Category Archives: St. Paul’s Brunswick

St. Paul’s youth journey to Dominican Republic deeply affecting

group shot pasluz 3rd gradeAfter nearly two years of discernment and planning, four St. Paul’s high school youth (all seniors) and three leaders boarded a plane on February 12 to embark on pilgrimage to Dominican Republic. There they volunteered with Outreach 360 in Montecristi near the northwest Haitian border. Youth included Ally Collins, Cedric Hipkins, Markis Larrivee and Joanna Brown. Leaders were Myrna Koonce, Hugh Savage and Macauley Lord. The group returned on February 21, changed and moved. Their experience was, by turns, challenging, absorbing, confusing, rewarding and joyful. Here are some highlights:

  • Awakening to dozens of roosters crowing and many motor scooters (“motos”) heading to school or work
  • Standing in front of groups of schoolchildren and chanting, “Wa-wa-wa-what’s the weather, what’s– what’s the weather?”
  • Watching our planning ideas take shape as children of all ages eagerly volunteered to engage in activities designed to help them speak English
  • Playing chasing and ball games with children during recess at tiny Pasluz Escuela
  • Playing “Papa Caliente” (hot potato) with the fifth and sixth graders at an even smaller school in Laguna Verde
  • Holding our own prayer service each morning on the rooftop of our Outreach 360 building in Barrio Salomon Jorge, Montecristi
  • Singing, drumming and dancing merengue with our new friends from Berkley High School in Michigan
  • Answering Spanish/Dominican trivia questions before eating rice, beans, meat, plantain and tropical fruits for lunch and dinner
  • Hiking up El Morro, the local mountain, to watch the sunrise
  • Giving and receiving friendly “holas” everywhere we walked in the town
  • Buying fresh juices from the local “juice lady”
  • Touring the salt flats where salt is harvested solely by hand
  • Visiting the crowded twice-weekly market in Dajabon, where Haitians cross the border to trade with Dominicans

The youth and their parents and leaders worked hard to raise funds for this trip by offering several events, food and services to their fellow parishioners. In thanksgiving, the youth will offer reflections at an upcoming all-parish worship service, and a Dominican dinner for the parish, cooked by the journeyers. We are so grateful to have such an active and inquiring group of teens among us, and we wish them the best as they leave for college next year.

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Filed under Anglican Communion, Ministry and Outreach, St. Paul's Brunswick, Youth and Young Adults

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

Learning to listen in Brunswick

by Deacon Chick Carroll
St. Paul’s, Brunswick 
The Gathering Place volunteer

Chick Carroll

Chick Carroll

Have you ever been in a place that didn’t feel right? Perhaps not safe, maybe unfriendly. Or possibly it was okay, but you felt unwelcome? Like it was a little “off” for you. Or how about someplace where you felt you just didn’t know the rules? What was expected of you?

If you’re homeless or deeply poor, almost every place can feel that way. When you’re carrying everything you own in a backpack, you can stick out like a snowball in July. It’s impossible to feel safe– or even comfortable. Even in a town like mine. Where people can be afraid of you because you don’t look quite “right.”

How do I know this? Am I desperately poor or homeless?

No. But lots of my friends are. How do I know what it feels like to to be turned away, or turned down, or to have people in church or the grocery store look away, ask if they can help me- when what they really mean is how can they help me out of there, away from them.

Well, I have learned to listen. I can listen to and learn from my friends, my friends who are deeply poor, friends who are homeless, or were last month, or will be next week. Because they just received notice from the landlord. I can see what they live through when they don’t get the job for the tenth time in a row. Or when they just can’t keep the one job they got, at $7.50 an hour, because they have to get up every morning at 3 am in order to walk the four miles to work – -and they just can’t do it any more.

Do I know personally what it’s like to finally get a place to live even though it’s drafty and loud, and costs a pile to keep it warm? Or what it’s like to have an adult schizophrenic son that has to live with me– or die. But because he’s there I can’t work, because he can’t be left alone? No, I don’t. I don’t know personally. Because I’ve been lucky in life. No, I didn’t earn my luck; it happened to me. Sure, I’ve done my part, but good fortune has been a huge factor in my life. But not for many of my friends.

And I listen to what they talk about, the stories they tell, the insults they endure, the endless lines they stand in. I squirm when someone tells me tell how she was treated when she tried to buy something at the store that’s so friendly to me, but not to her. How people give him a wide berth as he walks along Main Street, as if he were contagious. When the doctor doesn’t give him the attention he needs, or that she gives me, because he doesn’t have insurance anymore, because Maine Care decided to cancel him. I fume when I hear what has happened to her food stamp allowance, even though she is disabled, when what she gets for a month wouldn’t feed me for more than a couple of days.

