HopeGATeWay STAFF

  • 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 were both pastors). After graduating from Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, NE, she moved to Washington, DC to pursue seminary studies at Wesley Theological Seminary, graduating with a Masters of Divinity in 2003. She has served churches in Old Orchard Beach and Saco, ME, and Sudbury, MA, and she's so grateful for the opportunity to serve in Portland. Sara and her husband, Allen, came to Portland in 2007 to plant a new church that has grown into HopeGateWay. Sara and Allen live with their two youngest daughters, Rachel and Kathryn, in Portland and look forward to visits home from their eldest daughter, Gloria.  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 Coordinator

    Originally from the Midwest, Bethany fell in love with Maine while working as a camp counselor many years ago. Bethany and her husband, Rick, have lived in Maine since 1996 and currently reside in North Yarmouth with their daughters, Ksenia and Annika - quickly approaching the inevitable 'empty nest syndrome'. Bethany has BA in Russian Language and Literature from the University of Kansas, but currently prefers studying French. She enjoys playing the piano, loves travel and photography, learning about cultures around the world, and connecting deeply with others. She loves learning and growing and is a work in progress. Bethany enjoys volunteering as a mentor with residents of Hope House, transitional housing for asylum seekers. Bethany is a trained spiritual director who loves open-ended questions, and she feels blessed to be working alongside the talented HopeGateWay team.


  • Diane McClanahan

    Community Care Coordinator

    Diane finds purpose and meaning in supporting people on their journey to being more fully who they are in relationship with God, self and other. Healing has always been a part of Diane’s vocation, first as a nurse, later as a pastor, and now as a spiritual director. In her role as Community Care Coordinator she is excited to be a part of a community where people are empowered to be in mutual care for one another. Diane and Art were both born in New York. They met through their mutual love of music at Duke University where Diane earned her undergraduate degree in nursing. Later she graduated from Yale Divinity School. After vacationing in Maine for forty years, they finally feel as if they have come home, as they have retired and now live in Raymond. Retirement gives them time to spend with their two adult children and extended family, and to marvel at the beauty of God’s creation.

  • Erica LoveJoy

    Children & Family Ministries Coordinator

    Erica is a USM graduate with a background in Sociology, Education and Biology. She works as a volunteer coordinator with Senior Corps, and enjoys overseeing meaningful volunteer opportunities with some of Southern Maine's coolest senior residents. Erica has been a part of HopeGateWay since 2007, and began teaching HopeGateWay Kids shortly after. She particularly loves the intergenerational aspect of HopeGateWay and looks forward to creating opportunities where all types of families can engage with each other for support, wisdom sharing and fun! Erica lives in Portland with her wife, Ali and two young daughters, Emilia and Madeline. Together they enjoy camping, eating ice cream, reading good books, visiting family, and laughing! Email

  • Ophelia Hu Kinney

    Worship Coordinator

    Ophelia Hu Kinney is a second-generation Asian American and a Midwestern transplant. She and her wife Hayli have belonged to HopeGateWay since 2016. She enjoys trying to translate God and learning others' translations, though she's perpetually at a loss for words. Ophelia works as the Communications Specialist at Reconciling Ministries Network - to which HopeGateWay has belonged since 2009 - an international movement of LGBTQ-celebrating Methodists fighting for justice and inclusion in the Church. She enjoys short poems and long days, a picnic at the beach or a good talk with a friend. At HopeGateWay, Ophelia seeks to empower members to lift their own and each other’s voices to co-create an authentic worshipful experience. Let her know if you want to be a part of HopeGateWay's Sunday worship!  Email



  • Patsy Frey-Davis

    Communications coordinator

    Patsy Frey-Davis has been a member of HopeGateWay for about ten years and is grateful to be part of a community that does justice, loves kindness, and walks humbly with God.  She lives, writes, reads, cooks, and snarks from Bath, Maine with her husband and two ridiculously adorable children.  She'd love to hear any of your questions, comments, ideas, or inspiration. 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!

HopeGateWay LEADERSHIP TEAM

  • Margaret Menger

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  • Don Rudalevige

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  • wanda stahl

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  • Rick Smart

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  • Elizabeth Beane

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  • Armand Turinyungu

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  • Matt Frey-Davis

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  • Art McClanahan

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