Welcome to the Episcopal Church in Maine!
We are 59 year-round congregations – from York Harbor to Presque Isle, Rumford to Eastport – filled with people who seek to love and serve God with gladness and singleness of heart, and to seek and to serve Christ in all persons. That the simple answer, straight from the Baptismal Covenant found in the Book of Common Prayer.
Recently we decided to ask Maine Episcopalians how they would answer questions about their church community and the ministry we do together. We also asked what they would say to people who were interested in finding out more about God and the role a faith community might play in their lives.
We got some awesome answers!
Below you'll hear what real Mainers – people actually go to church – have to say about the Episcopal Church in Maine and why you should join them.
Question: What would you say to welcome someone who might be interested in spiritual things and perhaps interested in trying church but who doesn’t know much about the Episcopal Church … or any church … or even God?
Welcome to the Episcopal Diocese of Maine where faith and reason converge, a place where you will find the love Christ, and where you will feel accepted regardless of where you are on your personal and faith journey.
The thing I like best about our church is its openness. I feel I can explore Christianity and my spirituality without fear of being required to conform in any way.
No matter who you are or where you came from, this is a place where you will be accepted. Please come and sit down. Let us get to know you as you get to know us.
Ancient worship, modern thought in a church that respects reason and a diversity of people and thought.
Question: What is our worship like and why would anyone what to join us?
We are not stuffy! We open our doors to everyone. The book of Common Prayer we go by has been around for a long time but many of our thoughts our new. We find God in the way that we come together on Sundays. We do this through prayer and this coming together is central to our life together with God and Jesus’ teachings.
Our style of worship is flexible. The Book of Common Prayer has services and prayers for many occasions during the day and is useful for personal prayer and scripture reading. The beauty of the liturgies in the prayer book surpass anything I have experienced and when we join in corporate worship there is a sense of power and union from the Holy Spirit. Worship is at church’s core and all good works flow from that experience.
Because we share a commitment to a sacramental form of worship, that means that we bring all our differences to a sacred space where the differences are put to the service of our common belief.
Question: Who’s in charge? How do we make our decisions? How do we share responsibility for our life, worship and mission?
We don’t expect the priest to take care of everything. Those who attend church step up to the plate and donate their time to activities such as visitations, Sunday School, and other activities. The priest guides the people toward an end point, but the people help decide which path to take depending on the needs of the church.
The local church is part of the diocese which is part of The Episcopal Church. Each “level” makes decisions about its life together in its community with the Rector, Wardens and Vestry handling the business affairs of the local church. At the diocesan level, representatives from each congregation make decisions that affect us all. The national church meets in General Convention every three years to deal with issues in our country and in the greater worldwide church. The body of Christ is alive and well in the Diocese of Maine in its local congregations, which carry out the work of the diocese, as voted and approvied by delegates from each parish, and overseen by the Bishop. The intent is to be collegial in all matters excepting the doctrine of the church.
No large group of people ever comes to consensus on anything! But in the Episcopal Diocese, we make our decisions after careful conversations occur; everyone has an opportunity to contribute; and while the final decision may not be completely perfect for every member, we choose the fairest solutions to issues that we can come to, making sure that we are informed by kindness, love, and the example set by Jesus Christ.
Question: How do we serve as the hands and feet of Jesus in the world around us? In our local communities? Within the state of Maine? Across the wider world?
We serve as the hands and feet of Jesus everyday in our homes, our work and our place in the world here in Maine. We serve our communities as volunteers in our schools, our hospitals, our town governments and that in turn affects this state. “And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love….” That call to serve originates within each one of us, sometimes prompted by the influence of God and his saints. Our work in the world as representatives of God and our church is what defines us in the world.
In Houlton, we collect for the local food pantry weekly, and it is not only food. We realize that people need shampoo and toilet paper, which can not be gotten on food stamps. The Sunday School also picks a cause, such as world hunger, which they collect their change for and donate. It helps the children learn the importance of giving.
Our worship service ends with a call to go into the world to love and serve the Lord. Each church figures out how to do that in its own way. Most churches get involved in helping those in need in their own communities through soup kitchens, food pantries, and other assistance. We have a partner Diocese in Haiti and we visit each other often and assist when we can.
Our invitation to you
If you are hungry for good and caring friends,
If you are hungry for deeper connection with the Holy and all of creation,
If you are hungry to pose questions and be open to new answers,
If you are hungry to find meaning in your life,
If you are hungry to serve others,
If you are hungry – come, join us for the feast in the Episcopal Church!
I began my search for a new religion after wandering in the desert as a young person, and it only took walking in the door of the local Episcopal Church for me to know I had come home at last. Your search may not be that brief or decisive, yet there is a world of discovery and meaning and love awaiting you if you will dare to go exploring!
Come and visit us on Sunday for our service of worship and for coffee and goodies afterward. We offer friendship, support, and a haven; we strive to embody God’s love in the world.
We Episcopalians have been around, doing more or less the same thing every Sunday, for almost 500 years. We may not have everything right — do you know any one who does? — but we keep on trying. Why not join us and see for yourself?