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We are happy to tell you that the Sheraton has extended the room block and special rate until Wednesday, September 12 (to make a reservation, call 508-879-7200), and we have extended general conference registrations until Thursday, Sept 20.

Sooo…if you let summer slip by and let the original deadline slip by as well, all is not lost.  Grace happens….

This is shaping up to be a wonderful conference on an important topic. Check out the brochure with schedule here:  NEDN Conference 2012

Currently, nearly 50 people have registered and we are expecting registrations from several more from RI and VT.  At the moment, we have 3 coming from CT, 18 from Dio MA, 15 from ME (Yay!), 1 from NH (one of our speakers), 4 from RI (one is their bishop-elect, who is a fan of deacons), 4 from VT, and 4 from Western MA. One of the folks coming from VT is Dn. Stan Baker who attended GC and presented a resolution on behalf of AED similar to one that will come before us at our diocesan convention in Oct….

Because we are coming down to the wire, we are making it even easier to register.  

Just send Sudie Blanchard ( an email with the following information:

  1. Your name as you want it on your name badge
  2. Your address
  3. Your phone number(s)
  4. Your email address
  5. What you would like for dinner:
    • Friday: Vegetable ravioli or Chicken Picatta
    • Saturday: Baked Haddock or Pot roast
  6. Any dietary restrictions we should know about
  7. Any other issues you may want us to know about
 Then send Sudie your check for $225 payable to The Diocese of Maine:
The Rev. Sudie Blanchard
25 Southside ROad
York, ME 03909
 Once Sudie has received those two things, she will send you a confirmation.

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 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.


  • 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:


  • 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:
  • 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.   (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 or call the EMHC Patient Referral Line toll-free at 866-591-8843.

Source: Bangor Daily News — The Weekly




For deacons ministering in areas of domestic poverty, this week’s ABC coverage of hunger’s impact on American children is frighteningly relevant. This is clearly an issue in need of both Prophets and Good Samaritans — and prayer. If you would like more information:

Ann and Chick celebrate the end of DFP!

Our two newest deacons at the end of the June retreat: Ann McAlhany and Chick Carroll celebrating the end of DFP and the reality of ordination!

Ann was born and raised in South Carolina and grew up in the Southern Baptist church; however, she has lived in Maine all her adult life. She was confirmed in the Episcopal Church at St. Margaret’s, Belfast in 1982 and is now serving as deacon at St. John’s, Bangor. Ann works full time as a Business Counselor with the Maine Small Business Development Centers, at CEI, where she understands her job to be to listen to story, and offer feedback to help clients reach their goals and  realize their dreams. She volunteers her skills to offer a financial literacy course at the Women’s Reentry Center, a pre-release facility in Bangor, where she also listens to story and helps the women envision a better life. She has a B.A. from Furman University in German with a concentration in Ecology, a Master’s in German from UMaine and a Master’s in Global Logistics from Maine Maritime Academy. She has two adult children, and lives with her partner Lorraine in Milo, Maine.

Chick was born in Massachusetts, and spent his early adult years in several places (including New Jersey and Washington D.C.). In 1976, he saw the light and moved to Maine. He now serves as deacon at St. Paul’s, Brunswick. He undertook both his community-based formation and congregational mentored practice in Brunswick, the latter at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church; his time there reawakened and deepened the relationship between St. Paul’s and Good Shepherd, who shared some of their Holy Week services this year as a result. Chick has served several years as a chaplain at Parkview Adventist Medical Center. Just prior to ordination, Chick received his M.A. from Bangor Theological Seminary. Absorbed by environmental and social justice issues, Chick was recently instrumental in collaborating with colleagues from several local churches to establish The Gathering Place, a drop-in day center for the homeless in Brunswick that opened in February of this year. He also helped inspire volunteers to take part in staffing the center and welcoming guests. Chick has four adult children, and he lives with his wife Ann in Topsham, Maine.

Welcome to the Rev. Ann McAlhany and the Rev. Chick Carroll!

