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Are you a deacon? Are you exploring  the possibility of becoming a deacon? Do you want to find out what God is up to in New England?  If so, then join us at  Extraordinary Promise: Love and Service to the World, the 2014 the New England Deacon’s Network Conference in Framingham, MA from Friday, October 3 to Sunday, October 5, 2014.

Our keynoHandsheartte speaker is Deacon Susanne Watson-Epting. She will speak about deacons, past and present and will add her take on what the deacon of the future might be up to. Three bishops from Province 1, including our own bishop, will be part of a panel discussion.

During the weekend, there will be lots of time to network  with deacons and others who are following God’s call to ministry in the world.  We have lots of fun and invite you to join us!   Learn more and register

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As we all prepare for Convention, you may have heard about Resolution 9:

RESOLVED: that the 193rd Convention of the Diocese of Maine call upon all of its constituent committees, commissions, institutions, and congregations, to include as part of every meeting in calendar year 2013, no matter what the purpose, the following agenda item: “How will what we are doing here affect or involve people living in poverty?”

At the recent NEDN Conference, where the focus was poverty, Maine deacons and deacons-in-formation who were there met with fellow deacon Chick Carroll, wordsmith of the resolution, and offered our thoughts and suggestions. We all felt that more explanation was needed. What resulted from that conversation was an excellent piece published a few days ago on the Diocese’s NNE BLog.  Rather than copying the text here, we’re offering a link.  After the piece itself, there are comments that make for good reading. Feel free to join that conversation and add your own comments: http://episcopalmaine.wordpress.com/2012/10/11/talking-about-poverty-in-maine/

The Rev. Heather Blais reflected recently on Resolution 9 on the Justice and Mercy blog. Again, there are comments that follow the article, hence just the link: http://justiceandmercyme.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/why-our-buildings-just-dont-matter/

Those of us who are sponsoring the resolution hope you will read these articles before you leave for convention. We ask for your prayerful consideration and hope you will encourage the clergy and delegates you know to join you in that prayerful consideration.

People living in poverty are not, of course, just in Maine.  Here are several opportunities for both awareness building and action:

  • Check out the “Move your Money” campaign featured on the new Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation web site: http://epgr.org/
  • The National Council of Churches on their Poverty Initiative website is offering a series of webinars that look interesting.  The webinars are listed in the Events section: http://www.nccendpoverty.org/index.html

At Convention, co-sponsors of the resolution and participants in the NEDN conference will be distributing “Vote YES on 9” badges. They hope you’ll wear one!

From the New England Deacons Network:

Posted on April 2, 2012

Come join us at the Sheraton, Framingham, MA on September 28-30, for NEDN Conference 2012 We’re thrilled to have plans for the following guest speakers: 

Beth Mattingly is director of research on vulnerable families at the Carsey Institute. Her interests center on women, children, and family well-being. Her work at the Carsey Institute examines child poverty and how different family policies influence rural, suburban, and urban families and how families adjust their labor force behavior during times of economic strain. She also examines poverty-related issues, how families cope with economic distress, childhood maltreatment, and foster care across states.

The Hon. Byron Rushing was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1982. He came to the House with a work background of community organizing and of Afro-American history.  In the legislature, Byron’s priorities are human and civil rights, and the development of democracy; local human, economic and housing development; and housing and health care for all. Byron is a member of St. John’s, St. James Parish in Roxbury. He has been an elected lay deputy to the General Convention of The Episcopal Church since 1973; he was the chaplain to the House of Deputies at the 1994 General Convention–the only layperson to hold this position; he is an Adviser to the President of the House of Deputies. He is a founding member of the Episcopal Urban Caucus and serves on the boards of the Episcopal Network for Economic Justice and of The Episcopal Church Archives. He holds an honorary doctorate from the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge. He is a popular speaker and preacher on the ministry of all the baptized and on politics and faith.

Professor Willis Jenkins.  Professor Jenkins’s research focuses on environmental ethics, sustainable communities, global ethics, and theological ethics. He is author of Ecologies of Grace: Environmental Ethics and Christian Theology, published in 2008, editor of The Spirit of Sustainability, and co-editor of the forthcoming Bonhoeffer and King: Receiving Their Legacies for Christian Social Thought. Professor Jenkins previously taught at the University of Virginia and at a rural campus of Uganda Christian University. He has significant international experience in community development initiatives, was co-founder of the Episcopal Young Adult Service Corps, and served on the Episcopal Church’s Standing Commission on World Mission, 2000–2006.

Mark your calendars, check out the whole blog (click on Links and find the newenglanddeacons at: <http://newenglanddeacons.wordpress.com/&gt;).

Here’s the brochure with registration form:  NEDN Conference 2012

Plan to join the caravan of carpools headed there in September!

