Category Archives: St. Thomas’ Camden

Six New Initiative Fund grants awarded by Diocesan Council

The New Initiative Fund  grant program marked its third year as Diocesan Council met on February 23 at St. Martin’s in Palmyra. With a total of $35,000 to allocate and nearly twice that in requests from nine congregations, members of Council took seriously the hard decisions they were asked to make by studying the 99 pages of application materials prior to the meeting.

Each applicant was asked to demonstrate how their proposal to support a new or expanded ministry would conform to the Seven Criteria for Mission, approved by Diocesan Convention in October 2011.

At the end of the granting session, Council members approved six grants that ranged from $500 to $9,000. A seventh grant was tentatively approved pending additional information from the supporting congregation.

2013 New Initiative Fund awardees:

St. Margaret’s, Belfast – $9,000 – ENCOUNTERS

This ecumenical faith development program based on role-playing was developed in 2012 for Belfast area youth in grades 6 – 12. It draws in young people from several local churches as well as the un-churched.  Together with lay and clergy adult leaders, they meet on equal ground to explore the word of the Lord in today’s culture. Funding from this grant will allow for the development of a manual and training resources so that the program can be replicated in other communities in Maine and beyond.

St. Thomas’, Camden – $2,500 – Health and Wellness Ministry

This ministry will partner with local congregations to encourage whole person health through integration of mind, body and spirit, to increase self-knowledge, personal responsibility, and to foster interdependence among God’s people.
Combining ancient traditions of the Christian community and the knowledge and tools of modern health care, health ministry offers the community a living witness of the healing activity of God through the local congregation.

Christ Church, Eastport – $2,300 – Journey to the Center

This ministry will encourage and deepen contemplative spiritual practice by offering the community and other churches a traveling labyrinth and labyrinth finger sets. Additionally, the labyrinth can become a part of community festivals, retreats, quiet days, and as a part of Kids’ Club, an ecumenical Christian Education program. Within a Christian context, the labyrinth can be a way to teach scripture memorization, walking meditation, prayer, and an openness to the spirit of God. For those outside of a faith tradition, the labyrinth may encourage spiritual yearning and development.

Church of the Good Shepherd, Rangeley – $500 – Day of Remembrance

At a Day of Remembrance, scheduled for the summer of 2013,  Good Shepherd will collaborate with area churches and health care professionals to offer a public venue where the universal issues of death and dying in our culture are honored and to offer prayers of grief and thanksgiving for those who have died in the past two years.

St. John Baptist, Thomaston – $6,850 – Hospitality House – A Project of the Knox Homeless Coalition

St. John’s is involved with other churches in the region to restore, and revitalize the only homeless shelter in a three county area, which closed in November 2012. This is collaborative effort between the social service agencies and faith communities to house and address the needs of those in transition and without homes, particularly victims of domestic violence.

St. Bartholomew’s, Yarmouth (in partnership with St. Matthew’s, Hallowell) – $8,500 – Lectionary-based Curriculum

This project will build and implement a lectionary-based curriculum at St. Bart’s that will be shared collaboratively with St. Matthew’s with the goal of creating a three year curriculum that has been tested and is then shared with other congregations in the diocese. The curriculum would be supported by the creators who would then act as consultants for parishes implementing the curriculum in the future.


To learn more about any of the proposals, contact Canon Heidi Shott at 772.1953 x126 or

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Filed under Christ Church Eastport, Diocesan Life, Good Shepherd Rangeley, Ministry and Outreach, St. Bartholomew's Yarmouth, St. John Baptist Thomaston, St. Margaret's Belfast, St. Matthew's Hallowell, St. Thomas' Camden

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.

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

WWJD revisited

The Rev. John Rafter, rector of St. Thomas’, Camden, invites you to weigh in:

Ten or fifteen years ago, the youth in the church I was serving then, as well as many of their friends around town, wore wristbands with the letters WWJD, short for What Would Jesus Do? As you may know, WWJD was a sort of stripped-down version of theological reflection, encouraging young people to make ethical decisions based on Jesus’ example. “If he were in this situation that I’m in, what would Jesus do?”
I’ve thought about WWJD recently in the context of the contemporary church. We have been called by God to live and minister in this time of profound change in our culture, and in the Christian Church itself. All of us responsible for making decisions in these times — and that’s all of us, whether a member of the vestry, a service guild, a committee, the staff, the clergy, or the congregation; whether doing outreach, planning a budget, teaching a class, preparing for worship, or showing up to pray — all of us desire to build up the church and serve the needs of the community. And so we seek the best and latest information, share important ideas, and work hard to be both creative and faithful.
And, of course, we pray. But speaking for myself at least, I sometimes pray for the success of what I want to do for God, when I should be praying for the success of what God wants to do through me. Knowing that about myself, I think the question for the Church to ask in these times is not, “What do we think we ought to do?” The question is not even, “What would Jesus do?” The question we really need to be asking is, What would Jesus have us do?
So what surprises do you think God might have in mind that we never even dreamed of?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below.


Filed under Faith Development, St. Thomas' Camden