the task of prayerfully considering and debating the legislation put before it.  General Convention, however, is much more than that. General Convention is a time of reunion, revival, reconciliation, and renewal. It is the church in action and a model of how our churches, our congregations, could be.

Within a day of being here, I have run into cathedral deans, reconnected with seminary classmates, seen people from every place I have lived and almost every conference I have attended. At an Integrity reception, I was thanked for St. Luke’s work on marriage equality. At the Verger’s exhibit table, I was asked to bring greetings back to the “Davids.” When I ran into a musician from the Diocese of Chicago, he started gushing about the music he had experienced at the cathedral in Portland. The dean of the Seminary of the Southwest did the same about worship she had attended in Portland just a few weeks ago. Every time I walk down the hall, I see familiar faces – and strangers that by the end of the convention will be friends.

It is a reunion. It is also a revival. Yesterday, we spent the afternoon listening to the four candidates for Presiding Bishop (more on that here). Each was realistic about the struggles the church and our world are facing.  Each, however, was profoundly excited about our future and the future of the Episcopal Church. Each was passionate about sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ that the world desperately needs to hear.  Though we had been told not to clap, their words brought tears and cheers. Like the many times of worship and prayer that will happen this week, their presentations brought us back to God, helped us experience the presence of the Holy Spirit, and told us that Jesus Christ — and his church — is very much alive.

While some are enthusiastic about progress being made and feel that change has been too slow and too long in coming, others feel that things are going too fast and that their church and their society has left them behind. Some want the church to be prophetic and lead. Others want the church to be a place of safety and peace. I co-chair my subcommittee with a bishop who disagrees with me on almost every issue. Chatting with him during a break,  I discovered that he is very familiar with the small town in Illinois where many of my relatives came from and that we share some things in common.  Later that day, when our group got into a bit of a muddle, he smiled and turned the leadership over to me.  By bringing people together, General Convention creates opportunities for reconciliation — opportunities to live out the Episcopal Church’s mission to “restore all people to unity with God and each other through Jesus Christ.”

The Deputy of the Day hat must be worn.

The Deputy of the Day hat must be worn.

And if it is about reconciliation, General Convention is about renewal. It is clear that in many ways and many places, the old ways of being and doing church are no longer working.  As part of General Convention, we will be discussing new paradigms for structure and governance, finances and investment, the role of bishops and the training of lay people and clergy. We will be considering new resources for worship and music, striving to truly open all sacraments to all people, and tackling a variety of concerns.

All this is part of re-imagining the Episcopal Church,  discerning God’s vision and plan for our future, and designing a structure that will best help us get there. As one bishop said: “this Jesus thing is real.” With this in mind, another bishop asked “What do you love so much that it is getting in the way of sharing the Good News?” Where is God leading us? Profound questions.  I pray that in this time of reunion, revival, reconciliation and renewal we call General Convention the answers will become clear.  I pray that in the times of reunion, revival, reconciliation and renewal in we experience in our own congregations they will as well.

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Deputy of the Day – Anna Foster

Today’s Deputy of the Day is a member of the Official Youth Presence at General Convention. Anna Foster, a member of St. Luke’s Cathedral in Portland, and a recent graduate of South Portland High School, is one of 18 young people from across The Episcopal Church chosen through a competitive process to be involved in General Convention. Yay, Anna!

by Anna Foster


Anna Foster

Walking into the Salt Palace today, the fact that I was going to be attending General Convention finally hit me. There are many different aspects of Convention that are very exciting. There are endless things to do and people to meet, and it’s all set in beautiful Salt Lake City. It may have been the first day, but it was not a slow start. From early committee meetings, to learning how to navigate the Blue Book on the iPads, the day was jam packed. However it was also very fulfilling. Listening to the Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Katherine Jeffers Schori, and the President of the House of Deputy, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings reminded me of all the amazing opportunities available to me here. I’m excited to work with my fellow Official Youth Presence members to discern and speak about many of the issues and changes facing the church. Listening to the words of the candidates for Presiding Bishop was an enriching experience and added to the excitement.

There are so many exciting things in store for me, and I feel so blessed to have this opportunity. I can’t wait to experience it all with God in my heart and amazing people surrounding me.

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Presiding Bishop’s celebrates with the people of Saint Mary’s, Falmouth, on their 125th anniversary


Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori engages in conversation with Matt Bear-Fowler, a member of St. Matthew’s, Hallowell

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, visited the Diocese of Maine over the weekend. On Saturday about 165 people from across the diocese gathered at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke in Portland for her talk about “Change and the Church” and to engage in a town hall-style question and answer session.

