December 4, 
No. 24
 The Dio Log 

news and events in the Episcopal Diocese of Maine since 1999

Congratulations to the people of St. John's, Brownville Junction, upon the church's 125th Anniversary last month. Members of the founding families, the Bradeens and the Cunninghams, gathered to dedicate a new window at a celebration on November 23. Click here for local coverage.

prayers for...

all those affected by violence, especially those touched by recent shootings in Colorado Springs, Savannah, and San Bernardino. 

Bishop Stephen Lane calls Maine congregations to a Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath on Sunday, December 13. In its third year, the sabbath is now marked by churches across the country after the first sabbath held at Washington National Cathedral in concert with Faiths United Against Gun Violence.

Read Bishop Lane's invitation and the litany he composed for Maine congregations to use. (Since it's posting on Wednesday afternoon, shortly before news of the San Bernardino shootings broke, the litany has been shared widely online and used in many vigils across the U.S.)

A prayer vigil, sponsored by the Maine Council of Churches, will be held in Emmanuel Chapel at St. Luke's Cathedral in Portland on Thursday, December 9, at 7 p.m. Other events to mark the third anniversary of the Sandy Hook shootings will be held in Brunswick on Saturday afternoon, December 12, and on Monday evening, December 14, in Cumberland. Details of all three events may be found on the Bishop's blog at 

the Rev. Chuck and Beth Bradshaw, missionaries in the Diocese of Mityana, Uganda. Their Thanksgiving newsletter may be found here.

voices among us...

The wisdom of our diocesan stewardship consultant, Lisa Meeder Turnbull, has been picked up once again by the Episcopal Church Foundation's Vital Practices blog. Read her post, "Why Policy Matters," here. The blog's Vestry Papers section offers best practices and great information for church leaders on more than two dozen topics. (Twenty-seven, to be exact.)

Check out Bishop Lane's sermon, "Share the Good News of God's Love with Everyone" to mark the 175th Anniversary of St. Mark's, Augusta.

Congratulations to...

The Rev. Ted Gaiser and the people of Grace Church, Bath, as they join together in ministry with Ted as their rector beginning January 4th. Ted, who moved to Portland earlier this year, served most recently in the Diocese of Colombia.


Bishopswood needs our help to open its doors in 2016

Estimates are in and the comprehensive Bishopswood septic system will cost $185,000. As Bishop Lane says in his letter to friends of our diocesan camp: (Read it here)

"Now is the time to make a gift toward this project. I have committed diocesan resources so that contracts can be made and work can begin, but there is no budget for this work. The funding of this project is completely in the hands of all of us who love Bishopswood and want to see another generation of children benefit from its ministry." 

Bishopswood Executive Director Mike Douglass also has a letter that details the need and urgency for year-end gifts so that camp can open next summer.

Donations may be made online on the Diocese of Maine home page at or use this direct link to the secure online donation page. Also checks may be sent directly to Bishopswood at 98 Bishopswood Road, Hope, Maine  04847. 

If you would like to learn more about the project by having Mike call or email you, please be in touch with him at

Congregations are encouraged to share this notice in their bulletins, newsletters, and announcements. Click here for a ready-to-print bulletin insert.

Jesus isn't the only arrival in December: Parochial report package to be mailed on December 7

Church offices should expect to receive the package with parochial reports and instructions by the end of next week. Besides the new parochial report form, each individual packet will contain a card with the UEID and PIN that pertains to that congregation, as well as the instruction sheet and a cover letter from the Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe.
Please note that the workbooks for help in filing the report will be available online and are not included in the packet.  These workbooks and a PDF of the 2015 parochial report will be made available online in December at  
Online filing will begin January 4, 2015. The deadline for filing is March 1, 2015.

Two church finance workshops (with the parochial reports a covered topic) will be offered to Maine clergy, treasurers, and wardens on February 13 and 20. Locations to be announced soon.

