Welcome to Oranbega, to “the quiet water between the rapids.”

The Oranbega Retreat Center and its website are still under construction!  If you run into trouble navigating around the site, please feel free to email the webmaster at webmaster@oranbegacenter.com   

“The rapids” we are all faced with now include the serious situation of the continuing Covid-19 Pandemic. At the Oranbega Retreat Center we are dedicated to making sure that our “quiet waters” are absolutely safe. We follow the directives of the Governor and CDC of Maine as we prepare to welcome guests to stay with us for a week or more at a time or hold special events. We must all do what we can to combat the spread of the Coronavirus, and to protect the health and safety of our neighbors, our guests, and ourselves. Until further notice any retreat we schedule will be a “Social DIstancing Retreat” in which masks will be worn and distances kept between Residents and Guests.   We are convinced we can extend a true welcome and provide a delightful retreat experience for our guests even under these circumstances.

The Opening Ceremonies for Oranbega Retreat Center took place on August 21, 2020 .  You can enjoy that day’s Riverbank picnic and Zoom Poetry Festival featuring Wesley McNair on our YouTube and Facebook pages. Although we celebrated already, we will not be able to receive guests or hold retreats until we have  full approval from our local Planning Board. It will be 2021 before we can truly get going with our programs of hospitality and nurture for all artists and pilgrims.  Meanwhile, please keep us in your heart as you paint, draw, sculpt, write and pray with abandon, and get ready to enjoy the inspiration and the support of building community with us here on the peaceful banks of the Narramissic River.  And please share this with your friends, colleagues and fellow pilgrims!

The Oranbega Mission

building a community of artists helping artists

To these rooms writers and artists come to have a safe, uninterrupted time with a project, to receive the support of other writers and artists, and to pursue their creative goals unencumbered by the need to make dinner, fend off salesmen, or worry about life’s annoying necessities. The Oranbega Center exists to aid these creative pursuits with the resources, staff, and environment to further genuine artistic achievement in an inclusive community.

Human creativity, we believe, is rooted and grounded in the nurture of the human spirit by the Spirit of God. Not all who come to our house will share that belief, and that is fine. We will have no expectation of religious affiliation or faith commitment on the part of those seeking the creative space. They can be of any faith or no faith. They must just be able to be open to and even to enjoy the order of prayer and work that will give the house its structure. The rhythms of prayer, ritual, and meditation of the community are intended to support the peace in which creativity can flower, like a trellis on which roses can bloom.

Rev. Dr. Jennifer Reece, MDiv, PhD
Retreat Director and Coordinator of Literary Arts

Jenny is a novelist, poet and teacher, and a retired Episcopal priest. After more than 30 years of ministry she is following her dream of building a community of support for women and men dedicated to transforming the world through the arts. Her dream's fulfillment is the Oranbega Retreat Center, a place where writers, visual artists, and all creative workers can find peace, inspiration, and renewal.

Dianne Phipps, BA
Coordinator of Hospitality

A practicing poet, Diane brings her understanding of the artist’s life to her role as Coordinator of Hospitality for the Oranbega Retreat Center. With years of expertise in hospitality management, Diane facilitates the smooth operation of the Center, from organizing the nutritious and delicious meals to ensuring a clean and comfortable environment, and everything in-between.

Robert Phipps, MFA
Coordinator of Visual Arts & Aesthetics

Robert brings his lifetime of experience in multiple artistic endeavors and disciplines to his role as Coordinator of Visual Arts and Aesthetics. A lifelong Quaker with a commitment to sustainable living, Robert's sincerest pleasure is helping bring an aesthetically satisfying and enriching environment to the Oranbega Retreat Center.

Spencer Nelson

Spencer Nelson joined us as the Sexton of the Oranbega Retreat Center in September, 2020. That means he is the all-around "Mr. Fix-it". If there's a problem with technology, plumbing, electricity, fuel, or any of the myriad systems that make a house run smoothly, Spence is on it and he doesn't give up until it has been put right. He has quickly become an indispensible presence at the heart of Oranbega, possibly because he is also a gourmet chef and indescribably creative Scrabble player. He is also a drummer, a carpenter, a painter, a woodsman, a punster,  and a caretaker in every sense.