The whole gang at the June DFP retreat: Chick Carroll, Bishop Steve, Dick Rasner, Ann McAlhany, Pat Blethen, John Arrision, Mary Lee Wile, Corey Walmer, Jane Chatfield

As all of you know, no one makes the journey through DFP alone. A year ago, Ann and Chick were joined by Dick Rasner, from the Cathedral Church of St. Luke. Then in January, four more joined the DFP: Pat Blethen from St. Patrick’s, Brewer; John Arrison from St. Margaret’s, Belfast; Corey Walmer from St. Luke’s, Wilton; and Jane Chatfield from St. Peter’s, Rockland. These fellow-DFPers sent Ann and Chick off with a psalm they composed, prayers they gathered, and the support of their presence and participation at the ordination.

Dear Brother and Sister Deacons,
   The recently formed Council on Deacons in the Diocese of Maine met for the first time on Thursday, June 16 and we are excited and honored to have been elected to serve the deacon community. As your chaplains we make ourselves available to you, not to replace the Bishop, who is our  chief pastor, but to support Bishop Steve in his ministry to us.
We will be calling each of you to say hello and to encourage you to call on us when and if we can be supportive of you  in your ministry and in your personal life, with prayer, and a listening heart.  
Our ministries are deeply valuable to the people among whom we serve and to our families, friends and congregations and  we all need support from time to time.We are eager to offer this ministry of service to you.
                                  Christine Bennett and Peggy Day

The following was posted today by the Association for Episcopal Deacons’ Domestic Poverty Taskforce.  It came as an email, and didn’t link to a website. so it made sense to copy it and attribute it to the Deacons who gathered the information. It’s a “keeper” — you never know when the information could come in handy… Thank’s Mary Lee for suggesting we post this.

Deacon Elaine Clements (Louisiana) and Deacon Carol Borne Spencer (Mississippi) compiled the resourses mentioned in the article. Their expertise and critiques were essential in compiling the information below.



When Christians respond to a tornado, a flood, a wildfire or a hurricane, they become the hands and feet of Jesus to a world that is hurting.  Each disaster has three parts:

  • Emergency Response:  Ministry to the immediate need for health and safety for all of God’s children. This ministry is best left to experienced responders and professionals. (1 day to 3 weeks)
  • Recovery:  Supplying the basic needs for living including food, hygiene, shelter, money, removal of debris, recovery or replacement of personal items, grief support, connection with Governmental and non-Governmental agencies providers of service. (3 days to 24 months
  •  Re-building:  Working with others as instruments of God’s grace to rebuild strong and just communities. (from Day 1 onward)


Most people want to jump in and get involved right away, but there are important things you must do immediately to pave the road to recovery.
Do NOT try to go into the areas affected by the disaster unless you are working with a recognized entity like The American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, or a local disaster service group.

Instead, choose some of these ways for your churches to make a real difference:

  1.  Check to be sure that all the members of your parish are safe and do not have immediate needs. Respond to those who are affected.
  2.  Use your church or parish hall as a collection point for donated supplies.
  3.  The National Voluntary Association of Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) has an excellent website   Make this your “first stop” to learn what is already being done , what is really needed  and how you can fit into the plan.
  4.  Use the NVOAD site to make a list of contact numbers to hand out to parishioners who wish to volunteer at community agencies.
  5.  Update your parish website and social media pages to keep members informed of needs on a timely basis.
  6.  Select from the many resources offered by Episcopal Relief and Development for responding to disasters ERD resource library
  7.  Recruit volunteers to donate and package items to make up hygiene kits Hygiene kits  or kits to be used for cleaning supplies Clean up supplies and kits
  8.  Put out a special call for donations to existing feeding sites, food pantries and clothing stores  in areas not affected by the disaster Their supplies will diminish while the focus shifts to the victims of disaster.
  9.  Plan a community picnic or barbecue or other event to which all members of the community are invited.
  10.  Pray for and donate to shelter for the people who are hurting and for the first responders entrusted with their care.


During recovery the Church can become the focus for many and varied opportunities for service.

