ELLSWORTH — This Sunday, Mary Angela Davis and her husband will both get up, get dressed and truck out to local Congregational churches.
That routine won’t be new: both are ordained ministers with 35 years of clerical experience at churches in Maine and Connecticut.
But this weekend will mark the first time they lead worship at two separate churches in Maine’s fastest growing city.
The Rev. Nicolas Davis is pastor at First Congregational Church of Ellsworth, while Mary Angela has just been called to serve as part-time minister of Union Congregational Church of Ellsworth Falls.
“We love to worship together,” she said, referring to the 20 years in the early parts of their careers when they were able to do so. They split a salary and held several posts around Maine, including at a church they started in Waldoboro.
But the demands of raising and sending their son to college eventually meant the couple had to divide their talents between different congregations.
After serving in Connecticut for a number of years, the two returned to Maine in 2007. In recent years, Mary Angela has served as an interim minister at churches throughout the Downeast region.
“I’m excited to be starting at this strong church,” she said. “I didn’t know it would be hard to find, since we’re a two-career family, to find a full-time call to the ministry.”
Many congregations, she added, “dream of having a young minister with a family.”
But even if Davis isn’t fresh out of the seminary, that’s a strength in the eyes of her new flock.
“It’s very difficult for churches at this time and place to find qualified people who are willing to engage in part-time ministry,” said John Cunningham, who chaired the Union Congo Church search committee that selected Davis. “We were just so blessed to find someone who has so many years of theological experience.”
Cunningham compared their find to the Israelites facing famine and waking up “to find their plates overflowing with manna, which magically appeared right out of their own backyard!”
Davis, who attended seminary at Andover Newton Theological Seminary in Mass., identified several strengths of the Union Congo Church.
The physical space reminds her of the parish she grew up attending, Forest Avenue Congregational Church in Bangor. The parish also is “community-oriented,” she said.
She and her husband now work at sister churches, Davis said, creating opportunities to strengthen that involvement with the Ellsworth community through youth outreach, service and other ministries.