The Messenger
St. Ansgar Lutheran Church
515 Woodford Street,Portland, ME 04103
(207) 774-8740
June, 2016

  A Reconciling in Christ Congregation
Rev. Maria Anderson
Transition Pastor

Rev. Patricia Potter
Jan Peyton Rowley
Admin and Organist
From Pastor Maria Anderson

Lutherans are a liturgical people.  What does that even mean?  Well, simply put, it means that we are rooted in a tradition of liturgy, and it is liturgy that largely guides our worship life together. This is also true for Catholics as well as many of our full ministry partners. 

The Greek word for liturgy is
leitourgía .  The first part of this word ( leit ) is a conjugation of the word laós , which means "the people", and the second part of the word ( ourgós ) is a conjugation of the word -érgon, which means "work". Therefore, liturgy means "the work of the people".  

I remember the day I learned this in seminary.  I had always imagined that "liturgy" meant order of worship, or formula for worship.  It seemed like a more static and prescribed term.  Rather, the meaning of liturgy is much more dynamic and contextual. I also appreciated learning that in being "the work of the people", liturgy is a part of our congregational life together that happens because everyone participates, not simply the pastor or worship leaders.  

It can be tempting, or easy, for some of us to discount the importance of our presence and participation in the life of St. Ansgar and especially during worship. However, we are all participants in the liturgy on Sunday morning.  Whether through arriving early to make the building an inviting space, welcoming people at the door, singing hymns with passion, ushering, assisting the worship leaders, playing music, or simply saying spoken responses and silently praying, every person is an integral part of making Sunday morning a possibility.  It is the work of the people - the work of all of us!  Our community and our worship would not be the same without each and every one of us.  

As we move into summer and enjoy the few months of beautiful and warm weather we get in Maine, church attendance always slows down.  Last year we experimented with the liturgy during this time of the year through worshiping in the fellowship hall.  It was a great experiment and really fun to try something new.  This year, I'm inviting us all to think more intentionally about liturgy being "the work of the people". Rather than moving worship downstairs for the summer, we'll stay in the sanctuary.  Worship will be a little more relaxed (there will be less clergy garments involved!) and a little more participatory.  

So, thank you for your participation and for truly making the liturgy "the work of the people".  It will be fun to experiment and try some new ways of living out our liturgical tradition together this summer.  As always, if you have ideas of practices or rituals you'd like to see us do together in worship, please share them with me through e-mail or a conversation!  

P r. Maria

Transition Update from Pr. Maria

The transition at St. Ansgar is continuing to move forward! You have hopefully seen the e-mail or were able to be present for Pr. Tim Roser's meeting with the congregation to receive the results of the Congregational Assessment Tool (CAT).  This tool provided St. Ansgar with a picture of the congregational culture, what your priorities are, and can serve as a guide in the continued reflection process.
Upon receiving the results, I presented the council and transition team with a proposal for moving forward with next steps.  I feel it is important before moving forward in any decision making that St. Ansgar take some time to answer the following two questions with care and intention: 1. Who are we? 2. How is God calling us into ministry now?

To help St. Ansgar find some answers to these questions, I proposed the following next steps:
  1. Listening Season - Summer 2016
  2. History Retreat - September 2016
  3. Mission/Vision Consultation - Fall/Winter 2016

listening season will be a time for every person who calls St. Ansgar home to be intentional to meet one-on-one with 2-5 other St. Ansgar people or neighbors at times most convenient for you.  This provides St. Ansgar with the opportunity to continue moving forward in the transition process during the summer months when many are away and traveling.  The hope is that through sitting down one-on-one with others, we will get a better picture as to who is sitting in the pews beside us, who our neighbors are, and what hidden gifts and skills we may have in our midst.  It will also help us to know each other more fully as we move into a process of mission and vision casting.  

The History Retreat will be lead by Pr. Tim Roser.  This is a project that he generally does with congregations in transition so that they can be fully aware of their history and where they are coming from as they move forward.  This retreat would likely be a Sunday morning event, but St. Ansgar can decide how exactly you would like the day to look.

