Reverend Susan (Susie) Jane Maxwell is Centre Street’s enthusiastic pastor. Having not grown up in a faith tradition, yet experiencing something larger and present in life and all of creation, Susie identifies with the faith-seekers who know there are many paths to God/the Holy/the Mystery/or "the more" to quote Marcus Borg. A prior career in pediatric occupational therapy gave way to seminary. After a stellar start at Bangor Theological Seminary, she graduated from Andover Newton Theological School in 2014 with her Masters in Divinity. Susie's interests are in pastoral care and counseling, spiritual wellness and development, and preaching. In all aspects of her being, she thrives for creativity and openness. Susie respects and appreciates the rich aspects and traditions of the church’s worshipping identity, and especially seeks to connect what Scripture has testified to in the past, with today. Susie also seeks to broaden Scripture and tradition in order to make room for God’s ongoing and usually mysterious revelation. Her favorite quality in her congregation is their openness to their shared faith journey. Susie finds them to be generous and loving people. In her free time, Susie loves hiking, camping, canoeing, photography, writing and spending time with all the little people in her life (grandchildren and grand nieces and nephews). Susie and her husband Greg live in Whiting with their cats (and the cats LOVE to sit near the keyboard and supervise when Susie is writing a sermon!).
Cindy Huggins directs Centre Street Church’s two musical groups, the Chancel Choir and the Handbell Choir. A native Southerner, Cindy has a bachelor’s degree in music from Furman University and a Ph.D. in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her diverse employment background includes running the food service at a large Southern Baptist conference center, selling elevated toilet seats at a medical supply company, typing purchase orders for parts needed in the manufacture of the seats in fighter jets, teaching college students about Victorian poetry and novels, and spending ten years as president of a small liberal arts university. Making music with the Centre Street choirs, however, is one of her all-time favorite jobs. Why? Because she gets to work with a community of wonderful, talented, generous people who love God and each other. And because music—making it and listening to it—is healing, transformative, and uplifts our very souls. Cindy breathes life into the music at Centre Street, come sing with us!
Bonnie Atkinson is one of Centre Street Church's many musicians. She accompanies the Chancel Choir, and also plays the hymns and service music on the beautiful Steinway piano each Sunday morning at Centre Street! Bonnie holds a Bachelor of Music Education Degree from UMaine and a Master of Music Education Degree from Gordon College. She currently teaches guitar, band and choir classes at Washington Academy.
Bonnie has been a member of the Machias music community since moving to Downeast Maine in 1997 playing for many local churches, musicals, Town Band performances and more! Her piano playing is so beautiful, people are often moved to tears - we kid you not. Come listen!
Elsie Larson plays the organ and piano at area churches when needed. If you would like to hear her, she is the regular organist at the Marshfield 8 a.m. Church service on Sundays. We are blessed to have her playing for us on the 4th Sunday of each month.
A Machias resident, Elsie was born in Minnesota where she attended public school, pursued undergraduate and graduate work in business at Bemidji State University in Minnesota. Elsie also did further post-graduate work at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. She has taught business courses at Wentworth Military Academy in Lexington, Missouri and the University of Maine here in Machias.
Elsie likes to attend live play productions, musical events and sporting events such as basketball games.
That warm voice on the other end of the phone or that welcoming soul in our office is Ken Warner. As our administrative assistant, Ken is central to our team work with day to day operations here at Centre Street. Growing up in southern Maine until work took him out of state, upon retirement Ken moved back and made Downeast Maine his new home.
Ken's previous experience includes innkeeper, restaurant and tavern owner, and working for Syracuse City School District in several positions most recently as the Director of Food and Nutrition.
In addition Ken worked with the State of New York Department of Child Nutrition in establishing a training module and curriculum for food service cooks and managers including being a master instructor for the Professional Cooking program from 1998-2008. Ken has attended continuing education at Johnson and Wales and the Culinary Institute of America.
Ken's faith journey has been more spiritual than formal, sporadically attending various Churches and denominations. After listening to Pastor Susie in an online sermon Ken decided that Centre Street Church would be a place he might enjoy. We are blessed that he found his way to us!
Ken's hobbies include photography, working with stained glass, walking the beaches, cooking (especially for large crowds), reading, and spending time with family and friends.
Melissa “Missy” Brooks can often be found helping with coffee fellowship, cleaning our church, and making it shine, as well as assisting with Sunday school. Missy loves animals and has a cat named Mookie, 2 guinea pigs (Waldo and Elmer), 3 fish and 4 other cats in her home, who rule over her and her sister. Melissa enjoys spending her time caring for her animals and others in her family, church, and the community at large. She is always ready and willing to lend anyone a hand and is deeply caring and loving (Pastor Susie says, “Heck yeah she is!!”)
Missy is learning to play the guitar, loves music and has a brain that is an encyclopedia of music (ask her almost anything from the 80s) for titles and artists. She loves walking in nature and spending time at the beach looking for sea critters and enjoying the beauty that God has given us here in Maine.
If Missy could be on the “Go” she would be running about all the time. She loves going for rides and weird adventures with her sister Sarina and others. If you say, “Do you want to….” she is ready and raring to go!
Missy is a Downeast girl born and raised and has lived in Maine for most of her life, except for a 6-year period in her younger years when she was a “city slicker” in Manchester, NH.
Missy has a deep love and abiding faith in God and shows that to everyone she meets. If you are greeted by her, be prepared for a big smile that may be accompanied by a big hug (when we can hug again).
Alan Kryszak is a man of many gifts and talents! As a professional musician, he writes and performs his own music. He is an occasional contributor to our worship and other musical offerings ~ for which we are blessed!
Alan also teaches at the University of Maine in Machias and directs documentary films as seen on Maine Public and PBS venues.
Alan says he is a "Big fan of our Pastor too. Center Street puts their money where other hungry mouths are, & that’s why they’re the real deal, in my book. And P.S. 'My book' is short, & has lots of pictures."
Locating to downeast Maine in 2014, Alan also shares a dog and a life with his beloved wife, author and journalist Joyce Kryszak.
A 3rd generation member of Centre Street and talented guest musician, Duane Ingalls was born here in Machias (indeed, he was a resident of Elm St. across the river for his first 18 years). His specialty is adapting hymns and popular songs for services to accompany the themes and topics of the sermons & other texts. Utilizing voice, guitar, banjo, ukulele, harmonica and other instruments. His presentations are a part of an interdisciplinary practice developed during a number of decades of research, teaching & performing. As Duane says, "In my observation, spiritual life and expression involve a crossing-over of disciplines and beliefs, as well as artistic genres & styles. Downeast Maine, to many of us here, is also a kind of Holy Land," adding the question, "Could ANY land be known that way, depending on our perspective?"
Ingalls has worked/played here with the Choir, the Children's Chorus, the Blueberry Musicals, as well as solo & various ensembles during the Blueberry Festival, the Bay Chamber Concerts, and for other special concerts over the years. We hope you'll catch him sometime, either performing locally or at church, where he'll help elevate your soul.