Maine Episcopal Network for Justice is up and running

Bishop Lane hosts the first gathering of the MENJ Steering Group in November: (Clockwise from top) John Hennessy, MENJ Director and member of St. Luke's, Portland; Jane Schroeder, Diocesan Council member from St. Thomas', Camden; Calvin Sanborn, rector of St. George's, York Harbor; Maria Hoecker, rector of St. Columba's, Boothbay Harbor; Tom Ward, senior warden at St. Andrew's, Winthrop; Brenda Hamilton, member from St. Andrew's, Newcastle. [Not pictured: Elizabeth Phipps, Diocesan Council member from Trinity, Saco.

With a $30,000 grant from The Episcopal Church's Office for Social Justice and Advocacy, the Diocese of Maine has launched the Maine Episcopal Network for Justice (MENJ), a grassroots public policy network. 

The hope for MENJ is based on a belief that people of faith have a unique voice to share on the real crises that many Mainers experience every day.  MENJ will work with ecumenical, Interfaith, and community partners on common concerns through the legislative process. MENJ will work to implement social policy teachings and commitments of the Episcopal Church at the statewide and local levels through engaging grassroots leadership in the 60 congregations across Maine through training and information sessions. 

We will focus our advocacy, organizing, and education efforts on the Gospel imperatives: feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, welcoming the stranger, freeing the captive, ministering to the sick, caring for creation, and giving voice to the most vulnerable among us.

We invite Maine Episcopalians to participate in a number of ways:
  • Invite John Hennessy, director of MENJ to come to your church (your Vestry or Bishop's Committee or an education forum or during announcements) to talk about the Network and answer questions about important issues in Maine, including the upcoming legislative session and a number of proposed referenda for the 2016 ballot. Be in touch with John to set a date at
  • Sign up for the MENJ's new monthly email newsletter and for occasional urgent action e-bulletins.
  • As it grows, visit the MENJ webpage to study policy papers that offer both The Episcopal Church's stated position (through Diocesan Convention and General Convention actions) on various issues that include the up-to-date status of that issue in Maine and the U.S.
  • Attend the 2016 Diocesan Education Day on April 9 for a series of workshops on learning to advocate as well as specific issues. (Details to follow in the new year.)
Through engaging in analysis, education, advocacy, and through supporting members, congregations, and Jubilee Centers and other social ministry organizations in their call to public witness, MENJ seeks to help fulfill God's vision of justice among God's people and Jesus' call to care for our neighbors.

As Mainers well know our motto, Dirigo, means "to lead." With the opportunity this grant affords us in establishing MENJ, the Diocese of Maine will lead members of the wider Episcopal Church in learning to articulate compelling voices of faith so that the wider world might hear God's vision for the world.   

#AdventWord from SSJE

Participate in AdventWord - the Global Advent Calendar offered by SSJE  
During Advent, we anticipate the coming of Christ, an event that awakens our deepest desires and longings. Participants in AdventWord will receive a daily meditation from SSJE and are invited to respond with an image of their own on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. The result is a crowd-sourced global advent calendar that creates a sense of worldwide communion and wonder. It is fun to see so many people praying together.

Or visit or  or

The 2016 UTO grant process, a special Advent ingathering for refugees, and guess how many UTO grants Maine has received since 1970

The United Thank Offering is gearing up for its 126th year with a new timeline for grants. Learn about the criteria and focus of the 2016 process here. Think about the kind of mission and ministry your congregation needs help to bankroll. The UTO wants to help! Need ideas? Click here for the 2015 award booklet (the Rev. Maria Anderson, the Lutheran pastor who runs the Portland Lutheran/Episcopal emergent ministry for young adults, is featured on the cover!)

According to UTO Missioner, the Rev. Heather Melton, "We received a great deal of feedback last year that it is unhelpful to have the application available during Advent and Christmas. Therefore, the application will not be available until January 4, 2016 and will be due March 4, 2016. The other request was that we have sample budgets available so you can see some ideas of how to prepare your project budget.  These sample budgets will be available on January 4."

Because each diocese is allowed to submit only one grant, the diocesan deadline for grants will be February 4. One grant will be selected by the diocesan Grant Committee for submission to Bishop Lane for his endorsement. 

Heather Melton, whom delegates to Convention met when she visited Maine in October, has sent Maine Episcopalians a lovely letter along with the listing of all the grants awarded to the Diocese of Maine since 1970. In 45 years, the Diocese of Maine has received 46 grants totaling $698,936. Isn't that remarkable? Read Heather's letter and peruse the list of grants here.

