Who we are

St. Peter’s is a community of clergy, staff, lay leaders, members, friends, and community partners.  Those who one might contact most frequently include:


Lael Sorensen: Priest and Rector

Lael Sorensen is an Episcopal priest and began as Rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Rockland, Maine, in 2015. Prior to St. Peter’s, Lael served as Assistant Rector at Grace Church, Silver Spring, Maryland, and as chaplain at Christiana and Wilmington Hospitals in Delaware.

A native Californian, Lael was raised in New Jersey and attended schools in Massachusetts and Michigan but underwent her most important spiritual formation in Maine, where she was sponsored for ordination.

She holds a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School and Diploma in Anglican Studies from The Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. She is especially interested in practical theology for daily living, Ignatian spirituality, liturgy and music, and has a lifelong commitment to social justice.

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church Telephone: 207-594-8191

Email: rector.stpetersrockland@gmail.com

11 White Street, Rockland, ME 04841


Ben Cooke: Priest Covering During Lael’s Sabbatical

Ben Cooke was ordained Deacon on November 11, 2023, and Priest on May 12, 2024
in the Diocese of Maine, where he has lived for the last decade with his wife and two daughters.
He has divided his time between raising children, fixing his house (like most Mainers), and
working many jobs including: in school-based day treatment programs, a teen homeless shelter,
and the Director of Christian Formation.

Ben moved to Maine from Birmingham England, via Scotland where he studied for a Masters in Divinity at the University of Edinburgh and ran a retreat house on the isle of Iona. He has a great love for thin places, sacred art, and the poetry of the liturgy, but above all being with the people of God as we gather to share Christ’s love.

Lee Karker

Lee Karker: Priest Associate

Lee Karker was ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church in 2007. He has lived in the Rockland area since 1984, where he served as pastor of the Rockland Congregational Church from 1984 to 1994. He then went to work for MCH (formerly the Methodist Conference Home) where he served as Executive Director from 1995 until his retirement in 2016.

Lee grew up in southern Africa, living in Swaziland and then South Africa, where his parents were missionaries in the Church of the Nazarene. He returned to the US to attend college and lived in Massachusetts, Maine and California before moving to Maine for the second time in 1984.

Lee holds a Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School and a Master of Arts degree in History from Boston University.


Jef Berg: Senior Warden

Jef Berg grew up in Knox County and returned here from New Jersey when she retired five years ago. She received her BA in English from the University of Maine and her MS in Gerontology Counseling from Iona College. She spent 32 years working in the field of Adult Day Care. Her son and his family live in Oregon.

Barbara Jean Obrien

Barbara Jean O’Brien: Music Director

Barbara Jean O’Brien grew up in the Boston area and moved to Maine in 2001. She has a Bachelor of Music from the University of Massachusetts, a Master of Music from the University of North Carolina, a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from the University of New Hampshire and certifications in Contemplative Musicianship and Music-Thanatology from the Chalice of Repose Project School of Music-Thanatology.

Barbara Jean has served many spiritual congregations over the years, as organist, pianist, choir director, cantor, harpist, choir member and vocal soloist, and is pleased to call St. Peter’s her spiritual home.

Email: choirdirector.stpetersrockland@gmail.com


Judith Soleil: Parish Administrator

Email: office.stpetersrockland@gmail.com


Ananda Johnson: Bookkeeper

I was born and raised and lived in California until I moved to Maine, way past the proverbial, “mid-life crisis.” On the recommendation of friends, I packed up my home and the life I had created in Willits, California, a small rural town 2.5 hours north of San Francisco, and moved to Belfast, Maine, during the beginning of the pandemic (interesting timing). Those same friends found a perfect home for me in Belfast, just 2 miles from their own home.

While living in California, I worked for the Frank R. Howard Foundation for 14 years, and was honored to be a part of building a new hospital, and building a 5-acre organic garden to feed the hospital patients, staff, and visitors, and provide produce for the hospital restaurant. I also helped found a program called “Avenues to Wellness”, offering monthly talks on varying health topics. At the same time, I volunteered for Willits Frontier Days, Seabiscuit Heritage Ranch Foundation, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Redwood Valley Humane Society (adopting several dogs and cats throughout the years). I also maintained a “farm life” on the 20 acres my ex-husband and I owned called Heart’s Desire Farm. The produce we raised, along with eggs from our chickens, went to the Willits Food Bank and the Willits Senior Center.

In February 2021, I was hired as the Parish Administrator of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Belfast and later took a job as the bookkeeper at St. Peter’s. My lovely dog, Bella (in the photo), goes with me everywhere, even to work.

Coming up on three years, I feel I have adapted to life on the east coast, and I treasure my life, my jobs, and this beautiful area with so much to see and learn about. It is clear to me that this move was in the power of someone much greater than I and, for that, I thank God.

Our Vestry (governing board)

Senior Warden: Jef Berg

Junior Warden: Steve Merriam

Treasurer: Peter Fontaine

Clerk: Joe Cox

Judith Haines-Carter

Candida Steel

Other Lay Ministry Leaders at St. Peter’s

Budget & Finance Committee: Joe Cox

Buildings and Grounds: Sam Cotton

Episcopal Church Women: Gloria Young

Loaves and Fishes: Ron Staschak

Pastoral Care: Lucia Elder