Celebrations in Western Maine

In June we ordained three deacons and a transitional deacon at the Cathedral. Ben Wetherill was not able to participate in that ordination because his daughter was graduating from high school in June. So on Saturday, September 26, I ordained him to the diaconate at Church of the Good Shepherd, Rangeley.

Fall was definitely in the air as Gretchen and I made our way to Rangeley on Friday afternoon. The colors were spectacular, and the innkeeper at the Country Club Inn speculated that peak color would come in just a few days. Arriving the night before the ordination gave us the opportunity to meet and share a meal with Good Shepherd’s new rector, Jud Peeler and his wife, Sandy. We enjoyed a relaxed supper full of conversation about life in Rangeley and the Diocese of Maine.

Saturday began with a rehearsal at the church followed by some prayer time with Ben. Then at 1 p.m. we celebrated the baptismal ministry of the church and Ben’s ordination to the order of deacons. The music, some of it provided by Ben’s family, was accompanied by flute, guitar and organ. The Episcopal Church capable of throwing some wonderful liturgical parties, and this was certainly one of them.

After a sit down reception, Gretchen and I headed down the mountain to St. Luke’s, Wilton. We were the guests of the rector, Tim Walmer and Corey. After a little R&R, I met with the Vestry over supper.

St. Luke’s serves Wilton and Farmington and is involved in a number of ministries. For those who haven’t been there, St. Luke’s is a “recycled” Roman Catholic church with a gracious sense of light and space. But the church is a bit off the beaten path. So my conversation with the Vestry was about ways to get St. Luke’s presence before the larger community. We talked about ministry partnerships and use of their new website.

Sunday morning there was one service at 9 a.m. As part of the service, we celebrated confirmation and reception. I was particularly moved that the person being received is someone who was burned out of her home just two weeks ago. The St. Luke’s community has gathered round her, and she was firm in desire to be received in the Episcopal Church.

Our morning ended with a fine brunch and more conversation about life and ministry, particularly about the recent General Convention. The Episcopal Church is alive and well in Wilton.