A Milestone for the Episcopal Diocese of Northern New England

A Milestone for the Episcopal Diocese of Northern New England

Dear Episcopalians of Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire,

Today we celebrated a new milestone!

Episcopalians from across Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire met on Zoom today for Maine’s Spring Training event, and during the program, the three of us had the opportunity to reflect and answer questions about the collaboration we are pursuing. We also had the opportunity to share some news.

In a spirit of trust in each other and in God’s future for the church in Northern New England, we announced today that we have decided to name one another as assisting bishops in one another’s dioceses, beginning in September.

This means that:

Bishop Brown will name Bishop Shannon and Bishop Rob as assisting bishops in Maine
Bishop Shannon will name Bishop Rob and Bishop Brown as assisting bishops in Vermont
Bishop Rob will name Bishop Shannon and Bishop Brown as assisting bishops in New Hampshire

Assisting bishops serve at the invitation of the ecclesiastical authority—in this case, bishops inviting other bishops. The role of an assisting bishop is to preach and teach and provide sacramental rites (Canon III.12.5), but not to exercise governance authority. Through preaching, teaching, and presiding, we look forward to exercising our ministry in ways that will allow us to get to know each other’s dioceses, learn more about the Episcopal Church across our region, and discern how we might learn to collaborate with one another for the sake of God’s mission.

As you know, the three of us have been meeting together for quite some time. As we have talked about ways that we could collaborate in ministry, it has stirred in us a holy curiosity to understand and imagine who we are in God’s eyes. As we imagine together, we are creating space to practice creativity with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, learning and exploring where we might give up control and try new things. We believe that serving as assisting bishops in one another’s dioceses will feed that holy curiosity and creativity, and we are eager to begin this new chapter in our ministries.

We are also grateful to the members of our standing committees who graciously and eagerly affirmed this new arrangement when they met together online for fellowship and conversation in early April. This new arrangement will not change our full-time ministry with the dioceses where we serve as bishop diocesan, and it will be budget-neutral for all three dioceses.

We are excited to explore together where the Holy Spirit may guide us, and we look forward to continued conversations and collegiality across our three dioceses.

Faithfully in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Thomas J. Brown, Bishop of Maine
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Shannon MacVean-Brown, Bishop of Vermont
The Rt. Rev. A. Robert Hirschfeld, Bishop of New Hampshire

Spring Training 2022

Spring Training 2022

Featuring a Conversation with the Bishops of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont
Saturday, May 14
9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Online only.

Join us for a morning of conversation, prayer, and learning. Participants will attend two workshops of their choice, as well as engage in a conversation between our own Bishop Brown, Bishop MacVean-Brown of Vermont, and Bishop Hirschfeld of New Hampshire. Workshop topics range from environmental and social justice to welcoming COVID-traumatized children into our sanctuaries, to exploring the diaconate.

Click here to register.

Lent, Holy Week, and Easter at St. Peter’s

Lent, Holy Week, and Easter at St. Peter’s

Lenten Services and Activities

Sundays at 10:30 AM (Choral Holy Eucharist) & 4:30 PM (Celtic Eucharist with Music)
Tuesdays at 6:00 PM (Lenten Bible Study using PRDS)
Wednesdays at 7:00 AM (Contemplative Eucharist with chant)
Fridays, by appointment, Rite of Reconciliation

Palm Sunday – April 10, services at 10:30 and 4:30, liturgy of the palms and dramatic reading of the passion narrative

Tenebrae – April 13, 7:00 PM, a dramatic service of readings and music

Maundy Thursday – April 14, 7:00 PM, Maundy Thursday Eucharist with music and choir, stripping of the altar, and veneration of the sacrament in the chapel

Good Friday – April 15, 12:00 PM, Stations of the Cross; 7:00 PM, Choral Good Friday Liturgy with veneration of the cross and Holy Eucharist from the reserved sacrament

Great Vigil of Easter – Saturday, April 16, 7:30 PM, at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Camden

Easter Day – Sunday, April 17, 10:30 AM, Festival Eucharist with Music and Choir, ONE service only

Easter Parish Brunch – 11:30 AM

Easter Community Meal – Take out only, beginning at 1:00pm

Lenten Scripture Study Program: Pardes

Lenten Scripture Study Program: Pardes

Tuesday evenings at 6:00pm in the parlor. Those who would like to join the group online may do so on Zoom. Please call the church office to get the link.

