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November 28, 2014

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Follow Bishop Steve on Twitter. Be his 735th follower!   



The Bishop's blog:three recent sermons

Bishop Lane's op-ed in last Sunday's Maine Sunday Telegram, co-authored with Maine Muslim scholar, Reza Jalali, on welcoming the stranger.


Follow "Leaping with Faith," the blog of Kirsten Lowell, a Episcopal Youth Service Corps volunteer from St. Ann's, Windham, who is serving this year in the Diocese of Uruguay.


NNE: The New Northeast

"Awakening changes your life" -- 11th grader Maeghan Higgins writes about the recent middle school youth event.



What's going on in the Diocese of Maine?

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Prayers for ...

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has urged Episcopalians to observe the Second Sunday in Advent, December 7, as a day of prayer for those in the Diocese of Liberia and the entire Anglican Church of the Province of West Africa, areas heavily affected by the current Ebola pandemic. Learn more here.

Additional messages from the Presiding Bishop this week:

the Rev. Chuck and Beth Bradshaw, missionaries in Uganda. Here's their Thanksgiving Maine 2 Mityana newsletter.

Congratulations to ... the people of the Rev. Erik Karas, the pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Augusta, who has been called by the people of St. Mark's, Augusta, to be their minister. 

Godspeed to ... 800 five-pound bags of Maine potatoes that were purchased with one-half of the Convention Eucharist offering and delivered last week (with a Diocese of Maine sticker on each bag) to Good Shepherd Food Bank for distribution to food pantries across Maine. Many thanks to Jason Briggs, native of Presque Isle and member of Trinity, Saco, for making this happen.

The balance of the offering, $577, was sent to the Episcopal Relief & Development Ebola Crisis Response Fund.

Around the Diocese

Bishop Lane's Advent Message


Bishop portrait Waiting in the dark for the coming of the light; thirsting in the desert for springs of cool water; locked in conflict seeking for peace; fearing the stranger, yet looking for angels: we live in an Advent world. We know that the way things are is not the way they're supposed to be. So we live in hope, looking for a new day.


Yet our hope does not ignore what's real. The darkness is real. Our thirst is real. The conflict is real. Our fear is real. Our hope for a savior only matters if the savior will make a difference.


Advent is not a time to turn away from the darkness, to cover what's wrong with "sweetness and light." Advent is, rather, a time to dwell IN the darkness, to recognize the truth of the darkness, and, then, to pray fervently for the light.


We know we are not the answer we seek. Christ is the answer. Yet, we - as members of Christ's body - are invited to live in the light. We are invited to BE light in our many and varied ways to the world around us. So... we light a candle; we share a cup of cold water; we reconcile with a neighbor; we make an effort to befriend a stranger. In these ways, we fan the flames of the light that is coming - and receive as well as give.

Advent Campaign for Bucksport Mill Employees

Visit the Advent Campaign page on the diocesan website to find out how you may lend your support to the famlies of 579 Verso Paper Company workers who will be out of a job at the end of December. You'll find Bishop Lane's letter of invitation to participate in the campaign, a bulletin insert, a sheet detailing donation options, other ways your congregation can help, and links to news stories on the mill closure.

The page may be accessed from the diocesan home page at www.episcopalmaine.org. 


2015 UTO grant applications now available

Applications are now available for the 2015 United Thank Offering grants. The application forms are available

here along with guidelines for applying for the grants and information about how to write grants. Two experienced Maine grant-writers ave volunteered this year to help applicants refine their proposals and write compelling grants. Contact the Maine UTO Coordinator, Sherri Dietrich, (ssdietrich@gmail.com), with any questions or for help with grant ideas/proposals.


The focus for the 2015 United Thank Offering grants is Mark Four of the Anglican Marks of Mission: 

To transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation. 


The deadline to submit applications to the Diocesan office is December 15.




From the Diocesan Finance Office -

2015 Health Insurance and "In Lieu" Payments


If you have employees, lay or clergy, who are eligible for church-provided health insurance benefits in 2015 and are choosing not to sign up for these benefits and are taking "in lieu" cash payment instead, please contact Terry Reimer at treimer@episcopalmaine.org. There are issues related to benefit equity that should be addressed for 2015.



2015 - The year of 27 Pay Days...or perhaps not 

The payroll services offered by the Diocese through ADP issues paychecks every two weeks, i.e. makes direct deposit of pay to employees. Pay day is usually the Thursday following the end of the pay period (a Sunday). In the normal course of a year there are 26 pay days. However, the normal course of pay days in 2015 would result in 27 pay days. (Doing the math, a 14 day pay period gives rise to 365/14 = 26.07 paydays.  This means that every 11 to 12 years that extra 0.07 pay days must accumulate to a 27th pay day in a year, i.e.

"payroll creep".)  

Next year that 0.07 catches up with us making 2015 a 27 pay day year. However, the first pay day in this calendar would be January 2nd, a Friday, since the Thursday, New Year's Day, is a federal holiday and the banks are closed, precluding any direct deposit of pay. That pay is for the two week pay period ended Sunday, December 28, 2014

The question we pose is whether the 27th pay day should be moved to Wednesday, December 31, 2014 (with the pay day occurring in the same year as the pay period) or stay on Friday, January 2, 2015?  Note that for W-2 purposes, the pay day (the day that money is disbursed to the employee) determines the year in which the pay is included in income. 


The Diocesan Finance Office is suggesting that the 27th pay day be moved into 2014 on Wednesday, December 31, 2014. Do you have a preference, question, or need for clarification? We would appreciate hearing from you. Please email Terry Reimer at treimer@episcopalmaine.org with your concerns. 



