On Sunday, June 19, Bishop Stephen T. Lane confirmed (12!), received, and baptized at a regional service hosted by St. George’s in York Harbor.
In his sermon he had this, in part, to say:
“…there is no place God can not or will not go to meet us, to reach us, to save us. God, in Christ, crosses the Lake of Gennesaret in the middle of a storm, goes to any unclean land, confronts any evil, for us. God is with us in the midst of all that terrifies us, all that causes us despair, in the midst of the evil done to us, and the evil we do to others. God meets those lost to addiction, challenged by illness, twisted by hatred, and oppressed by wickedness. God lies down in bathroom stalls with the wounded and the dying in a nightclub in Orlando.”
On Sunday afternoon, November 9, Bishop Steve Lane presided at a regional service at Saint Mary the Virgin in Falmouth, where he received and confirmed new members of Saint Mary’s and St. Alban, Cape Elizabeth.
In his sermon he had this, in part, to say:
We live with a foot in two worlds. We live in this world where we plan and dream and go to school and to college and find a job and earn our keep and pay our bills. And we can’t pretend we don’t need to do that. Feeding ourselves and our children is a responsibility that drives most of us all of our lives. And yet, that world is not the land of our ultimate hopes or our deepest loyalty. Our hearts belong to another world where justice and peace rule and the lion and the lamb lie down together, and where we, with God, rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the ruined cities.
Bishop Steve Lane preached and celebrated at St. Mark’s in Augusta today with the five congregations of the southern Kennebec Valley: St. Mark’s and St. Barnabas’, Augusta; Christ Church, Gardiner; St. Matthew’s, Hallowell; and St. Andrew’s, Winthrop.
He had this, in part, to say:
We understand that our future is tied together – that unless we join together for God’s sake, we will each sink alone. But let me suggest that even when we speak of The Episcopal Church in the Kennebec Valley, we still tend to think of ourselves as members of St. Mark’s – or St. Andrew’s or St. Barnabas’ or St. Matthew’s or Christ Church. And we still often see our task as saving our churches, when our true vocation is to claim our identity in Jesus Christ and to join him bravely in the healing of the world.
My usual Sunday visits often include the service of Confirmation. I particularly enjoy the opportunity to meet with folks before the service and to talk with them about their journey in faith.
I’m also open to regional services of Confirmation. It’s always fun when people come together from several churches, and we get a sense of being part of something larger than our home congregation.
The greater Portland congregations had been planning a joint service for some time, and as the time approached, the service began to grow as churches from around the diocese joined in. On Sunday, May 1, nine churches of the Diocese, including St. John’s, Bangor and St. Mark’s, Waterville, convened for a joyful service. Some 40 persons, both youth and adults, confirmed the vows of their baptism or were received into the Episcopal Church. Although there wasn’t an opportunity for in-depth conversation, the large gathering had other joys – wonderful music, a wide variety of participants, the joy of hearing all those names as the clergy presented each person.
I’m very grateful for the energy that went into preparing for the shared service. My special thanks go to Dean Ben Shambaugh, David Savage and the Verger Corps, Cathedral Musician Albert Melton, the Altar Guild, Celine Baker (St. Ann’s, Windham) and Madeline Roberts (Cathedral), who read, and all the clergy of the several congregations who prepared the confirmands and took part in the service. It was a memorable celebration.
From Bishop Steve’s sermon at the Portland-area regional confirmation service at the Cathedral of St. Luke on Sunday, May 1.
“I don’t know about you, but sometimes I’m just not sure… you know, about God… about God and Jesus and the Resurrection and all that. What I want, what I fervently desire, is for the Resurrection to be real – very real. And for it to make a difference. I don’t want my faith to be an intellectual construct or a spiritual fantasy. I want faith to be so real that the world must be changed…”
“Round Maine with Bishop Lane” began in the fall of 2008 as a reflection on my Sunday travels. One of my hopes was that it would help us get to know one another better and that we would learn a little about what’s happening around the diocese.
Over time the purpose of the blog has expanded a bit. It now includes occasional sermons and other writings – opportunities for you to read what I think as well as see where I go. And I’ve begun to think that the Sunday-only focus leaves out other occasions of importance in the diocese.
So today I want to share a regional confirmation that took place on Thursday, May 16. There have a been a couple of regional confirmations this past year, and they help in two ways: first they bring together a large group of folks for a very festive service, and they make it possible for people to be presented for confirmation whose process of preparation doesn’t fit with a Sunday visit.
Candidates from St. Michael’s, Auburn, and St. Mark’s, Waterville, joined late Thursday afternoon for a brief time of rehearsal and conversation at St. Mark’s. The service followed immediately at 6 p.m. Steve Foote, interim rector at St. Mark’s, and Jim Lowe, interim rector at St. Michael’s, presented the candidates for baptism, confirmation and reception. The service included a grand procession to the font while we sang Thuma Mina a capella. There were better than a dozen candidates, and the choir of St. Mark’s led our singing and offered a fine anthem. Following the service, members of the two congregations shared a brief reception. Comments from the happy folk at the reception made it clear that this joint service was a meaningful and enjoyable event.
Regional confirmation is an alternative to Sunday confirmation that I’m happy to consider. While visitations are scheduled as much as two years in advance, special gatherings can be scheduled in a much shorter time frame. I know of at least one regional confirmation already scheduled for 2011. Please let me know if such an event is of interest to you.