About Episcopal Visitations:
Episcopal Visitations are required by Canon III (see below) every three years. In the Diocese of Maine, episcopal visitations are scheduled in rotation about once every 28-30 months. Other celebrations, special services/ mission leadership or pastoral care visits may be scheduled ‘in between’ official visitations by either the Priest in Charge/Sr. Warden or the Bishop.
You will be provided with visitation forms ahead of Bishop Brown’s visit. Please complete these to help you to prepare for your time together.
Here are few highlights:
- A visitation consists of four parts—a pre-visitation conversation, worship and congregational conversation, vestry/leadership meeting, and time with the clergy person.
- Visitation can occur online.
- Please consider scheduling the vestry meeting to a weekday, about 90 minutes, either before or after the visitation. Canon Martin will find the time that’s most convenient for you and your leadership.
- The clergy-bishop time need not occur on Sunday, and when the visitation is online, we’ll likely have to use Zoom for this part. The Bishop’s preference, whenever it’s safe and possible, is to have a meal together.
Forms to read and complete before Bishop’s visit:
Visitation Planning Worksheet (PDF) (Word Version)
Please visit our event calendar to see Bishop Brown’s upcoming visitations. (2023 dates to be posted as available.)
If the schedule won’t work for your church, please reach out directly to a clergy colleague about possibly switching. Then, connect with Bishop Thomas Brown to make sure his calendar can accommodate the change.
There might be another occasion where Bishop Brown being with you is especially helpful (patronal feasts, anniversaries, Holy Days, et cetera). Please do contact us about these other dates. It’s possible that the bishop coming for one of these occasions will become the official visitation, however in most cases we will want them to be in addition to, rather than instead of, the episcopal visitation.
A word about regional confirmations. They’re terrific! They separate the sacramental rite from the episcopal visitation; the distinctiveness is helpful and productive. If you have questions or would like to host a regional confirmation liturgy, please let Bishop Brown know.
From The Episcopal Church Canons:
Sec. 3. Duties (Bishop)
(a) A Bishop Diocesan, Bishop Coadjutor, Bishop Suffragan, or Assistant Bishop of the Diocese shall visit the Congregations within the Diocese at least once in three years. Interim visits may be delegated to another Bishop of this Church. (1) At every such visitation the visiting Bishop shall preside at the Holy Eucharist and at the Initiatory Rites, as required, preach the Word, examine the records of the Congregation required by Canon III.9.6(c), and examine the life and ministry of the Clergy and Congregation according to Canon III.9.6. Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church, pg 173
III.9.6 Duties (Rectors and Priests-in-Charge)
(5) On notice being received of the Bishop’s intention to visit any congregation, the Rector or Priest-in-Charge shall announce the fact to the congregation. At every visitation it shall be the duty of the Rector or Priest-in-Charge and the Wardens, Vestry or other officers, to exhibit to the Bishop the Parish Register and to give information as to the state of the congregation, spiritual and temporal, in such categories as the Bishop shall have previously requested in writing. Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church, pg 139