Welcome our leaders We are excited to announce that we have filled all three leadership positions to guide us spiritually, musically and to grow our understanding of God's word for all age groups.
Priest-in-Charge We spent 2021 in discernment with extensive feedback from our parishioners in order to answer who we are as a congregation and what is God asking to do/be. With great joy and huge gratitude, we announce that Rev. Amanda Gerken-Nelson has accepted our invitation to be St. Bartholomew’s next spiritual leader. The Search Committee based its quest on the results of the Discernment Committee’s work, and, as Kathy Abernathy, a member of both said at an early meeting (and we may be paraphrasing here) “when we meet the right candidate, we will know!” The Search Committee unanimously and enthusiastically recommended Amanda to the Vestry, who accepted their recommendation with the support of both Canon Ambler and Bishop Brown of the Diocese.
Amanda is a Lutheran minister, ordained in 2015. She has signed a Letter of Agreement to be our Priest-in-Charge for a renewable period of 3 years, beginning January 1, 2022. The Roles and Responsibilities grid, developed by the Vestry and discussed and vetted by the parish, will be her roadmap for her 20 hours of service per week. She will lead 3 worship services a month, along with other duties and responsibilities that are outlined in the grid which is available at your request.
After spending two years as the Pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in East Hartford, Connecticut, Amanda has spent the last four and a half years as the Executive Director of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM), a nonprofit organization that advocates for and supports LGBTQIA+ leaders in the Lutheran Church in the United States and Canada.
As she said in her introductory letter: “My calling in life is to preach the good news of Christ’s love, to care for God’s people who diligently seek to live out their grace-filled callings as disciples, to wrestle with God’s people as we explore the scriptures and ponder what holy texts are being written today, to administer the sacraments as they reveal God’s presence in our lives: I am called to be a pastor.” And so, she responded to our posting.
Amanda and her wife, Tasha, live with their 1 year old son, in their home in Portland. Amanda began her time with us on January 2, 2022. We know that you will feel as hopeful and confident of our future together as the others of us who have met her feel.
We are deeply grateful to John Duncan who led both the Discernment and Search Committees in their work. Kathy Abernathy, Michele Johns and Susie Soule served on both committees. Other members of the Discernment Committee were Pam Hobson, Tom Hyndman, and Mike Perfetti, with the extraordinary assistance of Peter Small who conducted so many valuable interviews with parishioners. Other members of the Search Committee were Anne Berg, Jan Burson, Sarah Fischer, Lucia Hunt, and Gary Sylvester. Thank you, one and all, for your prayerful, focused, hard work!
Organist and Choir Director The Music Director Search Committee is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Christina Scott Edelen as our Organist and Choir Director. She has been a church musician and choir director for the last 33 years. Most recently Christina has served the Anglican Church of St. John’s and St. Philip’s in The Hague, Netherlands since 2006. Christina and her husband now have resettled back in Maine. She is excited to be joining us.
Youth Education Leader Our Youth Leader, Michelle Betz, joined us in October 2021 and has been busy at work providing seasonally-appropriate materials for our young kids as well as supporting the Confirmation classes for 4 of our youth. Michelle moved to Maine from Maryland where she was education leader for a large church in Baltimore. Michelle's enthusiasm, love for children and creative ideas are evident in what she has brought to our families during the continued pandemic. Michelle organized outdoor activities and online homilies for our families until we were able to return to in-person Sunday School in April 2022.