Where do I hear about all this? Where is a place in town where folks feel comfortable enough to tell these stories? Where no one like me is going to give them a big load of well meaning advice that’s supposed to turn their life around? Where is a place they think of as their own? It’s called The Gathering Place, Brunswick’s daytime drop-in center. It’s been around for going on five years, just off Union Street.

I have volunteered there since the beginning. So have a lot of other folks like me. We’re coming to learn about what life is like if you’re desperately poor, if you can’t work because you got badly hurt on the last job you were able to get- ten years ago. What life is like when your husband went broke and left you all at the same time, and your monthly social security’s a few hundred dollars. What happens when your husband breaks his back just before summer, when he would have been able to earn enough from odd jobs to keep you all from becoming homeless. And so you come to The Gathering Place because you can’t stay alone all day, and there will be friends there- friends whose lives are like yours, or maybe not, but who will listen and understand anyway. And you come because it’s one place in town where you’re really welcome to stay a few hours.

I also have friends on the “right” side of the tracks. Good people. Many of them really get it. And some don’t. Many understand that their town is just the friendliest place for them, but not for the desperately poor. And some don’t get that at all! And for a long time, many years, I didn’t either. Maybe ten or 12 years ago, the light went on for me. I began to see I was among the lucky ones– not the smarter or the better ones. Just the fortunate. Why, why me, God? Who knows?

But I began to understand I could be of help. Could I change the world? No. Could I light a lamp for someone? Yes, sometimes, and sometimes the lamp just wouldn’t stay lit, and sometimes the person I lit it for turned out to be me. And sometimes the person I thought needed my help was the one I needed, instead.

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Filed under Ministry and Outreach, Social Justice, St. Paul's Brunswick

Expand your ministry with a New Initiative Fund grant

Dreaming about a new ministry in your community?

Apply now for a 2016 New Initiative Grant from Diocesan Council.

Each congregation and organization in the Diocese of Maine is eligible to apply for funding to support new ministries or expanding existing ministries in new directions. Applications will be evaluated on the how closely they meet the Diocese’s Seven Criteria for Mission.

The next deadline for applications is 4 p.m. on Friday, January 22. Diocesan Council will make grant recommendations at its February 6 meeting.

The online application may be found at www.surveymonkey.com/r/MaineNIF

Download the application worksheet and complete your application on that before cutting and pasting your application into the online Survey Monkey application above.

Once your application is processed, you will be contacted by a Diocesan Council member from your area. That member will serve as your advocate through the application process.

What kind of ministry might a New Initiative Fund grant get going? Below is a list of grants made by Diocesan Council over the past two years in spring and fall grant cycles.

Dream big!

2015 New Initiative Fund Grants

St. Luke’s, Wilton – $3,000 to install a community labyrinth

Human Trafficking Ministry Group – $2,650 to bring Becca Stevens and women of Thistle Farms to a conference in November 2015

St. Matthew’s, Hallowell – $2,450 to support a Ecumenical mentoring program for women recently released Kennebec County Jail, Walk with Me: A Journey

St. Paul’s, Brunswick – $1,750 to gather and create resources for congregations to effectively talk about alcoholism

2014 New Initiative Fund Grants 

The Congregations of the Southern Kennebec Valley (The Kennebec 6 – St. Mark’s, Augusta; St. Barnabas’, Augusta; Christ Church, Gardiner; St. Matthew’s, Hallowell; St. Andrew’s, Winthrop; and Prince of Peace Lutheran, Augusta) – $10,680 to establish a Sunday afternoon community Christian education program for families called “Mustard Seeds”

Trinity Church, Portland – $4,600 to assist All Saints Community Church, a Sudanese congregation that had met at Trinity for four years, in establishing a Christian education program

St. Nicholas’, Scarborough – $2,200 to establish a community garden on their Route 1 campus

St. Ann’s, Windham – $3,000 to establish an essentials pantry for needy members of their community

St. Peter’s, Bridgton – $2,400 for Women’s Initiative Mentoring Program

Diocesan Christian Ed Collaboration – $6,700 to bring Godly Play training to Maine

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Filed under Church at 209 Augusta, Diocesan Council, Diocesan Life, Ministry and Outreach, St. Ann's Windham, St. Luke's Wilton, St. Matthew's Hallowell, St. Nicholas' Scarborough, St. Paul's Brunswick, St. Peter's Bridgton, Trinity Portland

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