  1.  Set up or refine your local disaster communication program.  Deacon Tracy Middleton shares her excellent ideas through Episcopal Relief and Development.
  2. Find her advice at – scroll down to “Tips and Lessons.”
  3.  Be aware of and comply with the FEMA requirements to serve in affected areas. This may include organizing a way for parishioners to register in advance as a volunteer in order to work in specific areas.
  4.  See how other dioceses affected by disaster are updating their response plans. The Diocese of Mississippi and the Diocese of Louisiana provide models for preparedness and response.
  5.  Work with local donation sites to sort and transport supplies for distribution. Recruit teams from your church to help in this way.
  6.  BE PRACTICAL ABOUT DONATIONS!  People who have lost housing or transportation do not need a lot of “stuff”.  For ideas about what is needed visit the American Red Cross site  Choose the tabs “Recover After a Disaster” (under the heading ‘Getting Assistance’) and “Prepare Your Home and Family” (under the heading ‘Preparing and Getting Trained’) to see the items that are needed most.
  7.  Give as much money as you can to reputable agencies, Episcopal Relief and Development Give Now to ERD,  to your own Diocesan Relief Fund, The American Red Cross, or your local United Way.
  8.  Encourage church groups to take on a specific project. Focus on long-term needs rather than short-term goals.  Work with other faith groups to increase your effectiveness.
  9. Consider inviting some parishioners to take part in a response preparedness training program offered through Episcopal Relief and Development Serve through ERD.  More options for training are available through the Methodist Church UMCOR Training or through The Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCA)  programs for response. ELCA Disaster response
  10.  Continue to pray for those affected by the disaster and for the communities in which they live.


  1. While this third phase is often viewed as the least glamorous part of the Church’s response, it is the most important to engaging the diakonia of believers.
  2.  Begin talking and preaching about the Christ’s message of love for all people. Take the focus off the “victims” and place it on redemption and grace.
  3.  Learn the facts about how the disaster has affected housing, education, employment, the tax base, or other dimensions of your community. Use this to inform how your parish spends its time and money.
  4.  Encourage people in your parish to partner with specific institutions and agencies (for example, your local Chamber of Commerce, Habitat for Humanity) whose focus is on building homes and communities.
  5.  Look for good models of the ways that other communities that are rebuilding after disaster. The Jericho Road Project in New Orleans is one of these.
  6.  Read the newspaper. Keep up with how your community is healing. Use this information to focus your outreach.
  7.  Learn about the work of the National Housing Trust Fund Ideas for revitalizing neighborhoods and how they are working to promote sustainable communities.
  8.  Consider inviting and hosting volunteer groups from other parts of the nation to help with specific rebuilding projects.  Episcopal Relief and Development can help with this.
  9. Volunteer Through Episcopal Relief and Development
  10.  Pray for your community and all the places in which God’s people live in this nation and beyond.

 A Parting Thought:

Christ has no body on earth, but yours.  Yours are the eyes through which He looks with compassion on this world.  Yours are the feet with which He walks doing good. Yours are the hands with which he blesses all the earth.

St. Teresa of Avila

For those of you not subscribed to AngloDeacons, I thought this news about our “missionary to Mass.” Geoff Smith might be welcome:

“The bishops of Massachusetts have appointed two deacons, the Rev. Geoffrey Smith and the Rev. Pat Zifcak, to serve as archdeacons, assisting with the formation, deployment, supervision and support of those ordained to and preparing for ordination to the diaconate in this diocese.

Our deacons and deacons in formation will greatly benefit from the experience and gifts Geof brings to Massachusetts from the dioceses of Chicago and Maine, along with Pat’s many years of faithful and wise leadership in the diocese with our deacons and many congregations. We are grateful for their willingness to serve,” Bishop M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE said in his March 24 announcement of the appointments.

The new archdeacons will be officially installed at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston on during the Holy Tuesday, April 19 service at 11 a.m.

Bravo, Geoff — this is good news for all the deacons in MA.  But does this mean we have to call you “Venerable?”


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Photos of Maine Deacons

Deacon Retreat 2010

Deacon Ben Wetherill of Good Shepherd, Rangeley, reads the Gospel at Convention 2009