The HGW STAFF TEAM

  • Allen Ewing-Merrill, 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, acts of advocacy and activism, and the diversity of this inclusive Christian community. 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. In addition to his ministry with HopeGateWay, Allen is the convener of Moral Movement Mainea statewide, interfaith movement of Maine clergy and faith leaders organizing social action toward a more just, inclusive, and prosperous Maine that works for everyone.  Email  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

  • Sara ewing-merrill, 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 Washington, D.C. l 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 to serve in Portland. Her special interests in ministry include sacred dance, worship arts, and exploring new forms of worship. In addition to her ministry with HopeGateWay, Sara serves as Executive Director and co-founder of Greater Portland Family Promise, an affiliate of the national Family Promise program, dedicated to addressing the needs of families facing homelessness in the Greater Portland, Maine area.  Email  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

  • Bethany Smart, Administrative & PRogram ASSt.

    Bethany lives in North Yarmouth with her husband Rick, two teenage daughters, Ksenia and Annika, a golden retriever and two cats. Her family has attended HopeGateWay since 2015, enjoying the vibrant community, fierce inclusion and mix of contemporary and African worship music. Outside of HopeGateWay, Bethany coordinates the mentoring program for Hope House residents, and volunteers with the Fresh Air Fund and Greater Portland Family Promise. A common thread through her volunteering experiences is facilitating connection. She graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in Russian language and literature, but currently enjoys studying French. Bethany has completed training in spiritual direction and enjoys asking challenging questions when necessary. Other interests include travel, photography, music, and hanging out with awesome people.  Email

  • 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!

  • Katie Holicky, youth group coordinator

    Katie serves as the Youth Group Coordinator in a joint ministry collaboration with Woodfords Congregational Church, Trinity Episcopal Church, and St. Luke's Episcopal Cathedral. She grew up in Richmond, Virginia and studied Religion at Virginia Commonwealth University, eventually earning a Masters of Divinity, with a focus in Intercultural Social Justice, at Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA. 

    Her passion for helping to create space where people can openly wonder and find/be their authentic self is the foundation of her work in formation with children, youth, and young adults. She loves creating custom curriculum for small communities, planning and leading worship and community events, and spending as much time as possible in fellowship and formation! In her free time she loves to bake, read, and spend time outdoors with her husband, Phil.  Email


  • Keera swan, childcare provider

    Coming soon...

the HGW LEADERSHIP TEAM

  • Martin turnidge

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  • erica lovejoy

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  • don rudalevige

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  • chris abbott

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  • eric mutombu

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  • cliff ives

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  • wanda stahl

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  • ophelia hu kinney

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  • armand turinyungu

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  • rick smart

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  • elizabeth beane

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  • matt frey-davis

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