31 of us came to Deacons’ Day  on March 31 in Palmyra at St. Martin’s Church.  We spent the first half of our time together with Bishop Steve, who led us first in worship, and then in an experience of “Lexio Devina,” reading Matthew 6:1-21 and allowing us a good amount of time for reflection on those words.  Here’s a link to download Daily Prayer for all Seasons, the resource the Bishop used for the short service that began our day. During the rest of our time together with Bishop Steve, we spoke mostly about how we might do a better job of creating a sense of community among all the deacons of Maine.  We enjoyed delicious soup and sandwiches provided by St.Martins, and continued the conversation into the afternoon.  Archdeacon Mary Lee shared the results of the survey that more than half of us completed, and we shared our thoughts and experiences of our own formation experiences.  Download the survey here:   DFP Survey overview.

The deacon’s’ Prayer List will be revived. People have been missing it.  I (Sudie) confessed to dropping the ball on this and was informally absolved by those attending (Whew!)    The prayer list will be sent to all on the deacon list at first, with an option to “opt out” if you don’t choose to participate. It will come as an email on the first Sunday of each month.  (If there’s an urgent need for prayer, contact me at sblanchard@stgeorgesyorkharbor.org) We will be praying for our own personal concerns (not parishioners–we assume they are on your parish lists)  I will list the name of the Deacon requesting our prayers, just the first name of the person we are to pray for, and a broad reason for the prayer (healing, grief, peace of mind, etc.) This should address any issues of confidentiality. People will be kept on the list for a month, unless I hear that they need to stay on for longer.  I will do my best to keep this up.  Happily, I have given up trying to be perfect long ago, but if I miss that first Sunday of the month, I hope you will gently remind me.

All in all, it was a wonderful day–well worth the drive and provided a good chance to see and catch up with friends and colleagues.

SAVE THESE DATES: 

  • On Friday and Saturday, May 18 and 19, plan to attend our Annual Retreat at Living Waters.  For the first time, if enough are able to stay, we’ll be offering the option to stay an additional night, until Sunday lunch.  Important: This will be the last time we will be  enjoying the Sisters’ hospitality at Living Waters.  The retreat center will be closed at the end of this season.  Come one more time and enjoy a time of rest and reflection at this beautiful spot!  Details and specifics will be sent to all shortly.
  • The Downeast Spiritual Life Conference — Ellsworth, ME, August 24-25 — Some at our meeting mentioned this.  Here’s a link for your convenience.
  • Reserve September 28-30 for the biennial New England Deacons’ Network Conference that will be held once again at the Sheraton Hotel in Framingham MA. The topic is “Crushing Poverty: Service and Solidarity with Those on the Edge” The organizing committee has lined up some excellent presenters:

Registration information and more will be sent to all shortly.  Those of us who went to the Conference in 2010 recommend that you make every effort to attend.  We will learn a great deal about the issues covered and it’s always good to meet with other deacons and share experiences.  This is the continuing education opportunity offered in the fall.  Registration will cost $225 and each night at the hotel will cost $94 (that’s single occupancy–find a roommate and save money!) Ask your congregation for funding and/or request a grant from the Loring Fund–it’s well worth it. Our Venerable friend Geof Smith has put together a blog to keep us all informed: http://newenglanddeacons.wordpress.com/

OTHER EVENTS OF INTEREST:

  • Coming up right away: Friday April 20-Saturday, April 21: Annual New England Anglican Studies Conference presented by the Harvard Divinity School Episcopal/Anglican Fellowship and the Harvard Episcopal Chaplaincy that’s focused on preaching:  http://hdsepisc.org/
  • On Tuesday, June 5, you’re invited to “Out of the Darkness and into Delight! Spirituality, Flourishing and Joy” at Colby College.  Keynoter Dr. Jeff Levin will ground us in “Spirituality and Health:  An Epidemiologist’s Perspective,” and 10 workshop leaders will share their experience and knowledge with participants in an array of experiential sessions.  http://www.mainedartmouth.org/nevola/nevola12/   (FYI–this conflicts with our Clergy Day)


The Rev. Tom Benson (right) and wife Teile Benson were honored on Sept. 14 with the renaming of the Medical Office Building Conference Room to the Tom and Teile Benson Conference Room at Bangor Visiting Nurses/Hospice of Eastern Maine on Union Street, Bangor.

BANGOR — Family, friends and colleagues gathered on Sept. 14 to honor the Rev. Thomas “Tom” Benson and Marteile “Teile” Benson for their three decades of devoted service to Bangor Area Visiting Nurses and Hospice of Eastern Maine. The recognition ceremony included the renaming of the Medical Office Building Conference Room in the nurses and hospice suite at the EMHS Mall on Union Street to the Tom and Teile Benson Conference Room.

“Tom and Teile’s varied services to our organization have resulted in the community being a better place for all to live and die,” said Wayne Melanson, hospice volunteer manager, at the ceremony. “They are two extraordinary people who exemplify selfless service to others. Their can-do attitude and perseverance in championing compassionate, quality patient care are models for the rest of us to emulate.”

