Very well known to so many in the Maine Conference, Ron Baard is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison (B. S., Education) and Princeton Theological Seminary (M. Div.). He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in Theology and Personality (with emphasis in pastoral counseling) at Claremont School of Theology. An ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, Dr. Baard is a Fellow in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, a member of Spiritual Directors International and the Society for Pastoral Theology. He served as the Imes-Lowry Professor of Pastoral Studies and Dean of Students at Bangor Theological Seminary until its closure in 2013. More recently, Ron has taught classes at Andover Newton Theological School and Boston University School of Theology. In pastoral ministry over many years, he has served as a local church pastor of a small U.C.C. church, a hospital chaplain, an associate pastor on a large church staff, a chaplain at a continuing care retirement community, and a full-time pastoral counselor.
Ron also currently serves as an Adjunct Professor at New York Theological Seminary, and an Adjunct Instructor at Boston University School of Theology. He taught pastoral care classes at the Maine School of Ministry in the fall terms of 2018 and 2019. Ron is an member at First Parish Church, United Church of Christ, in Brunswick, Maine where his spouse Mary recently retired as Senior Pastor. In his free time he enjoys reading, movies, gardening, bicycling, walking and spending time with his family, including his grandchildren Caleb and Sophie.
Anne Hodgman joined the Maine Conference Staff in the Fall of 2001 as a Resource Center Assistant. In the Fall of 2008, Anne became the Director of the Resource Center. After the conference office moved to Augusta in May of 2013, Anne took on the duties of Accounting Assistant which entails processing all of the Conference and Pilgrim Lodge bills, running the bi-weekly payrolls for both, submitting quarterly and annual reports to the State and Federal Governments on behalf of the Conference and Pilgrim Lodge.
In January of 2017, she added Executive Assistant to her duties as the transition away from the Resource Center began. Responsibilities include answering the phones, providing administrative support as needed, coordinates registration for events and the distribution of data, works on annual reporting to the Data Hub/yearbook, provides hospitality, coordinates the arrangements for General Synod delegates, oversees office machine maintenance, office supplies, maintains the Conference calendar, opens and distributes mail, custodial and other duties as assigned.
Anne is a mom to three adult sons, grandmother, to four grandchildren and lives with her husband of 44 years in Fayette, Maine. She is also a member of High Street Congregational UCC in Auburn where she has served on the Board of Christian Education, Board of Deacons, provided childcare in the nursery, the superintendent of Church School and as the Director of Christian Education for almost twelve years.
Renita L. Dehais has been the Treasury Assistant for the Maine Conference since December of 2014. Her responsibilities include: Accounts Receivable, all operations for maintaining the Consolidated Trust of the Maine Conference, some targeted financial reporting for specific projects and groups within the Conference, among other duties as assigned.
Renita’s involvement with the Conference prior to this position was as the Cumberland Association representative to the Coordinating Council (a predecessor of the current Board of Directors) from 2008 to August 2013 when she was hired to work on the Pilgrim Lodge Capital Campaign as the Donor Relations Coordinator. She was also a member of the Pilgrim Lodge Advisory Team from its inception in 2009 to its end in 2018.
Renita had worked in banking for 16 years prior to being a stay-at-home mom raising two wonderful children. During this time, she held various part-time jobs from picking apples at a local orchard to being an aide in a pre-school, to directing the children’s choir at church, all of which allowed her to work during school hours and to be home when her children got home from school. She finds skills learned from all of these to be helpful in her job at the Conference.
Renita has lived in Cumberland with her husband Bill since 1992, and is a member of the Congregational Church in Cumberland where she enjoys singing in the choir and playing handbells in the bell choir.
Nathaniel Blanchard is a University of Maine undergraduate currently pursuing a degree in Computer Science. He has served as a Communications Intern for the Eastern Maine Development Corporation and worked as a Marketing Coordinator for Eastern Maine Community College. Most recently Nathaniel was the Waterfront Director at Pilgrim Lodge. Nathaniel also serves on the Holden Historical Society Board of Directors.
Nathaniel is a member of the Holden Congregational Church where he is the chair of the communications committee. He also is an Assistant Scoutmaster for the Dedham-Holden Boy Scout Troop #21. In his spare time, Nathaniel dedicates himself to helping others by creating and improving community connections across Maine.
Some of his duties as the Communications & Information Technology Coordinator include managing conference communications, administration of information technology systems such as conference databases and resource portals, as well as the website, marketing, and public relations. Nathaniel also handles conference computer and mobile device systems, networking, data, and security. He also serves as the editor of the A.C.E. and other conference publications. We are very excited and happy to welcome Nathaniel and look forward to all of the amazing things that he will bring to and do for the Maine Conference!