Finally, St. Ansgar will look to hire a consultant to work with and guide the mission and vision process of the congregation .  In late August/early September the council will come up with a clear set of desired outcomes from the consultation work.  Anyone in the congregation who knows someone who might be a good fit to do this work is welcome and encouraged to share their information with the council when the time comes.  The council will then meet with a few of these potential consultants.  The person who consults with the congregation will be carefully selected to make sure they are well suited to help guide the congregation through a process that will be helpful and beneficial for our stated goals and outcomes.
The council voted to move ahead with this proposed plan as it continues to work for the congregation.  Therefore, look for information coming soon regarding a training and kick-off event for the listening season!
Listening Season Intro - Save the Dates!
Wednesday, June 8th - 6:30pm
Sunday, June 12th - 5:00pm

Mission Developer Update 

My mission development work continues to progress and develop.  With the assistance and leadership of our clergy members at St. Ansgar, I have been able to worship and preach in some partner congregations to share stories about this work.  In April I had the opportunity to preach at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Bangor and in May, I worshiped at First Parish Unitarian Universalist and preached at Nativity Lutheran Church in Rockport, ME. I always learn a lot from seeing what other worshiping communities do when they gather together and in sharing stories from my work!

For the past number of months, I have been working in an unofficial capacity with Mia Dyson (whom you all know) and Kit Wang (an Episcopal Priest in Maine), to experiment and guide this new community. It is great to be able to bounce ideas off of each other, share leadership, and to have the variety of experiences and perspectives in this work. Each of the small gatherings we're facilitating are couched under the umbrella of Arise Portland - a Facebook page and Wordpress site you can check out online.  We have started a weekly newsletter email, titled "Arise Weekly: Inspiration for a Community Emerging".  If you're interested in having this e-mail come to your inbox you can sign up here: !  We are also kicking off a "Theology on Tap"-type gathering called Pints & Perspectives in June!  Holy Potluck, the Saturday morning potluck brunch continues to gather, as well, as the Faith and Activism book club.  

As always, if you know someone that you think I should connect with, feel free to pass along my e-mail address!  I'd be happy to sit down with them and/or buy them coffee.

If you would like to hear a short story about the work of Holy Potluck, and what our gatherings are usually like, feel free to listen to the sermon I preached at Nativity in Rockport.  You can find it at the following link:

Thank you for your continued partnership in this important ministry.  It is such a joy to be a part of sharing God's love with our community here in Portland alongside you all.


An Evangelism Committee Event
Saturday, June 4, 2016
10:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Free Lunch!

St. Angar is excited to be partnering with the Rosemont Neighborhood Association to gather our community together for coffee, conversation, then a pot-luck lunch.  Join us for a thought-provoking discussion about what it means to be a neighbor in the 21st century!

JUNE 19, 2016

This year on Graduation Sunday we will honor three graduating seniors.

*Marjorie (Mara) Violet McDonough graduated from
The Maine School of Science and Math and gave the
student address!  She will attend Colby College in the

*Nathan Paul Loranger will graduate from Deering High School on June 9 and will be attending University of Maine at Orono, majoring in mechanical engineering.

*Taylor Whitcomb is graduating from University of Southern New Hampshire

Congratulations and Best Wishes!!


Our joint Vacation Bible School Program, with Trinity Lutheran in Westbrook, will be the second week of July.  The program takes place at the Westbrook location, and the counselors from Calumet sleep here at St. Ansgar.  In the near future, a sign-up sheet will be available for all who would like to volunteer beds/cots/mattresses (approx. 6 needed) for the counselors to sleep on, and also, some food items.

FMI, please contact Julie at 756-0605.        

Summer is almost here...and for some, that means spending a week or two at Camp Calumet.  As usual, St. Ansgar will be offering Camp Scholarships. 

If you have a child who plans to attend and would like to take advantage of this scholarship opportunity, please fill out a Scholarship form available in the front lobby of the church and return
it to the Church Council ASAP.

