8 March 2022
This newsletter sent to Churches, Priests and Deacons (active), Diocesan Council, Standing Committee and Chancellor, Wardens, Treasurers, Parish Administrators, Jubilee Center and Camp Leadership, Trustees, Summer Chapel Leadership, and Diocesan Staff
From the Bishop
Dear Friends in Jesus Christ,

What follows are updated guidelines and recommendations about COVID safety protocols. They reflect the advice of the diocesan COVID advisors and a new landscape with COVID-19.

Last Friday the entire state of Maine, according to the Centers for Disease Control, was no longer at high or “red” level but rather medium or “yellow” level. These levels are determined by the CDC by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area. As these levels shift downwards, the CDC allows for changes in prevention behaviors, including mask-wearing. As our healthcare systems regain capacity it’s likely that Maine will soon become “green” signaling yet more permission to adopt a “new normal” stance about safety and health. 

As we look to the near future, this is a time to use your pastoral gifts to consider not only science and public health information, but also the psychological and spiritual realities of the past two years. Our focus on science remains, but you’re caring for people, families, and yourselves who once again must respond to very sudden change. We encourage you to use the season of Lent to communicate decisions and changes in advance, and to re-introduce practices at a pace your faith community can absorb them - there is no rush!

In all of this, we refer to our guiding principles: love God and your neighbor, comply with all state and federal laws, policies, and recommendations, and we trust, support, and affirm the clergy and lay leaders of each faith community to make decisions that are best for your context.


Only at “red” level does the CDC ask us to wear masks indoors in public. As we are now in “yellow” and hopefully approaching “green” the CDC advises that if one is at high risk for severe illness, they should talk to their healthcare provider as to whether they should wear a mask. The reality is that some parishioners will still continue to wear masks, and others will not. At this time, if your county is in yellow or green, members can wear a mask based on personal preference; informed by their own personal level of risk. It’s imperative to maintain an atmosphere of respect in your church community for individual mask-wearing choices.  

As you communicate with your faith community, it is appropriate to say something like, “some in our community will choose to wear masks, others of us will feel safe not wearing masks. We honor this diversity in our congregation.” Note that this is different and more nuanced than saying “masks are optional.” Many among us will continue to wear masks, for a variety of reasons, and it is absolutely permissible to continue to ask parishioners to wear them if that is what works best for your faith community. Every faith community has parishioners who are immunocompromised, most have children under the age of 5, and all have folk who are simply going to feel safer wearing a mask. Make their choice normative.

Food and beverages
Although all 16 counties are now “yellow” and although we are eager for fellowship, consider resuming coffee hours later in the season. By postponing coffee hours for a few weeks, we might welcome their return to our community’s life while our state is “green,” or even better, to host them outdoors. Besides, in many of our congregations managing the change in mask-wearing alone will be sufficient change. Nonetheless, as always, determine when to host fellowship events based upon your context, ventilation, demographics, and the vaccination status of the assembled people.  

Physical distancing

In many of our congregations, there is sufficient space to maintain physical distance. Consider continuing this practice, as well as the possibility of designating a section of your church’s nave where parishioners can expect others to maintain physical distance. 

Exchanging the Peace

If your congregation has been exchanging the peace without shaking hands or hugging, there is no reason to suddenly suggest a pre-pandemic free for all; gauge your own comfort and that of the people you serve. 

Administering Holy Communion

Questions remain about continuing pandemic-related communion practices, as well as when to resume the chalice, but they’re not pressing upon us right now. It is appropriate to administer the Sacrament with consecrated bread only. 

Resilience and the Common Good

We are collectively weary from the past two years. We have faced disease, plague, racism, and now the threat of a world war, but we are not without God’s presence. It is God’s desire to lavishly give us what St. Paul calls “gifts of God for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7). The common good was to build up the church in order to go out and reach the world for Jesus Christ, for the glory of God. You have been doing this, and you are doing this! To paraphrase St. Augustine, “What God commands, God provides for”--there is good news in many of these guidelines and recommendations. Furthermore, God has given us resilience; we have everything necessary to build up the people of God entrusted to our care so they can do the work of ministry. 

As always if you have specific questions about protocols, if you need support to proceed more slowly, or to ask the COVID advisors for additional guidance or give us feedback please email us.

Faithfully in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Thomas J. Brown
Bishop of Maine
Updates and Announcements
Are You Passionate About The Passion?

We are recruiting readers to participate in a reading of the Passion on Zoom, which will then be made available to the diocese for Palm Sunday services.

The Zoom meeting to record the Passion will occur on Wednesday, March 23rd at 4pm.

If you are interested in participating, please let Katie Clark, Director of Communications, know no later than 5 pm on Wednesday, March 16.
Upcoming Diocese of Maine Events
THIS WEEK! Clergy Retreat: Risk-taking in Christian Ministry
Thursday, March 10
10am - 3pm
On Zoom

Risk-taking is a part of life and an important challenge for those of us in Christian ministry
at this time. What is the nature of risk-taking? Why should we consider taking risks, and when is it appropriate to do so? What kinds of risks might the Spirit be asking us to consider taking in these challenging times? Join us for this one-day retreat for a chance to reflect on these questions and on their implications for y/our ministry in the Church and in the world.

Click here for the detailed agenda
This clergy retreat will led by Br. David Vryhof, SSJE.

Br. Vryhof is an ordained brother of the Society of St John the Evangelist, a religious order for men in the Episcopal Church, founded in Oxford, England in 1866 and in Boston in 1870. For over thirty years he has been engaged in the Society’s mission of teaching, preaching, offering spiritual direction and leading retreats. Currently, he serves the community as Vocations Brother and as a member of the Community Council. He resides at the Society’s monastery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Spring Communication Workshops!

