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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

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.

Festival Service of Lessons and Carols

Festival Service of Lessons and Carols

Sunday, September 19, at 5:30 PM.

This beloved service ushers in the end of our Advent waiting and prepares us for Christmas in just five days. Join Barbara Jean O’Brien and the St. Peter’s choir, with guest bass player Nate Martin, for this service of music and readings (Scripture and non-Scriptural alike) to prepare us for the coming of the Christ child at Christmas.

Please, note, there will be no Celtic Service on December 19.

Advent Quiet Day

Advent Quiet Day

Saturday, December 18, from 2:00 to 5:00 PM, in the church.

Lael will offer brief reflections on the hour, but this is really an opportunity for you to get away from the hustle and bustle of the pre-Christmas season and enter into some quiet. Many people journal/write, other draw or paint or knit. How you use your quiet time is entirely up to you. In the last hour Lael will invite the group to join her in the parish hall for a session on the labyrinth. The day will conclude with walking that labyrinth.

Apart from that scheduled conclusion, retreatants will have the full run of the building apart from the Undercroft, so it will be easy to socially distance.  Snacks will be provided.

Renewal of Baptismal Promises and Ordination Vows

Renewal of Baptismal Promises and Ordination Vows

Join Bishop Brown in person or online for a diocese-wide service renewing baptismal promises and ordination vows at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke, Portland on Tuesday, May 18 at 11:00 am.

For those joining us online, you can access the service on the Cathedral’s livestream channel here. Those planning to attend Eucharist in-person, please register here and read more about the street and parking garage options here.

Courageous Communication Workshop Series

Courageous Communication Workshop Series

Registration is now open for a five-part workshop called Courageous Communication (aka nonviolent communication) sponsored by St. Peter’s beginning May 14.

Especially in times of political, racial, and social division, we want to consider and practice how to listen with compassion, speak with gentle clarity, and stand our ground in love. We recognize such courageous communication as a hallmark of many traditions (and of those with no such tradition) and we are looking to engage a sense of shared community with our neighbors in the Midcoast of Maine.

Sessions will be held on Zoom from 9:30 to noon on Friday mornings, from May 14 to June 11, with breaks provided.

  • Each session will be facilitated by Peggy Smith, a licensed trainer in nonviolent communication. Click here to learn more about Peggy.
  • Peggy advises that participants print off emailed materials since having hard copies, along with paper and something to write with, will facilitate discussion.
  • Recommended donation for the facilitator is $130 per person, but pay what you can and know that no one will be turned away for nonpayment. Make checks payable to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church with “Courageous Communication” in the memo line and mail them to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 11 White Street, Rockland, ME 04841. All monies will go for the facilitator. Alternatively, you can donate to the facilitator by following the Give Donation link on this website. (Select one-time donation, restricted gift, and write in “Courageous Communication”). Please submit donation no later than June 10.
  • The Workshop has a ceiling of 30 persons.
  • Participants may withdraw at any time. But registration will be considered closed to new participants on May 21. The Workshop requires time to build trust within small groups, and continuity and commitment are important ingredients to the Workshop.
  • Register for the Courageous Communication Workshop by emailing the parish office ( Include your name, contact information, and statement of desire to join Courageous Communication. A mailing from the facilitator with Zoom details will constitute your registration receipt.

For more information, please contact the parish office: or 207-594-8191.

Prepare the Way this Advent

Prepare the Way this Advent

Advent, the season of waiting and preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ nativity, begins on Sunday, November 29. Here are just a couple of examples of the devotional activities, events and resources available online.

An Advent devotional calendar.

Advebt Calendar“With ev’ry passing day, as sunlight disappears, the dusk descends, and prayers ascend for strength to calm our fears”

The hand-drawn Advent calendar that so many look forward to each year from creators Tom Mousin and Merry Watters is available for 2020. Get it here.

Each day on their calendar offers a Scripture reading and a suggested devotion.
You also can subscribe to receive a daily e-mail on the calendar’s devotions, using the link above.


Other Advent Calendars and Devotions

Way of Love Advent calendar. This Advent calendar accompanies the Journeying the Way of Love Advent curriculum, and offers daily suggestions for engaging in seven “Way of Love” practices: Turn, Learn, Pray, Worship, Bless, Go, Rest. The calendar can be used as a stand-alone resource to keep nearby and refer to every day.

American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem (AFEDJ) Advent calendar offers a glimpse into the lives of Holy Land Christians. Beginning on December 1, AFEDJ will launch a Holy Land Advent calendar to offer a daily glimpse into the lives of Holy Land Christians and the humanitarian ministries of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. Start each day of Advent with a splash of joy by opening a door to a photo or a brief video and news from one of the Episcopal ministries in the region. Find the calendar at