The impact of Tom and Teile’s service to Bangor Area Visiting Nurses and Hospice of Eastern Maine is far reaching, Melanson said. Tom participates on Eastern Maine HomeCare’s Professional Advisory Committee and Teile was one of the visionary co-founders of COPES, now Hospice of Eastern Maine, 30 years ago, and she served as its first president. COPES volunteers introduced hospice to the community and brought compassionate comfort care to end-of-life experiences for patients and families. Tom and Teile were two of the first patient care volunteers with COPES, at times working as a couple to provide emotional and spiritual support.

Teile has participated as the Hospice Memorial Garden chairwoman and the Citizens Advisory Committee chairwoman and continues to be a top solicitor for the annual Celebrity Dessert & Auction. She also leads the prayer shawl ministry at St. John’s Episcopal Church and gives hospice patients and others in spiritual need with prayer shawls.

Together Tom and Teile served on the Time To Care Capital Campaign committee in 2005, the visiting nurses’ first capital campaign. The campaign exceeded its goal. In 2008 nurses and hospice staff, with guidance from Tom and Teile’s daughter Ann, worked on the creation of the Rev. Thomas & Marteile Benson Endowment Fund.

“The response from family and friends was overwhelming, and a true testament to the impact this couple has had on the lives of so many in this community and beyond,” Melanson said. The wooden plaque, with the image of the couple on it, reads: “The Tom and Teile Benson Conference Room. In grateful recognition of their distinguished service, devoted support, and leadership in advocating for quaility patient care on behalf of Bangor Area Visiting Nurses and Hospice of Eastern Maine.”

Bangor Area Visiting Nurses has achieved HomeCare Elite status for the fifth year in a row. Along with its hospice program, Hospice of Eastern Maine, visiting nurses extends services into central Maine. Last year its caring staff drove 293,983 miles to provide 27,433 visits to more than 1,550 home care and hospice patients and their families. Although home care services are paid for by public and private sources, or directly by patients and their families, tax-exempt donations help cover the cost of care provided to the uninsured or under-insured.

A part of the Eastern Maine HomeCare Family, and a member of EMHS, Bangor Area Visiting Nurses works to ensure that the highest quality home care and hospice is available to those who need it. For more information about home care and hospice services, visit http://www.easternmainehomecare.org or call the EMHC Patient Referral Line toll-free at 866-591-8843.

Source: Bangor Daily News — The Weekly

 

 

 

It was a great day for the deacons of Maine last Saturday, when we met at St. Martin’s in Palmyra. We were joined by our Bishop and 7 of the people in the Deacon Formation Program. Our hosts at St. Martin’s welcomed us warmly with coffee, fruit and Deacon Tom’s Gilbert’s delicious cinnamon buns — this brought back such memories of my own deacon formation days — after the long drive from York, it was always a treat to smell the scent of cinnamon wafting from the classroom where we met at BTS….

After Morning Prayer together, we spent time together talking about our structure and how we might find better ways of organizing ourselves. Elected by consensus were 2 co-conveners (Alicia Kellogg, and Aaron Perkins), 2 chaplains (Christine Bennett and Peggy Day) and 1 communications officer (me, Sudie Blanchard) The Bishop has appointed a third Archdeacon, Mary Lee Wile, to join Audrey and Tom. After Noonday Prayer followed by a delicious lunch, we had a good conversation with our bishop, as we reflected together on the changes faced by the church. The day concluded with Eucharist. We also bid a fond farewell to Deacon Deborah McKean, who is retiring and moving to California.

On the table in the back of the room were several resources of interest. One, “Daily Prayer for all Seasons”, contained a prayer that was used in one of our services. At Mary Lee’s request, I’ve included here a link to Daily Prayer for all Seasons. I’ve glanced through it. I think it may be a useful resource. THe chair of the task force that wrote it, the Rev. Julia Wakelee-Lynch , welcomes our feedback. Her email address is rector@st-albans-albany.org

I took some pictures on Saturday and will post them here on the blog later in the week, as time allows. Sudie

I just sent in the form the catering team uses up at St. Martins — they gave me an April Fool’s Day deadline.  If all goes as planned, there will be 43 of us all together next Saturday, and that’s no April Fool’s Day joke!

There will be one bishop, 8 deacons-in-training, and 34 deacons.  I am so pleased that so many are coming from all over the state for this day together. Travel safely, and I will see you when we gather at 8:30.

We are looking for musicians (singers and/or instrumentalists) who are willing to take a look at some music and lead the rest of us in song — if you’d like to do that, bring your voice or another instrument and arrive on time to grab a cup of java before heading off to a brief rehearsal at 8:45.

I am thinking positively: No snow….no snow….No snow….PLEASE, no snow!

Sudie

P.S. I added a new category on our blog today: “Continuing Education” If you know of any upcoming opportunities for continuing ed. that others might enjoy, please suggest them. It’s easy to add them. There’s a link now to info about the EDS course that I mentioned in a recent email.