For an hour Bishop Jefferts Schori fielded questions about a wide range of issues such as youth engagement with the church, the Cursillo movement, ministry in Haiti, the importance of telling our faith stories, and inclusion of people with disabilities.

Also included in the day was a short worship service to give thanks for her ministry as presiding bishop as her nine-year term comes to an end in November 2015. A new presiding bishop will be elected on June 27 at the upcoming General Convention in Salt Lake City. The nominees for that election will be announced by Episcopal News Service on Friday, May 1.

Click here for a photo album of her visit to Maine.


Bishop Stephen Lane and Bishop Jefferts Schori begin to process at Saint Mary’s, Falmouth

On Sunday, Bishop Jefferts Schori joined Maine Bishop Stephen Lane, the Rev. Nathan Ferrell, rector of Saint Mary’s, Falmouth, and the people of Saint Mary’s for a worship service to mark the church’s 125th anniversary. Bishop Jefferts Schori preached and presided. In her sermon she make us of the day’s designation as Good Shepherd Sunday:

The sheep in this fold have all been called to help shepherd others. We all have one Good Shepherd, who asks us to come and follow, to seek the lost and serve the least. There will always be more sheep of other folds to discover, meet, befriend, feed, and heal. Sometimes that lost sheep is you or me. When we’re feeling lost, who brings us home again? It’s usually a friend or a loved one, who knows our name and says, come on, come in, come home, you are well loved, treasured, God’s own beloved.

17101727088_3beafffd72_zThe text of her sermon is available here.

After the worship serve Bishop Jefferts Schori gathered with members for another full hour of questions and answers.

Additional photos and video of her visit will be available soon.

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Bishop Lane offers Ashes to Go in Portland; Ashes to Go also in Windham, Brunswick, Lewiston and Farmington

Nina Pooley of St. Bart's, Yarmouth, and David Heald of St. Nick's, Scarborough, prayer with a man in the Old Port.

Nina Pooley of St. Bart’s, Yarmouth, and David Heald of St. Nick’s, Scarborough, pray with a man in the Old Port.

On Wednesday, February 18, a group Episcopal clergy, including the Rt. Rev. Stephen T. Lane, Bishop of Maine, will brave the snow to take the traditional Ash Wednesday practice of the imposition of ashes from inside of church buildings out to the people on the streets of Portland, Windham, Brunswick, Lewiston, and Farmington.

Started by Episcopal clergy in Chicago in 2007, Ashes to Go marks its fourth year in Maine communities. First offered on a commuter rail platform, the practice has spread to dozens of cities across the U.S.

“Not everyone is able to be in their church today. It’s a way of bringing the church’s presence outside a building and offering an opportunity for people to practice their faith as they go about their daily life and work,” said the Rev. Larry Weeks of Trinity Episcopal and St. Peter’s Episcopal Portland. In 2012 Weeks organized the first Ashes to Go in Portland. The first year more an 120 people availed themselves of the opportunity to receive ashes and a blessing.
Shirley Bowen offers ashes to a passerby at Monument Square.  Tim Higgins (left) and Peter Bowen look on. (Photo: Robert Bukaty/AP)

Shirley Bowen offers ashes to a passerby at Monument Square. Tim Higgins (left) and Peter Bowen look on. (Photo: Robert Bukaty/AP)

In Portland all who wish the imposition of ashes and a brief blessing are welcome at Monument Square from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dean Ben Shambaugh and Deacon Dick Rasner of St. Luke’s Cathedral and the Rev. Larry Weeks will be on hand from 10 a.m. to noon. Bishop Stephen Lane will take the noon to 2 p.m. “shift” in full Bishop vestments (though maybe with a warm hat under his mitre.)

In Windham the Rev. Tim Higgins and Deacon Wendy Rozene of St. Ann’s Episcopal will offer Ashes to Go at the Windham Post Office parking lot on Route 302 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In Farmington the Rev. Tim Walmer of St. Luke’s Episcopal in Wilton will offer Ashes to Go on Main Street near the Franklin Savings Bank from 12:15 to 1 p.m.