Special Advent ingathering to match grant to Episcopal Migration Ministries for refugees

The United Thank Offering is giving a $30,000 special grant to Episcopal Migration Ministries which has been providing assistance to refugees in the United States as well as throughout the world for over for 20 years.  Given the current crisis and the tremendous need, UTO has challenged the Episcopal Church to match this grant through gifts from individual parishes and individuals. You may donate online at or the UTO Facebook page, or submit checks or cash to your UTO coordinator through the Fourth Sunday of Advent (12/20/15).  Make checks to United Thank Offering and clearly mark "Refugees" in the memo line and send them to 143 State Street, Portland 04101.

Questions about the UTO, both giving and receiving, please contact our diocesan coordinator, Sherri Dietrich, at 


Three Advent performances by the early music ensemble, Saint Mary Schola

The program for this year's Advent concert will 
open with the donkey's riotous processional from the
Feast of Fools, ecstatic chants from medieval Spain, luminous choral works from the high Renaissance by William Byrd and Monteverdi and invigorating pieces from the Baroque era, including Bach arias and Charpentier's Magnificat, complete with period instruments, lute, organ, and recorder. 

Dec.  8, at 7:30 p.m., First Parish Church, Brunswick
Dec. 11, at 7:30 p.m., Cathedral Church of St. Luke, Portland
Dec. 13, 4 p.m., Episcopal Church of St Mary, Falmouth 

Visit to purchase tickets.

Holiday concert at Trinity, Portland

On Sunday, December 13, at 4 p.m., Trinity Church located at 580 Forest Avenue in Portland will host "Light in Darkness." This informal and lively program, led by Thew Elliott, Trinity's Director of Music, will feature musicians and readers from the congregation as well as some time for a bit of pre-Christmas carol singing. The event is free, and a voluntary collection will benefit the church's ministries. A reception will follow.

Trinity, Lewiston, offers lunchtime Oasis of Music each Wednesday

A new music series, hosted by Trinity Church in Lewiston, will be held every Wednesday from 12:30 to 1 p.m. Chris Lansley on flute and Greg Boardman on hardanger fiddle will kick off the series. Admission is free. A great many local guests offering a variety of musical genres, from classical to klezmer, are lined up for future Wednesdays. Organizers are looking for more musicians interested in sharing their music in Trinity's beautiful acoustic space. If interested, please contact Greg Boardman at

Community sing of Handel's Messiah at St. John Baptist, Thomaston

On Wednesday, December 16, at 7:30 p.m. St. John's, Thomaston, invites all singers to participate in a community sing of the Messiah. A rehearsal to be held on Tuesday, December 15, at 7 p.m. is encouraged but not required. Non-singers are welcome to attend to listen and enjoy. Click here for more details.

Young Adult Retreat

Several young adults and the Rev. Bill Blaine-Wallace are planning the annual diocesan Young Adult Retreat to be held on January 8 to 10 at St. Luke's Cathedral in Portland.  Registration will be available soon. FMI contact Kirsten Lowell at or Jane Hartwell at

Save the Dates for 2016 Events
  • Young Adult Retreat - at the Cathedral on January 8-10
  • Christian Ed Collaboration Meeting - at the diocesan office or by phone on January 11, 10:00 - 12:00
  • Leadership Prep for middle school event - at St. Paul's in Brunswick on January 15-16
  • Winter Middle School Event - (for grades 6-8) - at St. Paul's in Brunswick on February 5-7
  • Leadership Prep for TEC - at Trinity Church in Portland on February 26-28
  • TEC high school event - at Trinity Church in Portland on March 11-13
  • Spring Workshop Day - date t/b/a
  • Diocesan Adult Retreat - at Bishopswood on June 17-19
  • Camp Bishopswood - all summer
  • Staff Orientation for BION - August 15
  • BION Camp (for everyone finished grades 6-12) - at Bishopswood - Tuesday to Saturday, August 16-20.

Strengthening communities of faith for God's mission in congregations across Maine