It’s time to jog along with Jenny
Our monthly staff portrait for May turns to the Co-founder and Retreat Director of Oranbega Retreat Center, Jenny Reece. Or, to put it more formally, the Reverend Dr. Jennifer M. Reece. Born in Scotland, she has an enduring love of all things Scottish, especially the folk music traditions. She learned to sing this folk song, along with many others, from the singing of the great Scottish folk artist, Jean Redpath.
First when I cam’ tae the toon, they ca’d me young an’ sonsy
Noo they’ve changed my name, Ca’d me the licht Bob’s fancy
Oh, feather beds are saft and pented rooms are bonny
But I wad leave them a’ tae jog along with Johnny”
While we’re not inviting you to leave feather beds and painted rooms behind, we do invite you to “jog along with Jenny ” for a minute in her life at Oranbega.
Getting to Know Jenny
Jenny is a retired priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Maine. She became an Episcopalian after many years of ministry in the Reformed Church in America. Very important to her are the 8th, 9th, and 10th Bishops of Maine: the Right Reverend Chilton Knudsen, who confirmed her as an Episcopalian; The Right Reverend Stephen Lane, who ordained her Deacon and Priest; and the Right Reverend Thomas J. Brown, her current Bishop, inspiration, and dear friend. These three have provided her with much of the loving support she needed through the many transitions of her journey to Oranbega. The Bishops and the Episcopal Diocese of Maine, while important in Jenny’s journey, do not oversee Oranbega Retreat House, which welcomes people of any faith, and those of no religious belief at all.
When not enjoying life as an entrepreneur and fulfilling her dream of running Oranbega, Jenny is a writer and spends much time at her computer. She is presently working on a book of poetry, but her novel is dying to come off the back burner. Jenny writes under the pen name of Amy Aberdeen.
Passion, Humor, and Purpose
Since she’s still a British citizen, Jenny does not involve herself in US party politics, and Oranbega Retreat Center, as a not-for-profit entity, has no political affiliation and does not endorse or work for any political cause. Nevertheless, Jenny has passionate opinions about our common life, and a well developed sense of humor, which are sometimes reflected on her choice of headgear.
Accordingly, she shares her humor and love of the absurd with the other Oranbega Center residents. For instance, she and Spence enjoyed their outing to visit “the Duck of Justice” at the Bangor police department museum. You can read more about the Duck of Justice here.
Additionally, music is very important to Jenny and to all at Oranbega. For Christmas, Spence made everyone a drum, and here is Jenny with hers.
As you may have guessed, Jenny plays many varied roles at Oranbega. When you are a guest, you will spend a little time with her at the start of your retreat, as she helps you figure out just what your goals are and how to best accomplish them during your stay. A good cook herself, Jenny sometimes helps in the preparation of meals, but Chefs Diane and Spence are the chief suppliers of deliciousness. Still, Jenny is happy to wash the dishes. Her job includes the late night kitchen clean-up and preparation of next morning’s coffee as she puts out the lights in the public spaces at 11 p.m.
Finally, Jenny is one who pays the bills and through whom the incredible legacies from the brilliant electrical engineer and inventor, her uncle Dr. Michael P. Reece, and from her parents, David W. Reece and Pauline M. Reece-Sampson flow, legacies which made her dream of Oranbega Retreat Center a reality. We invite you to plan your retreat with us today!