In Brunswick Deacon Chick Carroll of St. Paul’s Episcopal will offer Ashes to Go at 11 a.m. at the soup kitchen located at Midcoast Hunger Prevention on Union Street and at 1 p.m. in front of the Bowdoin College Chapel. The Rev. Carolyn Eklund and Deacon Mary Lee Wile will offer Ashes to Go from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. in front of the Tontine Mall at the corner of Pleasant and Maine Streets.

In Lewiston, the Rev. Steven Crowson of Trinity Episcopal will offer Ashes to Go at Kennedy Park at the corner of Bates and Spruce from 11 to 11:30 a.m. From noon to 12:30 Ashes to Go will be available at the opposite end of the park across from City Hall.

In the Christian tradition, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, the six weeks leading up to Easter. As a time of self-reflection for believers, Lent is often marked by prayer, penance, and charity.

The Rev. Tim Higgins, rector of St. Ann’s Episcopal Church in Windham, described his experience last year as “one of the coolest ministries I have ever been involved with.” He added,  “A jogger came through and stopped long enough to pray with us, receive his ashes and continue on his jog, while saying, ‘I’ve never done that before, thanks so much!’”

Weeks added, “We found that many people had forgotten that it was Ash Wednesday and welcomed the opportunity to receive ashes and a blessing. It’s high time we venture outside our church walls to offer hope and forgiveness and healing to people who may still have a spiritual hunger but aren’t so sure about Church.”

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Filed under Diocesan Life, St. Ann's Windham, St. Luke's Cathedral, St. Luke's Wilton, St. Paul's Brunswick, Trinity Lewiston, Trinity Portland

Awakening changes your life

by Maeghan Higgins, 11th grader
St. Ann’s, Windham

On the weekend of November 14-16th, over sixty people gathered together at the diocesan Fall Middle School Event, IMG_0119 (1)Awakening, to learn and grow in Christ.  The event at St. Luke’s Cathedral was attended by kids from all across the state of Maine.

This weekend was all about awakening ourselves from our busy lives and reconnecting with God.  The activities were endless – creating skits from Bible stories, participating in worship led by the teens, singing, playing manhunt on Saturday night, and praying with each other during prayer circles.  And the delicious food provided by St. Luke’s and Trinity’s kitchen staff made all of the participants and staff feel right at home.

IMG_0246The connections that we made will never be broken because the connections were made with Christ in the middle of them.  Everyone was encouraged to take the light of Christ out into their communities and share what they learned this weekend.  I’m praying that Christ touched each and every person here.  Awakening changed all of our lives in one way or another.  Participants and staff hope and pray that it will change more lives to come!

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Filed under St. Luke's Cathedral, Youth and Young Adults

Two (two!) UTO grants awarded to Maine focus on children

uto-final-logo-for-websiteThe diocesan office received great news this week with the notice that not one but both of the United Thank Offering (UTO) grants submitted by Maine congregations will be awarded funding in 2013. St. Andrew’s, Newcastle, and St. Philip’s, Wiscasset, will receive $13,625 to support “Food for Thought: Feeding Students in Lincoln County.” The Cathedral Church of St. Luke will receive $30,000 to build a school for its parish partner in Duny, Haiti, St. Simon and St. Jude.

Each diocese in The Episcopal Church is permitted to submit one domestic application and one international partner application per year.

“Food for Thought: Feeding Students in Lincoln County”  a program initiated by members of  St. Andrew’s, Newcastle, in partnership with members of St. Philip’s, Wiscasset, will receive $13,625. This program will allow St. Philip’s and community partners, including Feed Our Scholars, to continue a program developed in Wiscasset in 2013 that offers students at risk of going hungry weekend backpacks during the school year that are stocked with nutritious food.

A second component of the grant will allow the congregations to work with the comunity public health organization, Healthy Lincoln County, in expanding a summer food program to help children and families in Wiscasset, Waldoboro, and Damarscotta – areas in which more than 50% of children qualify for free or reduced lunches. Summer is a particularly important time to make food available to children since the support of a weekday school lunch program is unavailable.

By helping to provide food in backpacks during the school year and community meal sites in the summer, similar programs have helped to improve nutrition and academic performance, reduce absenteeism and behavior problems, allay children’s anxieties and build their sense of self-worth.

Brenda Hamilton of St. Andrew’s explains why they are supporting this program, “Rather than waiting for our neighbors to come through our doors, we are reaching out into the community with our faith-based energy and funding to collaborate with other organizations to make the utmost impact on hunger and malnutrition in the midcoast.”