Join Katie Clark and Teresa Pinney, our director and assistant director of communications, for upcoming workshops covering a variety of communication topics.

Workshops begin at 4:00 pm. Registration is required.

  • March 23: Canva for Church Communications
  • April 27: Email Newsletters - Constant Contact & MailChimp
  • May 25: Church websites
  • June 15: Social Media Basics for Churches

Click here to learn more and to register.
Spring Training 2022 - Featuring a Conversation with the Bishops of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont
Saturday, May 14
9 am -12 pm

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. Mark your calendars now, and be on the lookout for forthcoming registration for this free online event!
Upcoming Events
Making Things Memorable: Storytelling and Art as Faith Practice and Worship
Thursday, March 17
7:00 pm Eastern
Presented by Heather Roth Johnson
Part of the Province 1 Christian Formation Network's series of “Conversations with Noted Speakers”

Heather Roth Johnson is the Pastor of Family Ministry at Bethlehem Lutheran Church - Twin Cities. She is a storyteller, content creator, and liturgical artist.

To register, click here.
Ways to Support Those Suffering from Violence in Ukraine

Continue to pray for Ukraine and those in danger.
Collect for Peace from the BCP:

Almighty God, kindle, we pray, in every heart the true love of peace, and guide with your wisdom those who take counsel for the nations of the earth, that in tranquillity your dominion may increase until the earth is filled with the knowledge of your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Episcopal Relief and Development is working closely with partner agencies on the ground, especially in Poland and Hungary, who are helping those fleeing the violence. Episcopal Relief and Development has some helpful information, including church bulletin and church announcement ideas and donation details here.

Maine-based Partners for World Health is also involved in relief efforts for Ukraine. You can learn more here.

Click here for a unique idea shared by Rev. Gwen Fry and Marge Kilkelly.
Communications Office Hours

Are you interested in a working session regarding technology, social media, or how to communicate your message?

These are all topics for discussion at CommsChat - aka Communications Office Hours. The discussion each week is guided by the questions of those who attend.

This is a non-mandatory, come-if-you'd-like open discussion session.

This week's CommsChat is on Thursday, March 10rd from 11am - 12pm.

Click on the "Register Here" button below if you'd like to attend.
Job Openings
Camp Bishopswood is looking for a Food Service Director. The Food Service Director manages the overall food-service operation at Camp Bishopswood, including menu planning, purchasing, preparation, nutrition, safety, service, sanitation, record keeping, and sustainability initiatives. Camp Bishopswood serves 3 meals to approximately 140 people a day during the summer. The food service department will become an integral part of the overall camp program and community under the leadership of this position. This is a cooking position. Learn more here.

St. Philip's in Wiscasset is hiring a part-time Music Director. Do you know someone who loves making music to glorify God and inspire worshippers? Send them St. Philip's way. This small, family-friendly congregation gathers weekly for worship in its historic sanctuary is looking for a Music Director to play organ/piano and direct its choir. If you know an interested candidate, have them send their resume to this email or call 218-205-0420. For a full job description, click here.

St. George’s in York Harbor is hiring a part-time Parish Administrator. The weekly schedule will be developed with the minister. This position is partly office administration, and strong candidates will manage lots of details effectively. Above all, though, the role is about engaging people. Our Parish Administrator (PA) is often the first person contacted when needs arise. And, the PA will also have significant responsibility for congregational communications. We’re excited to work with someone creative and curious about how we can connect people and tell our story through digital engagement. Read the full job description here. To apply, email a cover letter and resume to the Rev. Ryan Mails.

The Episcopal Cathedral of St. Luke in Portland is seeking an Organist and Choirmaster. They seek a classically trained musician with a Master's degree or equivalent who will set an example for the Diocese of Maine in terms of inspiring hymn playing, compelling organ voluntaries, and training an all-volunteer choir. The individual should possess a high level of leadership, organization, graceful communication and work collaboratively with various teams, including clergy. For a full job description and instructions on how to apply, click here.

Trinity Church, Castine is seeking a part-time Administrator/Bookkeeper. This position requires a good working knowledge of QuickBooks for non-profits and Office programs such as Publisher, Word and Excel. If you have an interest or know of someone who would be interested, please contact Trinity's Treasurer, Kate Noel.

Is your church hiring? Would you like us to share out the job description in the CLL (this email), the Dio Log, and/or the diocesan LinkedIn page? If so, let us know!

As a reminder, churches that are in the search process for a new clergyperson are listed on the diocesan website here.
Diocesan Event Calendar
Save these dates below! More information will be forthcoming
as each event's information is finalized

10 Clergy Retreat: Risk-taking in Christian Ministry with Brother David Vryhof, SSJE
23 Communications Workshop: Canva for Church Communications

7 Chrism Mass & Renewal of Vows at Good Shepherd Church, Rangeley
13 Diocese-wide online worship service (Tenebrae) brought to you by Maine Episcopal Youth
27 Communications Workshop: Email Newsletters - Constant Contact & MailChimp

1-3 Clergy Conference, Schoodic Institute with the Rev. Jay Sidebotham (registration coming soon!)
14 Spring Training (online)
25 Communications Workshop: Church Websites

4 Diocese of Maine Worship and Picnic, Cathedral Church of Saint Luke
15 Communications Workshop: Social Media Basics for Churches
18 Ordinations, Cathedral Church of Saint Luke
21 Retired Clergy Gathering with the Bishop, St. Mark’s in Waterville
22 Retired Clergy Gathering with the Bishop, Loring House and Emmanuel Chapel
29 Quiet Day for the Deacon Community, Loring House and Emmanuel Chapel

7-14 General Convention