In Memory — The Rev. Ray Williams

A Memorial Service will be held for Rev. Raymond W. Williams at the the Stevens Avenue Congregational Church, 790 Stevens Ave., Portland on Saturday, March 25th at 11am.  Following the Service, a gathering with family and friends will be held in the Downstairs Vestry with light refreshments.

Rev. Raymond W. Williams, 81, died Tuesday, November 22, 2016 at home in Wilder, VT after several years of declining health.

Ray was born June 9, 1935 in Denver, CO the son of Raymond R. and Nancy (Currie) Williams. He was predeceased by his beloved sister Charlotte who died in childhood.  He graduated from Grand Junction High School in Grand Junction, CO class of 1953. Ray later received his Bachelors from the University of Colorado at Boulder and later attended seminary at Andover Newton Theological School in Newton, MA where he completed his post graduate work.  He met the love of his life and future wife Jean Merrill as they worked together as social workers in the neighborhood of the South End House in Boston, MA. They were married on July 31, 1960 in New Gloucester, ME. This is where he was first called as a pastor to the First Congregational Church UCC. Later he served as a pastor in Greenfield, MA, and Baldwinville / Phillipston, MA for a time. He then found a home as the pastor of Stevens Avenue Congregational in Portland, ME for 25 years and the 6th Street Congregational Church in Auburn, ME for 3 years before retiring in 1998. In 2010, Ray and Jean moved to Wilder, VT to be nearer to their son and grandchildren.

Ray enjoyed his summer home on Bailey Island, ME where he spent 30 wonderful years making improvements on his beautiful ocean-side home and watching his children and grandchildren grow up there.  Ray deeply loved Maine, the ocean, and traveling in his camper across the United States visiting friends and family. All who’ve known Ray will agree that he was one of the kindest, gentlest and most loving people they’ve met. He will be sorely missed by all, yet his grand spirit lives on in all of us.

Ray is survived by his loving wife Jean Williams of Wilder, VT; two sons, Ian Williams of Wilder, VT and Leif Williams of Martinez, CA; four grandchildren, Reid, Alexis, Jill and Leicia.

Memorial contributions may be made to: Stevens Avenue Congregational Church, 790 Stevens Avenue, Portland, ME 04103.

Installation of The Rev. Dr. Richard Hyde at Gray

Gather with the members of First Congregational Church of Gray, UCC

11 Yarmouth Rd, Gray, ME 04039

Sunday, March 26th , 2017  ***NOTE NEW DATE***   at 2:30 p.m.


The Rev. Dr. Richard Allen Hyde graduated from Union Theological Seminary in New York. While there he worked with runaway teenagers at Covenant House and abandoned children at the Divine Providence Emergency Shelter. He began his ordained ministry as Associate Chaplain of Dartmouth College. In addition to pastoring small churches in New England and California, he earned an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School and a Ph.D. in Religion and Public Life from the Graduate Theological Union and University of California, Berkeley. He was a teaching assistant for Huston Smith’s courses in world religion and mysticism. He has lectured at Dartmouth College, the School of Advanced International Studies and the State Department. In addition to serving as Pastor in Gray, his current passion is movement education, whether that movement be of the mind, the body, the spirit, or the body politic.

An offering will be received for the Cumberland Association Seminarian Scholarship Fund. Refreshments will be served at a reception following the service. Clergy are invited to robe with red stoles and process.

Congregations, Please File Your UCC Statistics Now

The UCC Data Hub closes on March 8!

Before beginning your UCC Data Hub session online, you may find it helpful to have in advance the list of questions and data you will need, as well as definitions for the categories.  Download a .pdf of the instructions which includes a “form” you can fill in on paper, to be ready for the data entry.  (What the instructions DO NOT show you are the definitions of what should be included in your answer.  For those, download a .pdf of the UCC DATA HUB TIP SHEET HERE. ) Now you can prepare your answers before you open your session, and the process won’t be so painful.

2017 Fellowship Dues Rates and IRS Mileage Rates

from your Association Treasurer

2017 Fellowship Dues for the Maine Conference will increase by $.30/member over the 2016 and 2015 rate:    $15.38/member (this is a best estimate as of 11/2016, and will be updated as known).  Conference Dues fluctuate by the federally-established COLA rate, unless changed by special vote of the Conference at Annual Meeting.    

