May 29, 2010

Worship Spotlight
St. Ansgar Evangelical Lutheran Church, Portland

ADDRESS: 515 Woodford St.

WORSHIP SPOTLIGHT is a weekly series focusing on places of worship in central and southern Maine. Information is submitted by the places of worship. For information, e-mail or

DENOMINATION/AFFILIATION: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

HISTORY: St. Ansgar Evangelical Lutheran (Danish) church was founded in 1875. Immanuel (Swedish) Lutheran Church was founded in 1894. The original St. Ansgar church was on Mayo Street in Portland. Immanuel was located on Sherman Street, also in downtown Portland.

In 1954, the two congregations merged. They kept the name of St. Ansgar, and the Danish congregation joined the Augustana Lutheran Synod to which Immanuel had belonged. The newly merged congregation worshipped at the Sherman Street building until 1962.

In September 1961, the cornerstone of the current church building was laid, and the new church was dedicated in June 1962.

Since 1875, 32 pastors have served the two legacy congregations and the merged congregation. In 1995, the parish called its first woman pastor. The current pastor, William Barter, has served since July 2008.

St. Ansgar became a Reconciling in Christ congregation last February. As an RIC congregation, St. Ansgar amended its church's mission to include a clear invitation to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people and their families.

In March 2010, of St. Ansgar and a Sudanese Christian community joined in a unique ministry partnership. The Sudanese service is held every Sunday at 2 p.m.

St. Ansgar is a partner with Lutheran World Relief and is a contributing partner with Project Feed at Woodfords Congregational Church. It helps Preble Street Resource Center, Wayside Soup Kitchen, Project Fuel and the Protestant Hospital Ministry. It helps support an orphanage in India, a church in Ethiopia and African Relief Ministries (a micro-lending program for Sudanese war widows.)

The church offers a Christian education program for children and adults and a vacation bible school every summer. Throughout the year, it hosts numerous social and cultural events.

WORSHIP SERVICES: Sunday Eucharist takes place at 10:30 a.m., except for 10 weeks in the summer, when worship begins at 9:30 a.m.

The first Sunday of the month is Children's Sunday, plus a children's sermon is offered every Sunday. There is a nursery adjacent to the sanctuary.

FUTURE PLANS: In 2011, the church will begin a 10-month celebration commemorating the laying of the cornerstone and the dedication of the current church building 50 years ago at Rosemont.

CONTACT: 774-8740 or (800) 208-1478;


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