Allen Ewing-Merrill // Lead Pastor
Allen loves music, art, good coffee, all things chocolate, traveling, and laughing with friends. A native Mainer, he grew up in a small town on the rocky mid-coast, in a family of teachers. After graduating from the University of Maine, Orono, he taught high school English for a few years, then headed off to Boston University School of Theology, where he spent three years. He has served rural and suburban churches, but he feels most alive in Portland's urban context, where he sees God profoundly at work in sidewalk conversations, coffee shops, art galleries, music venues, community meals, and the diversity of this inclusive Christian community which includes the full socio-econonimc spectrum, young adults and retirees, families with young children, members of the LGBT community, persons in recovery from addiction, immigrants from several African countries, and peace-loving, justice-seeking misfits. He loves experimenting with new ways of connecting with God through worship, dreaming about the future of the church, and the creative exchange of ideas between learners. Find Allen on Facebook.
Sara Ewing-Merrill // Lead Pastor
Sara's mission in life is to create safe places for people to encounter God. She finds great joy in accompanying people on their journey of faith – especially when she can help people wrestle with questions and doubts, explore faith for the first time, or take new steps on their journey. Sara grew up on the prairie in South Dakota, the daughter of two preachers’ kids (her grandfathers are both retired pastors). After graduating from Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, NE, she moved to our nation’s capital to pursue seminary studies at Wesley Theological Seminary, graduating with a Masters of Divinity in 2003. She has served churches in Old Orchard Beach & Saco, ME and Sudbury, MA, and she's so grateful for the opportunity now to serve in Portland. Her special interests in ministry include sacred dance, worship arts, and exploring new forms of worship. Find Sara on Facebook.
Ben Yosua-Davis // Site Pastor, 185 High Street
While Ben’s a native Mainer, he most recently hails from Haverhill, MA, where he co-planted a church called The Vine. He’s excited to join HopeGateway as site pastor for the 185 High Street campus, where he leads a team that’s connecting with the Parkside Neighborhood and launching a dinner worship gathering. Ben also blogs at benyd.com, hosts a podcast called “Reports from the Spiritual Frontier”, and is a partner at Exago Leadership, where he helps churches move out of the past into the future, out of the building into the community, and out of Sunday morning into the everyday. Ben now lives on Chebeague Island, ME with his wife, Melissa, and his son Michael, where he does exciting small town things like direct the community chorus and deliver tins of cookies to unsuspecting neighbors. When he’s not wearing one of his myriad hats or hanging out with his son, you’ll probably find him reading comics, watching basketball, or pretending that he’s a competent gardener.
Liz Leuthner // Office Manager
Liz has been an active member of the HopeGateWay community since moving to Portland from Providence, RI, where she worked for many years as an editor, curator and educator. In addition to her administrative duties at HGW, Liz leads our free Wednesday yoga and meditation groups and is the recovery & wellness program coordinator for Hope Acts. She teaches and studies yoga and meditation in Portland, and practices kirtan (devotional chanting). Liz hangs out in the HGW office Tuesday-Thursday, 10 am - 2 pm and Friday, 11:30 am- 2 pm. Stop in and say hello!
Kelly Muse // Lead Musician
Portland musician Kelly Muse has nearly two decades of experience as a performer, bandleader, and educator and recently earned his MBA at the University of Southern Maine. Kelly enjoys bringing a hint of variety and spontaneity to the worship music at HopeGateWay. He encourages all to sing, harmonize, even bring instruments to join in!