Thursday, April 24, 2014
PORTLAND — After a litany that began a block apart on High Street with two separate leaders, the congregations of Williston-West United Church of Christ and Immanuel Baptist Church came together as one this morning.
The Revs. Robert Witham and Deborah Davis-Johnson, center, lead the litany before the congregations of Immanuel Baptist Church and Williston-West United Church of Christ merge to become Williston-Immanuel United Church in Portland on Sunday.
Jill Brady/Staff Photographer
"Welcome!" said the Rev. Deborah Davis-Johnson on the steps of the handsome stone church across the street from the Eastland Park Hotel. "All are welcome in this place."
Members of the newly named Williston-Immanuel United Church followed Davis-Johnson into the sanctuary for communion and worship service, culminating a yearlong courtship between the two churches, both of which had seen dwindling numbers of active worshipers.
"Coming here is a great step for us; it means we continue on," said Roxanna Brophy, moderator of Williston-West UCC for the past eight years. "I just feel so relieved that we're together with Immanuel. They're good people and we're good people."