Trinity Church, Lewiston, is a lovely Gothic style church in a struggling neighborhood not far from downtown Lewiston. It’s the home of Jubilee Ministries which serves the community with numerous programs, most notably an after school program for Somali immigrant children. Trinity Parish is a fairly small operation. Trinity Jubilee Center is a giant.
The worship space at Trinity is modest, a good fit for the small congregation. One of the wings of the transept has been converted to a community living room for education and conversation.
On this Sunday, the skies had opened, and it was pouring rain! I worried a little about getting to Trinity on time because of the rain. But I made it in time for the School for Prayer, an adult education program examining and practicing various forms of Christian prayer. I had the privilege of leading the group in contemplative prayer using visual icons.
Following the program we gathered for worship. Worship at Trinity is informal but dignified. Music is supported by a small ensemble of flute, clarinet, keyboards and voice. The music was simply lovely. We did not celebrate confirmation, but in its place we renewed the vows of our baptism. Then we stood in a circle around the table as some 20 persons renewed their commitment to their particular ministries and commitments. Then I concluded with a prayer of commissioning and blessing. It was a moving and solemn moment, and I commend the this practice to the diocese.
After the Eucharist, we moved over to the living room for refreshments and conversation. There was commentary and dialogue about my sermon and then conversation about the parish’s ministries and the life of the Episcopal Church. It was a vigorous conversation, and we were soon taking up time set aside for the Vestry.
The conversation with the Vestry focused on ministry and on the cost of doing business. The church operation is small compared to the Jubilee Ministry. Indeed, the Jubilee Center covers some of the cost of parish operations. But Trinity Parish continues to look for ways to serve the community and to support its work.
For lunch, I joined rector Steve Crowson and Klara Tammany, Director of the Wisdom’s Women’s Center. The Wisdom’s Women’s Center is a community center for women which offers emotional support and access to services for women who struggle with poverty and abuse. It’s an important and growing outreach service in the neighborhood. With Steve and Klara and several volunteers, I enjoyed a lovely lunch.
The rain had lessened for a short time, but it was coming down in buckets as I left Trinity and headed for St. Matthew’s, Lisbon, to bless a new roadside sign. St, Matthew’s had recently erected the sign to draw attention to its off-the-road location. The sign is large and illuminated with plenty of space for coming events. Rector Beau Wagner and several parishioners greeted me for a few minutes of conversation about the ministries of the St. Matthew’s. Then we made brave procession in the pouring rain and blessed the sign and the ministries it proclaims.
After the blessing, we marched back up the driveway for some hot coffee and refreshments. Once again, conversation turned to ministry. We enjoyed a relaxed hour together, then I headed home in the still pouring rain as the folks of St. Matthew’s prepared for the evening program.
A full day in the Diocese of Maine.