What is Discernment?

It’s not only a process for those who want to become a priest or a deacon. It’s not a ploy to figure out how to get more people to volunteer in church ministries.

Discernment is for every one of us walking on the Way of Love, doing our best to figure out where God is calling us next. Discernment is listening for the voice of God in our big crossroads moments, as well as in our everyday decisions.

Discernment is exploring our God-given gifts – even those that aren’t specifically “churchy.”

Contributing to the Christian Community

All of us contribute so much to the tapestry of our shared Christian community, but equally we bring our gifts to our home life, to our workplaces, to every person we meet. What gift do you have that God might be calling you to share? Where is the place where, in the words of Frederick Buechner, your deep gladness meets the world’s deep hunger?

At its heart, discernment is an act of faith: that God is alive and moving in your life at this very moment – and has dreams for you that you can’t yet dream for yourself.

Ways to Start Your Own Discernment

Have questions? Start a conversation and make an appointment with your priest or deacon to share your questions and thoughts.

Education for Ministry (EfM): What’s Your Ministry?

Relationship with God is found through relationships with his people on earth; play your part and find meaning in life by discovering God’s purpose for the world.

Since 1975 and for over 30 years in the Diocese of Maine, EfM has offered an opportunity to discover how to respond to our call to Christian service. Graduates come to understand that serving God happens everywhere – not just in a worship setting. In coming to terms with the notion that everything we do has potential for manifesting the love of Christ, we discover that our ministry is within reach wherever we are.

Discover Christ. Discover Yourself. Discover Your Ministry.

Learn more about EfM in Maine

Explore “Pathways”: life-long learning opportunities for ALL the baptized

As part of Bexley Seabury’s seminary-beyond-walls philosophy, they’ve launched Pathways to educate, form, and catalyze the Body of Christ to blaze new pathways for prophetic and pastoral service in response to God’s call. While there is a logic and sequence to the courses and programs available, all of the courses, workshops, events, and activities are designed so you can choose the combination and order that best suit your interests and needs.

Explore Your Options

Wayfinders logo

Join a small group of fellow discerners.

The Wayfinders discernment ministry is based here in Maine, created and led by Commission on Ministry member Darreby Ambler. On a Wayfinders team, a small group of four to six people come together on a retreat to listen to where God might be calling each of them next. From that discernment, each chooses a goal to bring to life. Then for eight meetings afterward the teammates support each other and hold each other accountable as they take their first steps toward where God is calling them. Wayfinders teams build tremendous fellowship – and are just a lot of fun! Questions? Drop a note to Darreby Ambler.

Contact Darreby

Retreat Opportunities

Go on a nine-month retreat during your everyday life.

Based in Kennebunk, Maine, Manresa Way – an Ignatian Spirituality Ministry leads retreatants through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Retreatants develop a closer, more personal relationship with Jesus, as well as an opportunity to discern God’s call. The spiritual exercises are offered as a retreat in the world: retreatants experience daily prayer using scripture as a guide, as well as meet once a week for 30 weeks from October to May. (Those weekly sessions include private time with your prayer guide.)

Contact the Reverend Gail Chandler for more information.

Companions of Holy Cross Adelynrood

Adelynrood is a retreat center in Byfield Mass (a few miles over the NH line) owned and operated by The Society of the Companions of the Holy Cross. They offer women and men an opportunity to visit and to discover new resources for spiritual development through conferences and workshops, as well as individual or group retreats, and quiet days. Adelynrood also has private rooms available mid-May through September for individuals who would like to spend unstructured time in a community of prayer and hospitality.

The Alcyon Center on Mount Desert Island

The Alcyon Center is a non-denominational center for “cultivating contemplative action for the sake of the world.” Their offerings include:

• Personal Retreats
• Courses and Retreats in spiritual practice
• Contemplative Spiritual Direction Training
• Spring and Fall Volunteer Work Weeks
• Weekly Bible Reflection
• Monthly Quiet Day and Soul Friends

Educational Opportunities

Diocesan Educational Gatherings

Spring Training was an opportunity for us to gather together with people from parishes throughout the diocese with a common interest in spiritual growth. It offered a variety of workshops from which attendees can select.

In 2022, Spring Training took place via Zoom and included a panel discussion between the three bishops of northern New England, as well.

  • Read full descriptions of the 2022 workshops here.
  • Find copies of slides and presentation materials used in each workshop here.

We continue to think about ways we can gather as a diocese for a similar event. Have ideas? Please send them along to Emily Keniston.

All-Ages Fellowship & Worship 2023

Families, individuals, and households from across the Episcopal Diocese of Maine are invited to celebrate the end of summer together at Camp Bishopswood. There is free diocese-wide programming during the day on Saturday with optional camping.

We’ll gather August 25-27 to swim, boat, hike, rest, lunch, and worship on scenic Lake Megunticook.  Cabins and tenting camping will both be available for those who wish to stay overnight; you may also take part in just our one-day program on Saturday, August 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Get detailed information and register here.

An Advent of Wonder 2023

Share in the quiet wonder of the Advent season with Godly Play as we prepare our hearts and minds for the One who is coming, and who is already here. In this gentle series, caregivers and children will gather for 1, 2 or all 3 weekly ‘circles’ to share in the story of Advent as it builds week to week. You will leave refreshed and reconnected with the stillness, mystery, and wonder that prepares us for the joy of Christmas. Let Advent be more than hectic shopping and a list of to-dos. Let it be a time when your family/household can talk about the deep meaning of Christmas so that it’s meaningful not just this year but for years to come.

All sessions are Tuesdays from 7-8 p.m.

  • December 5 is on Zoom
  • December 12 is at St. David, Kennebunk
  • December 19 is at a private home in the Freeport/Pownal area

All events are free.

Click to register

Email Director of Faith Formation Emily Keniston for more information.

Have a single question you are wrestling with?

Sometimes we are looking for God’s guidance around a single question, such as a new job opportunity, a challenge that has landed in your lap, a personal decision. The Listening Hearts discernment process creates a space where people can wrestle with a question or a series of questions. Our diocese currently uses the Listening Hearts technique for people discerning a call to ordained ministry – but the technique is for any person of faith listening for God’s voice.

What you need:

Adult Ministry Resources

Download a copy of the discernment resources above as a pdf here.