The Episcopal Church in Maine is accepting names until May 30 in its search for a tenth bishop.

The Rt. Rev. Stephen T. Lane, ninth Bishop of Maine, announced in August 2017 that he intended to retire in June 2019.

The diocese’s online profile is candid in stating some of the challenges faced by the church in Maine:

Living in a state with one of the highest percentages — greater than 50 percent— of unchurched residents in the US, we are afforded opportunities to bring Christ’s presence and vision to others. Maine parishes also look to encourage young families to join us in a meaning-filled way of life.

… We need better collaboration among ourselves; we must adjust our habits to the realities of the 21st century: demands on families, “non-traditional” schedules, part-time and bivocational clergy, younger generations deeply skeptical of institutional religion, to name a few. We also seek to deepen our ecumenical relationships wherever and whenever possible to find new ways to open our doors to our respective communities.

God is calling us to a new paradigm that responds to these divergent events. Our call to social justice presents an opportunity to be a faithful force for good in Maine, yet we realize that one size does not fit all. We seek God’s strength in creating a family that stays together under an umbrella of Christ’s love for each of us, as we seek the path forward.

The standing committee will announce a slate in November and a special convention will elect the new bishop in February.

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