This Lent we will focus on the spiritual practice of reading Scripture using PRDS or Pardes (pronounced par’-dez). This form of “reading” is derived from the Jewish mystical tradition developed by and for rabbis during the Middle Ages. It is Bible Study that purposefully engages all of you: mind, heart, body, and soul to strengthen your consciousness of the reality of the spiritual world. The introductory session, which will explain more about what PRDS is and why it can be valuable, will be held this week, March 8.  No experience is necessary. All materials will be provided. Subsequent meetings will be held in the parlor on March 15, 22, 29, and Apr 5.  They are not cumulative, so come and go as you like.

Ancient Celtic Gifts for Modern Times: A Workshop with John L. Bell

Ancient Celtic Gifts for Modern Times: A Workshop with John L. Bell

We are excited to announce that St. Peter’s will host a workshop with John Bell on Saturday March 26, from 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM. The workshop is titled “Ancient Celtic Gifts for Modern Times.”

John Bell is a Scottish hymn-writer, Church of Scotland minister, and member of the Iona Community. He works throughout the world, lecturing in theological colleges in the UK, Canada and the United States, but is primarily concerned with the renewal of congregational worship at the grass roots level.

All are welcome to join us for this program. Stay tuned for more details.

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday

The season of Lent always begins with Ash Wednesday, a time to step off the treadmill of our busy lives and consider again what is most important.

The traditional worship for this day can be especially powerful and calls for the imposition of ashes. During this service, you are invited to come forward to receive the imprint of ashes on your forehead, as a sign of your mortality and your dependence on God. In this stark way, we are put in mind of the difference between those things that are passing away and those things that endure, and we recommit ourselves to that which endures.

Ash Wednesday services will be held at St. Peter’s on Wednesday, March 2:

  • A contemplative Eucharist at 7:00 AM in the chapel and
  • Holy Eucharist at 5:30 PM in the main sanctuary.
Centering Prayer Group Temporarily Suspended

Centering Prayer Group Temporarily Suspended

Given the current evidence that vaccinated and boostered persons are contracting the omicron virus, the Centering Pray group has made the decision to temporarily suspend meeting either in-person at the church (with masks) or via Zoom.  This decision will be re-evaluated pending future assessments of the risks of spreading or contracting the virus. This group normally meets the 2nd and 3rd Saturdays of each month at 9:00 AM.

Sacred Ground 2022

Sacred Ground 2022

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church is sponsoring this study program developed by The Episcopal Church that brings awareness of racial history in this country.

Last year Peggy Smith facilitated Sacred Ground for members of St. Peter’s. People were amazed both by what they hadn’t known, AND by how nurturing it was to learn these hard truths in a container of warmth, acceptance and spiritual dedication.

The 10-part series is built around a powerful online curriculum of documentary films and readings that focus on Indigenous, Black, Latino, and Asian/Pacific American histories as they intersect with European American histories. For more information, go to this link:

Sacred Ground is a sensitive, prayerful resource that creates space for difficult but respectful and transformative dialogue on race and racism.
It invites participants to walk back through history in order to peel away the layers that brought us to today, reflecting on family histories and stories, as well as important narratives that shape the collective American story. It is especially designed to help white people talk with other white people.

The program involves watching a variety of documentary films (mostly from PBS) and reading two books, Waking Up White and Jesus And The Disinherited. There is a rich trove of additional recommended materials for those who want to delve deeper. A tremendous amount of care and thoughtfulness has gone into crafting the curriculum. Peggy brings experience as a nonviolent communications teacher to help handle strong emotions that come up. Last year’s group found the whole experience informative both intellectually and emotionally.

Sessions will run every other Wednesday, 5:30 – 7:00 PM on Zoom, beginning January 5. Session dates will be
January 5, 19;
February 2, 16
March 2, 16
April 6, 20
May 4, 18

The offering is provided within the gift economy, which means participants can, if they want and are able to, provide a gift for the facilitation. It is expected that participants will have access to the two books. Other readings & videos are available on the internet at no charge. The group size, minimum of 10 and a maximum of 40 participants.

To register contact Peggy Smith, Registration closes December 29, 2021.