2017 Fellowship Dues for the Cumberland Association:  $1.65/member, same as the previous two years. 

2017 Fellowship Dues for each church are calculated on the number of members reported as of December 31, 2016.  If you do not file your statistics with the UCC data hub, your church’s dues will be calculated on the most recent statistics filed.  Data hub reporting opens January 3, 2017. 

2017 dues statements will be mailed to Cumberland Association congregations in March, 2017. Both Conference and Association Dues are paid to the Cumberland Association via the Treasurer:  Rev. Linda Gard, 30 Gloucester Hill Road, New Gloucester, ME 04260.  (Do not send Conference Dues directly to the Conference!  Why?  Oh, the history lesson you’ll get if you ask that question!)

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2017, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be: 53.5 cents per mile for business miles driven, down from 54 cents for 2016.     The tax-deductible mileage rate for volunteers (not employees) driving in service of charitable organizations:  $.14/mile (set by federal statute, not the IRS, and does not change annually).  For an official IRS chart of mileage rates for the past several years, click HERE.


Grace-Street Ministry seeking director/co-pastor

communioncircle_gracestministry_0018-4Grace-Street Ministry is an outreach ministry working with the homeless and marginalized
on the streets and in the shelters of downtown Portland, Maine.  We are looking for the right person (preferably UCC) to work in a part-time position (35hrs/mo.) as director and co-pastor.  If interested please email and view gracestreetministry@

[Grace-Street Ministry, PO Box 7967, Portland, ME, 04112, (207)210-7069]

Fall Annual Meeting

THANK YOU to The Congregational Church in Cumberland for hosting the Annual Meeting (Oct.2)!

A budget was passed, reports received, and leadership elected in swift succession, which allowed us to have plenty of time for our special guest, Reza Jalali, advisor to multicultural and Muslim students at USM and Bowdoin College, and the author of Homesick Mosque and Other Stories.  

Our new Moderator is Rev. Raymond Clothier, member of High Street Church in Auburn.  Sue Stevens, member at South Portland and a Conference Deacon, will serve as Vice Moderator.

The attendance was great, and a very generous offering was received for the Scholarship Fund–$676.  Thank you, everyone.

Church and Ordination Anniversaries Celebrated

The Spring Cumberland Association Meeting, Sunday, April 24,the following congregations and clergy celebrating anniversaries (x5) in 2016 were recognized:


  • Williston-Immanuel United Church UCC/ABC                   5 years (2011)
  • East Raymond Chapel UCC                                                 70 years (1946)
  • Stevens Avenue Congregational UCC                             130 years (1886)
  • Casco Village Church UCC                                                 175 years (1841)
  • High Street Congregational Church UCC, Auburn         190 years (1826)
  • Foreside Community Church UCC, Falmouth                205 years (1811)
  • First Congregational UCC, North Yarmouth                   210 years (1806)
  • First Congregational UCC, Durham                                 220 years (1796)
  • Minot Center Congregational UCC                                  225 years (1791)
    • Kelli Whitman              5 years
    • Annette Mott               5 years
    • Leslie Foley                10 years
    • Ezra Chapola             15 years
    • Susan Gilpin              20 years
    • Dana Reed                 30 Years
    • Kent Allen                  35 years
    • Linda Gard                 35 years
    • Robert Morse            40 years
    • Joanne Painter          45 years
    • John McCall               45 years
    • Bill Gregory                50 years
    • Rebecca Erb               50 years
    • Raymond Williams    55 years
    • Garvey MacLean       55 years

Our Spring meeting has become a celebration of the ministries of churches and pastors.  At this meeting we heard the pastors at First Parish in Yarmouth relate the process and results of their congregation’s re-invention of itself, reorganizing from a structure that took WAY too many people to fill out to something leaner, more flexible, more nimble and right for 2016.   High Street folks talked about the hospitality of their Food Pantry Ministry.  Steve Gray, a member of one of the Maine Conference’s new interest groups, the Anti-Racism Task Force, advocated for congregations’ participation in a Juneteenth Challenge.  Bryan Breault was also with us, bringing a show and tell–slides of Pilgrim Lodge’s new Dining Hall, Quitobaquito, soon to be dedicated!   Last, but not least, a very generous offering from the attendees has been put in the Scholarship Fund for seminary study.

Throughout the meeting, our hosts at High Street provided wonderful beverages and munchies.  YAY!   Thank you!