Organist/Choir Director opportunity


St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Waterville, Maine seeks an organist with strong choral skills to begin in February, 2015. We have a tracker action pipe organ, newly refurbished and enhanced by the Andover Organ Company, and our Roland HP-508CB digital piano which was just purchased this year. 


St. Mark's Church has a 16-member SATB choir and uses the 1982 Hymnal as its primary foundation, but frequently uses the full gamut of Episcopal resources to provide hymns and service music for worship. The choral library is extensive, and includes music from the 15th through 21st centuries. 


Responsibilities include playing at one Sunday service throughout the entire year, holy days and other liturgical

occasions, and at a weekly choir practice from September to early June. The successful candidate will be able to work collaboratively with the Rector and other church members to plan music that enhances the worship.


Salary and pension benefits will be commensurate with experience. We will conform to AGO guidelines for the candidate with appropriate professional certification.

Cover letter and resume should be e-mailed to jbalicki17@gmail.com.


Applications will be considered on a rolling basis with final deadline for applications of January 1, 2015.


Sign up for an daily Advent calendar from SSJE


The Society of St. John the Evangelist offers a daily online Advent calendar. Sign up at www.ssje.org/adventword for a daily word and meditation, accompanied by a stunning image, delivered daily to your inbox starting November 30.


SSJE also offers resources for communicators and clergy at  www.ssje.org/adventwordresources.


Up and coming in Maine and beyond

Advent Lessons and Carols at St. John's, Bangor 


On Sunday, December 7, at 4 p.m. the Choir of St. John's Church presents music of the season by Palestrina, Bruckner, Poston, Ives,Carter, and others. This annual candlelit service is followed by a festive Advent Tea in the Undercroft. Freewill donations will be received with 100% of the proceeds going to benefit the Penquis Community Action Program for Heating and Fuel Assistance. Child care provided. For more information, call 947-0156.



Choral evensong at St. Luke's Cathedral


On Sunday, December 7 at 4 p.m., the Cathedral Choir, under the direction of Cathedral Musician, Albert Melton and accompanied by organist, Randall Mullin, will sing Choral Evensong, which is a traditional Anglican service for evening.   Largely sung, the service will include choral music by composers, Martin Neary, Charles Villiers Stanford and Herbert Sumsion. 


DaPonte String Quartet at St. Columba's, Boothbay Harbor on December 13

The DaPonte String Quartet will perform a yuletide-themed concert to benefit the ministries of St. Columba's, Boothbay Harbor, on Friday, December 13, at 7 p.m. The concert will celebrate ten years of St. Columba's 10 years in their beautiful building and 35 years as a congregation.

Tickets are $25 from the Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce. Call for more information at 633-2353. Click here for a flyer.

Sing Handel's Messiah at St. John Baptist, Thomaston

All singers are welcome to sing Handel's Messiah on Tuesday, December 16, at 7:30 p.m., with Anthony Antolini, directing; Sean Fleming, organist; and the Mozart Mentors Orchestra string ensemble. For more information, please call 832-1775. There will be a rehearsal on Monday, December 15, from 7 to 9:15 p.m.

Mainestewards offers fall and winter discussion series 

The Mainestewards Discussion Series offers focused conversations around specific aspects of stewardship and leadership in our congregations. Whether you are a seasoned veteran able to offer insights and experience, new to congregational leadership and looking for resources and ideas, or interested in meeting and networking with fellow leaders who may be sharing similar challenges, these discussions are for you! 


The web-based conversations will be held on the second Monday of each month from 7-8 p.m. To register for one, a few, or all of these, or you have questions or suggestions for future topics, e-mail Lisa Meeder Turnbull, mainestewards@yahoo.com.

  • New Folks Comin' December 8, 7-8 p.m.

Advent, and particularly Christmas, is traditionally a season of visitors, seekers, and newcomers in our congregations. Participants will share experiences and learn from one another's successes and challenges with invitation, welcome, and engagement. 

  • Planning for Planned Giving January 12, 7-8 p.m.

Is your congregation ready to launch a planned giving ministry? Or do you have a feeling that you should find out more about it and whether it's right for your community? Do you have a robust planned giving program in place that others might learn from and adapt? January is the perfect time to plan a Lenten or Eastertide program that engages members of the congregation not just in planned giving for the church, but in the many aspects of planning that bring comfort to our most cherished relationships in times of grief and loss. 

  • Strategic Thinking February 9, 7-8 p.m.

As vestries and Bishop's Committees settle into their work for the year, now is a great time to develop the habits of strategic thinking. In this session we will look at the distinction between strategic planning and strategic thinking, discuss the importance of both in our leadership toolbox, and learn how strategic thinking can make the ministry of leadership more dynamic.

  • Know Your Stuff March 9, 7-8 p.m.

Inventories and maintenance schedules aren't just for insurance purposes. They have a valuable role in stewardship planning, too. We will talk about why these tools are important, how they can be used to support strategic thinking, and look at some templates that can be adapted to fit your situation and particular needs.



Youth Events this winter 


Leadership Prep for Middle School Event -

at St. Paul's Church in Brunswick - Feb. 6-7 


Winter Middle School Event - for grades 6-8 

at St. Paul's Church in Brunswick - March 6-8 


Leadership Prep for TEC  

at Trinity Church in Portland - Feb 27 - March 1 


TEC (Teens Encounter Christ) - for high schoolers

at Trinity Church in Portland - March 20 - 22 

Learn more at www.maineyouth.org