As we enter into our third year, the CMT continues to seek ways of coming together and deepening connections with our sister congregations.  Going forward, we plan to continue our schedule of sponsoring two films and two book discussions per year.

The CMT (Collaborative Ministry Team, with representatives from Ellsworth, Castine, and Belfast) has chosen “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” by Bryan Stevenson as our next Common Read. Bryan Stevenson was the Ware Lecturer at General Assembly in New Orleans this year. He is a brilliant, gifted, compassionate lawyer who works in the South defending those who are poor, wrongly convicted, and trapped in our criminal justice system. The book is poignant, heart-breaking, and hopeful.

We will gather to discuss the book on Thursday, January 25, from 5:30-7:00 PM. Each of the three churches will have an hour of discussion among themselves, and then we will Zoom in for half-an-hour to have a larger discussion with the other churches.

The library has copies of the book or can help you access it. The book can also be purchased at local bookstores or online. The paperback edition is $16. It is a remarkable book, and we hope to see you on January 25 at church.

We have also received permission to screen the Thich Nhat Hanh film “Walk With Me,” tentatively scheduled for February 22 at the Alamo theater in Bucksport.

Other events in the works for the upcoming year are a concert by Virginia-based singer/songwriter Andrew McNight in Ellsworth for the 2nd weekend in August, and sponsorship of a community potluck in support of residents of Puerto Rico who have relocated to this area after having been displaced by hurricanes (date & location of this potluck TBA).

In addition to these events, we are exploring ways that our collaborative can foster and support our congregants in exploring and deepening our spiritual roots.  A course we are considering, which comes highly recommended by Amy, is “Creating Theology Together” by Rev John Morehouse.

We have also reiterated our strong desire this year to increase the profile of the CMT in all our congregations, to share news of what we are doing, seeking input, feedback and suggestions, and bringing everyone into involvement with the collaboration.

It was agreed at the CMT recently that one of the original responsibilities of the group—the Ministerial Internship Program—would be separated from the CMT itself.  Sara, Margaret, and Deane, as the three ministers involved, will now oversee the process by which a seminary student is chosen to be the Intern for all three congregations.  We will know who our Intern for the 2018-2019 church year will be by the end of March.  The Intern for next year will have their home base at UU Castine, and Rev. Margaret will be the supervisor.

Having made the decision to separate the Internship from the CMT, the CMT hopes to have more time to envision more ways for our three congregations to do things together.  For example, PASA (Peace and Social Action) in the Ellsworth church is fairly active.  Perhaps we create a PASA team that incorporates all three churches.  The CMT will be asking the three congregations for ideas that can help enrich the collaboration.

Indeed, what possibilities might exist for the collaboration among the three congregations?  How far can we go in “deepening the spirit, and healing the world?”  What could our ministry look like?

Church will look different as the 21st century progresses.  The kind of collaboration we have among the UU churches of Belfast, Castine, and Ellsworth will strengthen all of us, as well as our ministry in the world.

Karen Wigglesworth and Deane Perkins