Letter from Bishop Brown to members of the Climate Justice Council, Committee on Indian Relations, Episcopal Peace Fellowship, and Racial Justice Council, Diocesan Council, Standing Committee, and diocesan staff:
20 December 2023, an Ember Day
and the commemoration of Katharina Von Barra, church reformer, 1552
Dear Friends in Christ,
Because of your leadership—particularly that of the Committee on Indian Relations and the Racial Justice Council—Episcopalians in Maine are renewing our commitment to advocacy for the Wabanaki tribes. We give God thanks for the movement among faith communities in Maine, within our diocese and beyond, whose advocacy for tribal sovereignty is mobilizing people throughout the state. Of course, you know well that we don’t do this alone. Effecting change happens when we work together.
Therefore, on January 2, 2024, the Episcopal Diocese of Maine will affiliate with the Wabanaki Alliance Tribal Coalition (we are already members of the Wabanaki Alliance).
At the December Diocesan Council meeting, the chair of the Committee on Indian Relations, Matthew Dunlap (St.James in Old Town) asked whether CIR could affiliate with the Wabanaki Alliance Tribal Coalition. Leaders from the Racial Justice Council were also eager to sign on to the Coalition. Since every diocesan committee or working group is incorporated as the Body of Christ, that is, since we’re one community called together to engage God’s mission, we can only do so as one community: the Episcopal Diocese of Maine.
I hope the diocese’s affiliation with the Wabanaki Alliance Tribal Coalition equips you to encourage individuals in the diocese, and especially, our 57 year-round congregations, to add their names as outward signs of our community’s commitment to this collaborative and system-changing ministry.
May God continue to bless the work of our hearts and hands, even to follow the prophet Isaiah’s vision to be oaks of righteousness and repairers of the breach
Every blessing of peace to you for Advent and the Incarnation of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
The Right Reverend Thomas J. Brown Bishop of Maine
What does it mean to be a member of the Wabanaki Alliance Tribal Coalition?
Supporters’ level of commitment varies, with each participant contributing how and what they can in the form of time, talent, and financial contributions. Some supporters actively participate in the Wabanaki Alliance Tribal Coalition working group, which meets regularly and includes individuals and organizational representatives who are dedicated to advancing the work of the Alliance and promoting respect and support for Wabanaki inherent sovereignty. As a Tribal Coalition member, you will be publicly identified as a supporter of the Wabanaki Alliance and invited to endorse individual actions and priority legislation as opportunities arise.