Margaret, Director of Shalem’s Soul of Leadership, is Shalem’s Executive Director. Prior to coming to Shalem, she ran her own consulting, speaking, training, and coaching business, Executive Soul, helping leaders and organizations nurture their souls and express their deepest values institutionally. At the same time, she taught as adjunct faculty at Andover Newton Theological School in the area of contemplative leadership. Margaret is a Quaker and holds a B.A. in History from Princeton University, an M.A. in Mathematics from Portland State University, an M.A. in Theology from Earlham School of Religion, and a PhD in Spirituality from Catholic University of America. She has written extensively on various aspects of contemplative leadership and spirituality at work, including The Soul of a Leader: Finding Your Path to Fulfillment and Success and Soul at Work: Spiritual Leadership in Organizations.
Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School 1992
Served First Congregational Church of Greenwich, CT 1987-2007
Moved to Maine Conference in 2007, served as Assoc. Conf. Minister 2007-2014
Served as Interim Pastor at First Congregational Church, Wiscasset 2015-2016
Did Supply Preaching 2017–2018
Member of the Pastoral Team at Sheepscot Community Church, Newcastle, ME. 2019-present
While having experience pastoring large churches, I have always had a passion for small churches. Each one is unique and personal with a special sense of what it means to be church family and with vital ways of living out their faith. For so long, the model of large church was the model set out for all churches, large or small. Since then, small churches have found new ways of living out their faith which provide ideas and inspiration for us all.
Paul A. Day is a retired minister in the Evangelical Covenant Church, with dual standing in the United Church of Christ. He received a B.A. (History) & M.A. (Religious Studies) from Eastern Nazarene College, Quincy, MA; M.Div. from North Park Theological Seminary, Chicago, IL; and D.Min. (Ministry in New England) from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Hamilton, MA. A life-long learner he has pursued further graduate studies and continuing education.
Ordained in 1979, Rev. Day has served as pastor to congregations in Michigan, Washington, Massachusetts, and Maine. From 1997 through 2006, he was the Executive Director of the Bible Society of Maine, leading the organization’s mission to “put the Word of God into the hands, heads and hearts of people in Maine and beyond.” During that time he was a member of the National Church Advisory Committee of the American Bible Society, and president of the National Association of State and Regional Bible Societies. He has served on the board of the New England Seafarers Mission, and as a volunteer chaplain/ship’s visitor. Day has also taught at several Bible colleges and as adjunct faculty at the University of New England.
Rev. Day has written A History of the Scandinavian Seamen’s Mission; Unity and Freedom: One Hundred Years of the East Coast Conference; One the Move: 125 Years of the E.C.C.; The Bible Society Movement in New England; and several congregational histories and other articles. He is a contributor to the Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception (DeGruyter, 2010).
An avid reader and bibliophile, Paul has an extensive personal library, including some 75 Bibles, Testaments or portions, in over 50 English translations. He also has a collection of 75 nativities from around the world, which has often shared with congregations and communities.
Paul’s other interests include cooking, gardening, woodworking, travel and photography. He and his wife live in Portland. They have three adult daughters and four grandchildren.
Doug Dunlap has served as a church pastor, most recently in the Wilton, Maine UCC Church, 2002-2010. Following training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, and Maine Medical Centers, he has served a chaplain ministry for Maine General and Franklin Memorial Hospitals. At Franklin Memorial he led a program in conjunction with area churches to recruit retired health care providers and others with interpersonal care experience to become trained as lay spiritual care providers; and provided training in spiritual care for nursing, EMT, and other care providers. Doug has also functioned in leading roles in community ministries addressing rural poverty and end of life care.
Doug’s is a member of the New Sharon UCC Church. He is a member of the Earth Care and Spirituality Resource Team of the Maine Conference, and Vice-Moderator of the Living Water Association. Doug leads Clergy Community of Practice groups for Maine Conference clergy. He holds the MDIV from Harvard Divinity School, where he taught the Ministry Module Course: Community Building in Ministry, 2001-2009.
Doug and his family have lived in Aroostook, Penobscot, and Franklin counties in Maine. On their Farmington farm, they care for honey bees, and over the years have raised sheep, chickens, and a variety of other livestock.
I am touched by the faithful resourcefulness of small churches – light and fast (a backpacker’s term) they adapt to a sudden need or adverse circumstances, and have a powerful commitment to love their neighbors. They are, indeed, as mustard seed.
AbbyLynn has been delighting in the joy and ministry of storytelling since graduating from Bangor Theological Seminary in 1999. She has served churches in New Hampshire and Maine in the roles of associate pastor, director of program development and pastor and firmly believes storytelling to be a vibrant way of shaping community, worship and pastoral care that effectively shares the Gospel. AbbyLynn is working on her Doctorate of Ministry in Semiotics, Church and Culture at Portland Seminary of George Fox University. Her project focus is creating experiential, participatory, image rich and relationally connected Biblical storytelling curriculum for Maine School of Ministry students. She also currently serves as part-time co-pastor at the Acton Congregational Church UCC in Maine. Since beginning work on her doctorate she has been diligent in learning the secrets to developing the craft of oral storytelling for the virtual world. The results of which can be seen on her YouTube channel, Sacred Storytelling Lab. She is thrilled to pass along these secrets to others wanting to learn more about the art of oral storytelling. AbbyLynn also loves sailing, is a USCG Captain and runs a coastal sailing retreat business with her husband that operates out of Saco Bay.