Maine School of Ministry (MESOM)

Theological education for the life of the church

We work with students practicing congregational leadership and those discovering a path to pastoral ministry. Our programs combine classroom learning and ministry competencies, devoted to God’s call.

Our primary program is based on a solid and innovative curriculum leading toward a certificate in Christian Studies, Pastoral Leadership, or Word and Sacrament. “Non-traditional students” will find a welcome here!

We also offer mentored-practice fieldwork serving congregations in Maine and beyond. Some “traditional students” fit here. Whether on an academic path, an alternative path, or something in-between, your progress with the Maine School of Ministry will be unique. And you will contribute something new to our learning community.

Our work and our vision grew up alongside the 21st century UCC Manual on Ministry. By promoting and cultivating a culture of call, adding academic resources and mentorship, we affirm God’s gifting and guidance in every generation – including toward more remote or rural congregations. Since 2015, MESOM has affirmed students on their way to authorized ministry (lay or ordained) in the various associations of the Maine Conference.

See current course info below.

For more information, contact MESOM Advisory Team members: Bill Bliss, Nick Davis, Leslie Foley, Beth Hoffman, Larry Kalajainen, John Lacey, Sarah Mills, Sharon Rankin.

Email: Dean – Rev. Dr. Malcolm Himschoot


 Upcoming Courses & Offerings

Fall 2024: Applied Theology – Fee $350 / TBD – Fee $350

June Intensive 2024

Retirement: Exploring Identity, New Beginnings, and Community at a Major Life Transition

Instructors: Rev. Dr. Carol Kerr, Rev. Dr. Deb Jenks

Certificate Credit: (Christian Leadership)

Pre-requisites: None.

Requirements: June 7-9 in-person attendance. Assigned reading and the completion of “Values in Action” (VIA) questionnaire prior to the weekend. Discussion. Written work.

Course Description:

This course is for people who are encountering change in their life through retirement. It will be based on spiritual traditions and current research in life meaning and happiness.  

“There are different gifts but the same spirit that gives them.” (1 Corinthians 12:4)

“Calling and vocation” are Christian concepts. “Retirement” is an economic concept. So when we “retire” it is really a time to assess where God is calling us now and what is our vocation now. We will explore our lives and feelings as we transition into retirement. Retirement is a transition away from our old callings and into our new calling. Where and what are the “late breaking blessings” in our lives? Sarah laughed and the messenger said “Is anything too wonderful for the Lord?”  (Genesis 18:14) The course will explore values clarification. We will be using the “Values in Action” inventory developed out of the University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology Department to apply them to our next steps in life. The course will also discuss grief and loss as we leave friends and identity that we had. We have to come to terms with aging and reflect on best practices for our health, and happiness. Friendships and community is one of the keys.

For those who are UCC ministers, we will look at the ethics surrounding retirement from the ministry, including a deep discussion of real life dilemmas. A variety of vocational journeys are expected. Others may be looking at the possibility of entering ministry in retirement.

Taught by Carol Kerr, former professor of Christian Spirituality at Bangor Theological Seminary, and Deb Jenks, retired Associate Conference Minister in Maine. This course will delve into ancient and ever-new spiritual practices that sustain human beings in times of change.

Course Objectives:

This course is meant for retirees and those approaching retirement, for both lay and ordained people exploring life transitions and God’s steadfast and creative calling.

Upon approval of a Committee on Ministry, completion of the course may be counted toward fulfillment of Boundary Awareness Training for retired clergy.  

Course Fee:

$350 is the standard MESOM course fee. Pending a minimum of 12 registrants, no additional fee will be added for lodging.


Additional partial scholarships are available, if requested and approved for Maine students. To apply for a scholarship in a specific amount, please email Dean Malcolm Himschoot: by May 23.

Course Syllabus:

Course syllabus will be emailed to paid registrants after May 27.  

Further Instructions:

Camp accommodations require a separate form which must be returned on email by May 31. This form will be emailed to paid registrants after May 27.


Register Now!

