MCC Welcomes New Board Members and New President

In January, the MCC Board of Directors welcomed two new at-large members and a new denominational representative for the Episcopal Diocese of Maine:
Karen Hessel
Karen Hessel Karen (MDiv, Union Theological Seminary (NYC), 1983) is the retired program director for Justice for Women at the National Council of Churches, with prior ecumenical experience with the Metropolitan Christian Council of Philadelphia. Her life’s work has been focused on economic justice, theology and ethics. Since “retiring” to Maine in 2005, Karen continues to engage in ecumenical and interfaith justice and advocacy efforts. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Southern Maine Workers’ Center, is the co-convener of Interfaith Worker Justice Southern Maine, and has served on the Public Policy Committee of the Maine Council of Churches. She serves as program coordinator for the Spiritual Alliance to Stop Intimate Violence, whose priority is to infuse theological education with quality scholarship and teaching to improve the knowledge and capacity of faith leaders to both respond to and help prevent violence against women and children. She also serves on the planning team for Ecumenical Advocacy Days. Karen and her husband, Dieter, live in Cape Elizabeth where they enjoy cycling and being close to family, making occasional trips to visit three adorable grandchildren in two mid-Atlantic households. Karen worships at First Congregational Church in South Portland.

Rev. Carolyn Lambert

C LambertCarolyn has been the Senior Pastor at Woodfords Church (UCC, Portland) since 2005. She holds degrees from the University of Maine and Andover Newton Theological School as well as an Advanced Certificate in Youth Ministry from Princeton Theological Seminary. At Woodfords, she has involved herself enthusiastically in every area of parish ministry, including mission trips to New Orleans and Guatemala. She previously served South Congregational Church in Kennebunkport and First Parish Federated Church in South Berwick. She has served the Maine Conference of the UCC in many capacities, including youth ministry. Carolyn has lived in Maine since 1969 and has two grown children. She currently serves as Chaplain for the Kennebunk Police Department and has been active in Rotary for 17 years. Before being called to ministry, she worked as a teacher and an innkeeper. She is a voracious reader and, when time permits, enjoys skiing, tennis and hiking.



Charles Priest
C Priest

Charlie is the new denominational representative appointed by Bishop Stephen Lane, Episcopal Diocese of Maine. He is a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brunswick. Charlie is a graduate of Dartmouth College and University of Maine School of Law, and served as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy in Vietnam, 1967-1971.   He has served as chair of the Brunswick Town Council, and as a representative in the Maine State House of Representatives, 1984-1990 and 2006-2014. Charlie is a member of the Topsham-Brunswick Land Trust and a member of the nominating committee for the Brunswick chapter of Habitat for Humanity. He has a lifetime appointment as a Dedimus justice, administering the oath of office to a variety of Maine state public servants including departmental commissioners and other state and local officials. He has also served as an instructor in Legislation at UMaine School of Law. Charlie lives in Brunswick with his wife, Patricia, and they have two children.

At the Annual Assembly meeting on January 15, the denominational representatives on the MCC Board of Directors elected Bonny Rodden as their new president.

Bonny Rodden

2016-01-28 20.34.15Bonny has been an at-large member of the MCC Board for the past two years.

Among her top priorities for her term as president is strengthening the Council’s relationships with local congregations around the state. “Reaching the people in the pews is essential to furthering the work and mission of the Maine Council of Churches,” she told the Board at its January meeting.

A San Francisco native, Bonny moved to the East Coast in 1977 where she has worked as a journalist covering local, state and federal government from Washington, D.C. to Maine. Since moving to Falmouth in 1994, she has worked for environmental organizations, advised the student newspaper at the University of Southern Maine and led a grass roots effort to establish a bus route in Falmouth. She served on the Falmouth Town Council for six years, where her passions were recycling, smart growth and mass transit. From 2013-2014, she served as President of the Metro Board. At Saint Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church in Falmouth where she worships, she is known for the Coastal Cleanup which she has organized for longer than she can remember.

Bonny graduated from Stanford University. She is married to Irwin Gratz and has a teenage son.