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We provide a spiritual home for people from all walks of life as a progressive, diverse, tolerant and vibrant congregation.

Our History

Our Mission

State Street Church,1852 to the Present

Throughout its rich history the people of State Street Church embraced and challenged the social assumptions of their times and chose to speak and act deliberately to make the world a better place.  Beginning in 1852 a long tradition of compelling oratory was initiated espousing abolitionist and other broad Christ inspired points of view.   At State Street “the way of faith is the way into life.“ They wrestled with the challenges of the wars, several economic depressions and the moral challenges of their eras, initiated relevant evolving contemporary programs to meet basic human needs such as food and clothing, intellectual and spiritual growth and by serving the broader community.  In the 1960s and ‘70s the Church sponsored “The Gate,” a coffee house, a friendly melting pot to meet the needs of lonely and alienated people and be a “church without walls.” More recently we’ve become an open and affirming congregation welcoming GLBT members.  We have welcomed the growing immigrant community of Portland providing some with a new church home.  State Street is a congregation that welcomes people from all walks of life to create a spiritual home.

 

Music has always been an important part of our church community.  Our Roosevelt organ was installed in 1892 by a New York Firm of the same name.  Under the direction of talented and dedicated music and choral directors music became featured expressions of faith.  For example, Seldon T. Crafts of Bates College commuted weekly to State Street from 1909 to 1947 to play some 2,000 services.  Our music and performances have helped shape the musical life of Portland in many venues.  Dr. David Maxwell, our current Minister of Music, provides concert quality experiences at every service, has inspired our choir to render professional level anthems, has brought many professional musicians for special services to our chancel, featured talented musicians from our congregation, and welcomed a newly formed blue grass ensemble “No Strings Attached” to enrich selected services and events.

 

Varied programming is a continuous part of our church life. Growth is always exciting.  The Men’s Group, the Women’s Guild, the Women’s Home Missionary Circle, the Foreign Missionary Society, the Junior Guild and Bible Study were all part of this tradition.  Similar groups, for example “Women of Hope, Women of Change, the Clothes Closet, and the Men’s Group, continue to make State Street a rich and vital place.  Church membership more than doubled in the 1920s, pew rental was abolished, and State Street became the State’s largest mission donor.  In the 1950s seven classrooms were added to the Sunday School.  In the 60s and 70s the Church community worked to actively engage with the social unrest of that era e.g., the Vietnam War, women’s and human rights, and substance abuse.  There was a 50 year history of direct radio broadcasting of church sermons.  Three younger church members enrolled at graduate theology schools and State Street housed the 40,000 volume General Theological Library of New England and the Portland Campus Center of the Bangor Theological Seminary.

 

The move of people to the suburbs and the challenges of relevance to the main line churches are part of our history as well.    In recent decades several renewal campaigns were launched with notable success in membership and capital.  All of our spaces are fully occupied by others who are meeting human needs where they are found be it in preschool formation, traversing the turbulent teen years, struggling to escape life crushing addiction or seeking another cultural spiritual journey.

 

We are weathering membership issues since our Golden Years by welcoming and engaging new arrivals in many different ways that are comfortable for them.  Our Pastor Jeanette Good Ph.D. makes everyone welcome.  She helps create the opportunities for all to become a part of something larger than one’s self and to experience God’s unconditional love.  She infuses our lives with hope, optimism, belonging, meaning and new reflections on our life experiences grounded in age-old wisdom.  Projects have included an interfaith conference on domestic violence prevention, promotion of interfaith understanding by inviting to our pulpit representatives of the Muslim, Jewish and Hindu faith traditions, addressing mental health issues, participating in Portland’s Pride Parade, the Women’s March, marriage equality, and becoming a gun free zone.  At least seven parishioners have been mentored in the seminary pursuits, some through ordination.   Recently it was asked as part of a current Bible Study class “Is it possible that “faith” is less about asserting the existence of a hypothetical Being called “God” than it is about simply accepting and being shaped by experiences of being set free and goodness coming to us from some source “out of this world?”  Could the “resurrection” at the heart of Christian faith be not an assured ticket to an afterlife that enables us to “avoid pain” but rather a call to renewed life now that lives fully, daringly and hopefully towards the unknown?  Is “trusting God” less a secure answer to life’s central problems than it is an empowerment to deal with them courageously?  Welcome to the spiritual journey of State Street Church.

 

This historical overview by Jared Clark with contributions from others is based upon the following: “125 Years of State Street Church,” Eleanor Johnson, Editor

 

“The Golden Candlesticks, 150 Years of Faith and Service, 1852 – 2002”

Franklin Talbot Archivist, Martha Mater, Editor

See what is very close to us

We are thankful, God, Christ, and Holy Spirit, that you have called us to be your church and that you are present with us always.

We recognize that we, your people of State Street Church in Portland, Maine, are but a small part of your church's presence on Earth. Taking into consideration the particular resources and gifts you have given us, we seek to define our particular tasks as an inner city church and to do them to the best of our abilities.

In so doing, we commit ourselves:

To celebrate our common journey of faith while honoring the diversity of gifts and people that are the essence of our church.

To create a community within which it is safe for individuals to explore all the gifts and talents you have given them.