Young person confirmation information
This fall we will begin another year of confirmation with our young people between 6th and 9th grade at St. Ansgar. We will be joining with the pastors and youth from Woodfords UCC and HopeGateWay for our confirmation journey this year. An informational session will be held on Sunday, June 5th at Woodfords at 4pm. There will be able to meet other young people and parents beginning this journey and get a picture of what our year together will look like! (As well as dates to put on the calendar!) If you have any questions or concerns, contact Pr. Maria at


A message from your Church Council President
You may be tired of me saying this by now, but when Jan asked if I had anything to add to The Messenger on behalf of Church Council, I thought that I would once again remind everyone that council meetings are open to all. We have had five months of transition, and our transition and discernment is expected to last at least through the end of the year. Your participation during this time is not only welcomed but is essential to completing a process that truly reflects who we are and where we want to go. 
Currently, our next council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, June 15
at 6:15 PM - that's 6/15  at 6:15! Look for a draft agenda to be sent out via email before the meeting. We try to limit the meeting to two hours. Some-
times we succeed; sometimes we run just a bit long.
You can come for the whole meeting, or you can come for just the parts that interest you. With the exception of a planned outside speaker, the order of the agenda is usually flexible. In other words, if you come to the beginning of the meeting with an interest in something that is listed at the end of the agenda, we can move that item up on the agenda and talk about your item of interest closer to the beginning.  We tend to focus more on meeting the needs of those in attendance and less on those pesky Robert's Rules of Order. (I'm sure Robert was a perfectly nice guy, but I've never really accepted his authority over us...or maybe I just have authority issues that I should work out some place other than our church newsletter!)
My authority issues aside, we want your input, and we hope to see you at a meeting!
Yours in discernment (and possibly with some authority issues), 
Becky Burns
Council President  

Sign Ideas
Aside from our stories and presence in the community, the church sign is one of our best story-tellers.  We are fortunate to be on a busy corner and to be able to share with all those who walk or drive by what we are about here at St. Ansgar.  SO - we're asking for your ideas and your input! What funny or witty sayings would you like to see on our church sign?  What meaningful words have inspired you in your faith walk? What short phrases can help us tell the story of who we are as a congregation to our neighbors?

Send your ideas to Pr. Maria at

Hymn Lotto
This summer for worship, we are going to try something new!  Thank you to Pastor Pat for the idea of "Hymn Lotto".  Beginning June 26th, when we move to 9am worship, you will have the opportunity to write the name of hymn you'd like to sing for our Sending Hymn on a piece of paper and put it in the lotto when you arrive. After communion, we'll play "Hymn Lotto", selecting a volunteer from the congregation to draw the hymn from a hat.

So start thinking!  If you'd like to suggest a hymn for "Hymn Lotto" prior to the summer, send your suggestions to Pr. Maria and she'll make sure they get included in the Lotto.  We hope you'll play Hymn Lotto with us!

Everyone enjoys this time on Sunday  following the worship hour.  There are many open dates available to host this special time together this summer.  Won't you take a turn? 

Recent Happenings


On May 1st, we celebrated with Jen Boggs, Heather Klein, and Sofia Zrioka as they confirmed their faith at St. Ansgar Lutheran Church. Sofia, on this day, also became an official member through her confirmation! During worship, each confirmation student shared their final projects and/or their faith statement with the congregation. Many commented on how meaningful they found service and celebration. Thank you to Jen, Heather, and Sofia for sharing your faith so openly and honestly with our congregation! And for leading the way in openly sharing aspects of your spiritual journeys with all of us!

                                     Jen Boggs            Pr. Maria       Sophia Zrioka      Heather Klein


Low Commotion is a low-brass ensemble of approximately 12-15 tuba and euphonium musicians, including our very own Jon Hall.  The ensemble rehearses at St. Ansgar bi-weekly.  On Friday night, May 13, they treated us
to a concert at St. Ansgar benefiting Hope House.

What a delightful evening we had!  The concert was well-attended, raised over $250 for Hope House, and provided us with beautiful, spirited, up-beat music in our sanctuary.  We are blessed to have this ensemble in our church community.


Thanks, everyone.
We netted $700+ for VBS  


  • Project Feed Sunday                               1st Sunday of the month
  • Noisy Offering                                        3rd Sunday of the month
  • Preble Street dinner                                2nd Thursday, 3:10, church parking lot
  • Sewing Group                                         2nd and 4th Wednesdays, 10 - 2
  • ALANON                                               Monday morning, 10:00
  • Girl Scouts                                              Monday evening, 5:30 - 7:00 (school season)
  • Brownie Scouts                                       1st & 3rd Wednesdays, 3:00 - 5:00 pm (school season)
  • Portland Big Book AA Meeting             Tuesday evening, 7:30 - 9:00
  • 12-Step Group                                        Thursday evening, 7:00 - 8:30