Life is always changing – nothing ever stays the same. That’s true in our personal lives and in the large organizations to which we belong. It’s true in our diocese. I’ve recently had the pleasure of participating in two Celebrations of New Ministry with congregations and clergy who are just beginning their ministries together.
A couple of weeks ago I celebrated the New Ministry of the Rev. Glenn Mahaffey and St. Peter’s, Rockland. Glenn has joined us from the Diocese of Central New York. Last week I shared in celebration with the Rev. Virginia Peacock and St. Brendan’s, Stonington. Ginny comes from the Diocese of Northern Michigan. Both celebrations were designed according to the alternative liturgy that is part of Enriching our Worship and both focused on the baptismal ministry of the congregations. The worship proclaimed that these new ministries are partnerships between priests and congregations, who jointly share in the work that lies before them. All are called by God. All of have roles and responsibilities. The success of the ministries depends on the development of effective relationships between priest and people.
St. Peter’s, Rockland, for those of you who may not have been there, is in the middle of downtown Rockland. It lies between the Public Library and a playground. That playground is being rebuilt to make it safer and more attractive. St. Peter’s is looking at the playground as a mission opportunity. St. Peter’s is also considering ways that connecting with the arts community might be an effective avenue for ministry. There’s a lot of enthusiasm, and the service reflected the energy and optimism of the parish.
St. Brendan’s, Stonington, is way down at the end of the peninsula in the Penobscot Bay, about three and a half hours from Portland. It’s not all that far as the crow flies, but a long drive. I’m still getting used to the notion of driving north to ultimately go south. St. Brendan’s worships in the United Methodist Church in a worship space that easily adapts to Episcopal worship. Gretchen and I spent some time removing Methodist hymnals and distributing Episcopal hymnals. The service was, again, enthusiastic with one of the young people providing a beautiful solo after communion. St. Brendan’s is also working with the arts community as a way to enhance ministry.
Change… in my first year in the diocese I’ve ordained two new priests, celebrated two new ministries, and bid farewell to three long serving clergy. In June I’ll ordain several deacons. Around the diocese, about a dozen congregations are seeking new ordained leadership. God is always calling us on to new life.