To invite all to participate fully in the life and ministry of this Open and Affirming Church, with the belief that we are all loved unconditionally by you, O God, creator of all life. We seek to be a congregation that affirms your presence, your spark of life in all people. We joyously welcome persons of every age, race, gender, sexual orientation and identity, faith background, marital status, culture, physical and mental ability, socioeconomic status, and other differences that enrich and bless the diversity of your people.

To provide a place where people can learn about you and faith in a variety of ways - through worship, study, community, involvement, and a welcoming congregation.

To raise the children among us in the knowledge of your love and promises.

To reach out into our particular community to minister to the poor, the lonely, and the estranged.

To be as sensitive and responsive to our neighbor's needs as to our own, realizing that all with whom we share this Earth are our neighbors.

To use wisely the heritage of this building, recognizing that what we have to offer is the treasure of space for ministry in an urban setting.

To recognize that stewardship includes our responsibility to support the mission of our church with both money and time.

To speak and act boldly, yet in love, building upon our heritage of innovative ministry, interfaith cooperation, and active participation in the larger United Church of Christ.

We humbly ask for your help, your love, your spirit among us as we try to carry out this mission of State Street Church. O God of our past, present, and future, we hear your call to us and we seek to follow.



OUR STAFF

Rev. Jeanette A. Good, Ph.D.

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Rev. Good brings a rich background of both local and international experiences to State Street Church. Her experiences match the church's local and international concerns. Born just down the street and brought up just inland in Sebago, Maine, she has studied and traveled extensively, and worked in a variety of pastoral settings.

Rev. Good was an AFS Gorham High School exchange student to the Amazon area of Brazil. She received her BA degree in French from the University of Maine at Orono. Her coursework included two years of studying in France, one of which was at a small Protestant College, Cevenol, in a village that had hidden nearly 5,000 Jewish children during the Nazi occupation. After graduating from college she returned to Brazil under a Northern New England Rotary Scholarship studying the roots of hunger. While there, she witnessed extreme human suffering caused by poverty and injustice. She spent a second year in the Northeast of Brazil working in the area of human rights with the Quaker American Friends Service Committee. For nearly 50 years Rev. Good has retained a relationship with Brazil, traveling there many times and serving as a former President of the Maine Partners of the Americas, a sister state partnership with the poor state of Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil.

Rev. Good earned her M. Div. degree from Yale Divinity School, and her PhD in pastoral psychology from Boston University. Early in her ministry, she was a Hospice Chaplain, and later served churches in Colorado, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. She was ordained in 1980 in the United Church of Christ. After completing her PhD in 1999, she returned to Maine to serve as Interim Senior Minister at Woodfords in Portland. She then served in interim positions in Windham and Fryeburg before coming to State Street Church in April, 2005. She has taught at both the University of New England in the Psychology Department, and at Bangor Theological Seminary. She is a Fellow in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors. She is also author of Shame, Images of God and the Cycle of Violence published by University of America.

Rev. Good enthusiastically embraces the vision of the State Street Church as a spiritual home for people of every walk of life as it continues its mission as a progressive, diverse, tolerant and alive congregation.  






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Dr. David Maxwell

​​​​​​​Minister of Music...

Dr. David Maxwell earned degrees from the University of Illinois in piano performance and in organ performance.  He was elected to membership in Pi Kappa Lambda, the national music honor society.  His first university teaching position was at Western Illinois University, and he was later appointed to the music faculty of the University of Southern Maine.  


His work in church music began at age twelve in a Presbyterian church in his home town, Tolono, Illinois.  He later served as organist at Wesley Methodist Church, a large church on the campus of  the University of Illinois.  In Portland, Maine, David has served as Minister of Music at State Street Church UCC since 1980. 


As a performer, David has played numerous solo recitals as well as having performed as a member of several chamber music ensembles including The Ineluctable Modality, Musica Tricinia, and the St. George Chamber Players.  He also has played with the St. Louis Symphony and the Portland (Maine) Symphony Orchestra.


David began composing music in earnest in the late 1990’s.  His first published work, “Voluntary for Trumpet and Organ,” was published in 1998 by H.W. Gray Publications (a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Publications).  This piece has been performed numerous times in Europe and in Asia in addition to North America.  Other publishers of David’s music include Concordia Publishing House, Augsburg Fortress, MorningStar Music Publishers, and Zimbel Press.  Dr. Maxwell now has over 200 publications.  He has received ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) Plus Awards annually for several years, and his compositions have been critically acclaimed by national reviewers.

Benny VanDerburg, Christian Education Coordinator

You may contact Benny through his church email adress by clicking below.



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Anne Hendrix

Office Administrator

A graduate of the University of Southern Maine, Anne began working at State Street Church in 2014. Prior to that she worked in the printing industry in both administration and production.


WHY WE EXIST

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All Are Invited To Participate

To celebrate our common journey of faith while honoring the diversity of gifts and people that are the essence of our church.

Pray and Worship

Center and anchor what we do with prayer

Grow as a Church

We strive to grow together as a church. Fellowship and growing together through God.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH

We have many community outreach programs. Take a look below and see what your best fit would be.

  • Clothes Distribution Closet

TESTIMONIALS

"I have been overwhelmed with the love and support of the church. They made me feel right at home."

HELEN TOMPSON

"Being new to the town was difficult. Once I walked through the doors of the church I instantly felt welcomed."

JESSICA PRISTO