A decade later, she’s doing that work in Lewiston.
Baker-Streevy — now the Rev. Annie Baker-Streevy — is the new pastor at the Calvary United Methodist Church. Emphasis on new. It’s her first assignment, her first church as pastor.
It’s the fulfillment of a dream.
And she’s raring to go.
Town: Lewiston (originally from Worcester, Mass.)
Married/single/relationship: Newly married as of May 29!
What made you decide to become a pastor? I grew up in the United Methodist Church in Worcester, Mass., where my family was very involved. I loved helping people, listening to people and being part of a community. Although we went to church almost every Sunday, I don’t think I really understood what it meant that Jesus loved me until one summer when I was camping with my family and felt a call from God.
What was that call like? It always sounds weird to me when I explain it, but that’s probably because God tends to be weird (in a good way)! I was 14 years old and camping with my family like we do every summer. Since I was bored, I decided to read a book and that book had a prayer in it. I cannot remember exactly what it said, but I remember praying it and all of a sudden this really warm feeling came over me. You know when you hear a really good piece of music or see a sunset that is breathtaking and you get the chills? It was kind of like that. I remember thinking and feeling how much God really did love me and I knew in that moment that there was nothing else I was meant to do but help other people feel God’s love. I knew I was meant to be a pastor.
Growing up, did you want to be anything else? I probably changed my mind about what I wanted to be every five seconds. I remember when I was little that I wanted to be a firefighter, but our dog was black and I needed a Dalmatian. Years later we actually got a Dalmatian, but I didn’t want to be a firefighter anymore. In elementary school I wanted to be a marine biologist, but when I fainted while dissecting a frog I knew that was out. In middle school I wanted to be an environmental engineer, but once I felt that call to ministry, I never changed my mind again.
As a child, what did you think pastors did? Talked about God a lot. As a child I only really saw my pastor preach on Sundays. Little did I know they did so much more!
What did you find out? My perspective of what a pastor does definitely broadened as I grew up, and even (now) when I think I know what pastors do, there is so much more I learn about being a pastor every day! Not only do I preach each Sunday, lead Bible study or celebrate Holy Communion, but I also go to a ton of meetings, sit with people in the hospital, drink a lot of coffee, serve meals, read the newspaper, read budgets, fix broken things . . . I could go on and on!
What was it like walking into Calvary for the first time? It was scary and exciting all at the same time! I realized that this was my dream coming true. After experiencing my call 10 years ago, it was actually happening!
What do you hope to do at Calvary? The church is really about the people and how their stories tie in with God’s story as well as each other’s stories. I hope to help guide the church to figure out, with God’s help, what the next part of their story is and how they can be a positive impact on and with the community of Lewiston.
You’re young and this is your first church — is that a hindrance or a help? It is definitely both! I know that I am young and that I have a lot to learn, but I also have so much energy and passion for the church, the world and God! While I may be young, I am confident that God called me, a young person, to help lead the church. God didn’t say: “Wait until you’re older.” I have to remind myself of that sometimes and know that even when it gets hard, I do have the gifts of a pastor and I am a good leader.
You met your husband at seminary. Does he also plan to become a pastor? I did! He is such a wonderful, loving, goofball! At this point, my husband does plan to become a pastor. He is currently appointed as a lay pastor at Bolsters Mills UMC in Harrison and is working on transferring his paperwork from Michigan (where he is from) to New England.
How will that work with his church assignment, since you’ve been appointed here? One of the reasons we both decided to pursue ministry in the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church was because the bishop and the district superintendents do their best to consider clergy couples and appoint them within a reasonable distance from each other. As appointments change, we will both make sure to express that we do not want to be appointed more than an hour away from each other.
What’s been the most challenging part about being a new pastor? There are two things that come to mind. The first is that there is so much information I need to know or am expected to know that I just do not know yet because I am so new! I have to remind myself to be patient and that everything does not have to get done right now. The second thing is that it can be lonely. Although I am around people all the time who are wonderful and friendly, they are not my close friends. Luckily I have my husband with me, who really is my best friend, but I do miss my very close friends from seminary who all live in the Midwest. Thank goodness for Meetup and Google Hangout!
What’s been the best part? The best part is that I get to meet amazing people, hear their life stories and in some way be part of those stories. I get to see God’s transformative love in some way every day, whether it is through a conversation at one of our free City Mission Meals, crocheting prayer shawls with some of the women in our church or during a song in worship sung by our wonderful choir. This congregation is so full of life and it is great to experience a loving community like Calvary UMC.