The new St. Martin’s welcomes its first diocesan events

This past Saturday I took part in a Maine institution – the Ministry Fair. It was held in Palmyra’s brand new church and parish hall. St. Martin’s, as you may recall, was struck by a tragic fire three years ago. The Ministry Fair – and the Social Justice Summit on Friday night – were the first diocesan events held in the new buildings. The space is wonderful – bright, open, inspiring. I suspect the meetings were the first of many.

The Social Justice Summit was a gathering of several of the social justice groups in our diocese. Canon Heidi Shott called them together to share about their ministries and to ask what more needs to be done. Representatives of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, the Haiti-Maine Connection, Prison Ministry, the Hispanic Ministry and several others joined for conversation and mutual support.

Bishop Steve leads the singing between speakers at the Ministry Fair.
Bishop Steve leads the singing between speakers at the Ministry Fair.

The Ministry Fair is an annual occasion to discuss our vocations as Christians. Some 60 persons gathered for morning devotions and then a series of stories about ministry. This year we were privileged to hear moving stories by Deacon Aaron Perkins, prison chaplain; Dr. Cynthia deSoi, doctor who serves in Haiti; Joshua Buck, student at UMO; and Rector Nina Pooley of St. Bart’s, Yarmouth. Between the stories we joined in the singing of hymns as a way of helping us reflect on what we’d heard. (The singing gave me an opportunity to work on my chops as a song leader.)

After the story-telling we joined for workshops. There was one on the diocesan discernment process, one sponsored by the Commission on Baptismal Ministry, one on the ordination process, and one on deepening our spiritual lives.

The Rev. Nina Pooley, rector of St. Bartholomew's, Yarmouth, shares her faith story.
The Rev. Nina Pooley, rector of St. Bartholomew's, Yarmouth, shares her faith story.

We broke for lunch provided by the hospitable people of St. Martin’s and enjoyed the new parish hall. Several members of the parish shared their experiences of the fire and the process of rebuilding. We heard touching stories of death and rebirth. Following lunch, the workshops were repeated, and we ended the day with prayer.

My deep thanks for all who participated, the rector, deacons and members of St. Martin’s, the members of the Commission on Baptismal Ministry, members of Commission on Holy Orders, the Rev. Jim Gill, and to Canon Vicki Weiderkehr, who planned and organized the Fair. It was a good day in the Diocese of Maine.

For more photos from Ministry Fair visit our picasa web album at http://picasaweb.google.com/episcopalmaine/2009MinistryFair#