Oranbega Retreat Center

For All Artists & Pilgrims

Creating the Beloved Community

It’s been a busy month. Winter soldiers on. We’ve turned into the light.

On Monday, February 1st, Diane, Robert, Spencer and I attended the Orland Town Planning Board meeting. We sat through a lengthy presentation from a subdivision project, and finally it was our turn. I made a brief presentation, they had a short discussion, and then voted unanimously to grant us the permit to operate our business at this address. Woo-hoo! I know you were all thinking of us. Thank you! 

Our first ever Annual Burns’ Night Supper was a rousing success. Hoping to continue the streak, we are happy to invite you this month to our Black History Month celebration, “Creating the Beloved Community”, on February 21st 7-10:30 p.m. Register today if you haven’t already!

One description of our property at 36 Narramissic Drive claimed that the original 19th Century structure had concealed cellars and hidden passageways which seemed to mark the house as a way station on the Underground Railroad. While it is romantic and comforting to think that people escaping from slavery could find rest and retreat here on their way to safety in Canada, it is probably just a fable. If every house that claimed to be a station on the Underground had been in fact so, Maine would have been able to carry many thousands of enslaved to freedom. But serious historians estimate that Maine provided an escape route for perhaps as many as one thousand escapees, no more. They remind us that Maine, although home to many abolitionists and others committed to the principle “all are created equal,” was also a stronghold of pro-slavery white supremacists. Many of the beautiful houses along our coasts were built by Maine seafaring families who had made their fortune on the slave trade and the allied trades of sugar, rum, and cotton. Now too, the State is split between “Red” and “Blue” sympathies, and yes, one of those charged with assault on a federal police officer in the insurrection of January 6 was a Maine man with radically anti-diversity views. With all this in mind, it becomes even more important for us here at Oranbega Retreat Center to vigorously support and include Black and minority writers, artists, and spiritual leaders as we go about our work. We are very happy to present to you on February 21st our Zoom Celebration of Black History Month. Black history matters all year just as Black Lives Matter all the time, in every month, and on every day of the year.