MESOM Faculty

Carol Kerr

Instructor: Retirement - Life Transitions

Rev. Dr. Carol Kerr, LCPC is a  UCC minister and clinical counselor in private practice. She has worked many years as an interim minister and settled pastor along with her counseling practice. She is very interested in transitions, positive psychology, and identifying our values to find purpose and meaning in our lives.  


Deb Jenks

Instructor: Retirement - Life Transitions

Rev. Dr. Deborah Jenks is an Ordained Ministerial Partner (Disciples of Christ) and is retired having served in the Maine Conference UCC for 28 years as a pastor, and for the last 10 years in intentional interim and transition ministry. Deb’s experience also includes work as a Hospice Spiritual Advisor and Grief and Bereavement Counselor.

Holly Morrison

Holly Morrison

Instructor: Ecology and Faith in Christian History

Rev. Holly Morrison serves as full-time pastor of Phippsburg Congregational Church, United Church of Christ.  She has a passion for rural ministry and has previously served congregations in Maine, Colorado, Washington State, and Alaska. She and her wife are the stewards of Tir na nOg Farm, an educational farmstead devoted to restorative agriculture.  In farming as well as ministry, she draws inspiration from her Celtic roots. Her writing may be found in Greenprints and two anthologies: There’s A Woman In The Pulpit (Skylight Paths, 2015) and The Smeddum Test: 21st Century Poems In Scots (Kennedy & Boyd, 2012).


Larry Kalajainen

Larry Kalajainen

Instructor - New Testament

The Rev. Dr. Larry R. Kalajainen is a retired United Methodist and United Church of Christ pastor, who served fifty years in parish ministry and theological education in Malaysia, New Jersey, Paris (France), Maine, and New York. Larry has taught at Drew Theological School, New Brunswick Theological Seminary, UM Course of Study, Bangor Seminary, and the Maine School of Ministry.

Larry’s writing and teaching have combined the critical study of the scriptures and Christian history with pastoral resources for individuals and congregations, particularly in the area of spiritual formation. His books: A Lenten Journey, An Advent Journey, Psalms for the Journey, and The Bible Says. . . How Good is the Good Book? He has been a strong supporter of full inclusion of LGBTQ+ persons in the life of the Church.

Stephen Hastings

Stephen Hastings

Instructor: Ecology and Faith in Christian History

Dr. Stephen Hastings has been a UCC minister since 1991, serving in the Maine Conference since 1995. He has led the Dover-Foxcroft Congregational Church UCC toward carbon neutrality which has included the construction of a solar energy system that offsets both the church facility and the parsonage. He helped create the Maine Conference Earth Care and Spirituality Resource Team and arranged for Matthew Fox to speak on creation spirituality at the Annual Meeting in 2012. Dr. Hastings has Ph.D in Environmental Ethics and Creation Spirituality from Boston University; a M.Div from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary; a MS in Resource Systems and Policy Design from Dartmouth; and a BS in Physics from Towson. He authored the book entitled Whole-Earth Ethics for Holy Ground: The Development and Practice of “Sacramental” Creation Spirituality.


Contact the Maine School of Ministry

Rev. Dr. Malcolm Himschoot

Rev. Dr. Malcolm Himschoot

Dean - Maine School of Ministry

Cell Phone:
Work Phone:


More About Malcolm

Rev. Dr. Malcolm Himschoot, Acting Dean, worked for seven years with the UCC’s Ministerial Excellence, Support, and Authorization Team when the Manual on Ministry and Ministerial Profile were updated in a nationwide conversation about a theology of ministry for the 21st century. During that time he earned a DMin in Transformational Leadership from the Methodist Theological School in Ohio, and participated in consortium gatherings among regional theological education programs across the life of the church. His commitments reflect the diversity, equity, and inclusion at the heart of Christ’s gospel.

Malcolm lives in Orono where he co-pastors the ecumenically-minded Church of Universal Fellowship. He is known as an out trans man, an activist and transgender educator, a sometimes-professor at the University of Maine, and a dad of twins. He also has an MDiv from the Iliff School of Theology, and a B.A. from Amherst College.