Pastor Jennifer Reese, New Priest at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church

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By Dorothy Johnson

The Reverend Doctor Jennifer M. Reese is settling in as the new priest at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Calais.  She was hired and came to town during the Christmas season, which is one of the busiest seasons of the church.  She admits that she is just now getting a breathing space to catch up on the many services this church offers the community.

Pastor Reese’s journey began in Aberdeen, Scotland where she was born to a professor of classics at the University of Aberdeen.  Her family lived in Aberdeen until she was in high school when her father decided he would like to teach at Union College in Schenectady, New York.  The whole family immigrated to New York and has been in the New York-New Jersey area since.  Pastor Reese spent time visiting Maine and in 2007 she moved to Maine to provide assistance to her mother who lives in Lamoine.

Pastor Reese was trained in the Dutch Reformed Church in America and worked in New York and New Jersey.  When she came to a spiritual decision that she needed a more liturgical and sacramental environment, she turned to the Episcopal Church.  She was a Deacon at St. Saviors in Bar Harbor and did her preparation for the Episcopal pulpit at St. Francis in Blue Hill.  When the part time opening in Calais came to her attention, she applied and was hired.

The trip from Lamoine to Calais is challenging for both Pastor Reese and her mother. They travel to Calais on Thursday where she has office hours Thursday afternoon, Friday and Saturday.  On Sunday she has the service and then later in the afternoon travels back to Lamoine.  In spite of the challenges presented by the travel and having households in two areas, Pastor Reese is very happy to be in Calais.  “I enjoy serving in this wonderful church which as a center of the community opens its doors to veterans and to all people suffering troubles of many kinds,” she said recently. 

When she is in Calais, she is all work but she plans to change that when the weather gets better.  She wants to make time to be in the community.  “The church is not just for itself,” she said, “but also for the people outside the church. This church considers the Irene Chadbourne Ecumenical Food Pantry a lynchpin in its ministry.  It is a good investment for the community and for the church.”

Pastor Reese did her doctoral studies in church history with an emphasis on missionary work. She believes that a church and its people need to be a light of hope for other people.  “People come to the light in different ways,” she said. 

Pastor Reese invites community members to the church.  “Everyone is welcome to come meet me Sunday at 9 am,” she said. “We are not having the Wednesday midweek service.  We have been trying to have it on Thursday, but it does not seem to be working.  We do offer a meal on Thursday for a $5 donation and we use that money for our discretionary fund. We will be having more activities during Lent.”

“We have a very active young people’s program,” said the Pastor.  “I believe this is a really good job.  My mother and I have received a great welcome to the church, and the members of the congregation have gone out of their way to make our stay here comfortable.”

Let’s take the time to give Pastor Reese an ecumenical welcome to our community.