She continues, “For example, we boost our rural economy by sourcing food locally when possible and by engaging low-income kids in our teen agricultural training program and the Morris Farm to grow food for us. Inmates of Two Bridges Jail will receive food bank shipments, prep and fill backpacks. Meal sites provide safe places to play and be physically active, for parents and kids to socialize and to find a place where people genuinely care about them. When we address hunger, we begin to address all the things that go along with poverty and hunger: drug abuse, domestic violence, corruption and crime, a collapsed economy with few opportunities. It’s not just about sandwiches. It’s about putting the Kingdom of God in a lunch bag.”

Members of St. Luke’s Cathedral in Portland didn’t let being turned down by the UTO granting committee in 2012 stand in their way of trying again. This time their grant request of $30,000 to build a school for their partner parish, St. Simon and St. Jude in Duny, Haiti, was approved. The grant accounts for about two-thirds of the amount needed to complete construction.

Building a new school for St. Simon and St. Jude will mean a new kindergarten through 6th grade building for the community. What is now a 25’ by 50’ shed with a rusty corrugated metal roof nailed to wooden poles will be replaced by a weatherproof cement building. The open shed which allows rain to turn the dirt floor to mud and the wind to scatter papers will be transformed into seven classrooms, a teacher’s room, a director’s room, and a kitchen area.

Since 300 children cannot fit into the present 25’ by 50’ unpartitioned space, students attend school in a four hour morning session and then another group attends in the afternoon. A new school will provide adequate space for the current number of students in the morning, and it will allow for an increased number of students in the afternoon session. With ample space for students and learning materials, it will substantially raise the quality of teaching and learning.

A new school will function even during inclement weather. A five-day school week for all of the children will ensure better education and will offer more children of Duny the opportunity to attend school. In the future, there may even be an opportunity for secondary students to use the building for evening classes.

In addition to providing the additional one-third of funds required to complete construction, St. Luke’s will continue raise $5,000 a year to pay for school lunches as it has for several years. In 2011 members of St. Luke’s raised funds to build a secure food storage building.

Congratulations to all three congregations and those they serve!

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Filed under Diocesan Life, Ministry and Outreach, Social Justice, St. Andrew's Newcastle, St. Luke's Cathedral, St. Philips Wiscasset

Bishop Lane’s Christmas Eve Sermon

Merry Christmas!

Preached at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke in Portland on Christmas Eve 2011:

It is the universal human trait to hope for more, to seek a greater wholeness, a greater fulfillment, a greater love. Don’t ever let that go. Don’t ever surrender that hope.

Read it all here.

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A new window for the Cathedral celebrates blessing, memory and joy

A new window for The Cathedral Church of St. Luke in Portland hopes to bring hope and light to the community.

After 13 years of planning, creating, and constructing, Cathedral parishioners, Cynthia Wheelock and Nancy Barba, recently watched over the installation of their gift – the first large-scale stained glass window donated to the main space in the Cathedral in almost 40 years.

In August they learned from the stain glass maker, Robin Neely, that the window was finally ready for installation.  The window as designed by Wheelock’s brother, artist Scott Wheelock of Philadelphia.

The inspiration for the Barba-Wheelock window came over 13 years ago, when the women were encouraged to hold their blessing/union ceremony, at the Cathedral, the first of its kind in the Episcopal church of Maine sanctioned by then Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Chilton Knudsen and performed by then Dean, the Very Rev. Stephen Foote.  The window may be the one of the few windows in the country acknowledging gratitude for a church service for a same-gendered blessing.

“What better symbol of light and joy than to celebrate this window and its meaning now,” said Barba.

The window is comprised of three panels, Blessing – Memory – Joy, each two feet wide by seven feet high and will reside on the East side of the clerestory, at the end closest to the chancel cross, about 30 feet above the church floor.  The theme of the window is an array of angels ushering light into the church, a metaphor for both the open and welcoming gesture the congregation offered in support of their Blessing ceremony and for the seminal shift in the church’s encouragement and the acceptance of diversity.

St. Luke’s Cathedral was founded on the principle of equality to all; counter to the practice of the day, the church did not sell specific pews to raise money for the construction.

Built in the late 1860s, the cathedral, in typical fashion for cathedrals, originally installed ordinary, stenciled glass panels.  Over time, the expectation was that they would be replaced with donated memorial windows.  This gift brings a total of seven memorial panels of the 18 on the East side clerestory.  Of the 18 panels on the West side, 12 are memorial donations.

A dedication ceremony for the new window was held on November 5.

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