PCCS Focused on Urban Portland Mission
Church Plant Update
Back in March 2008, Portland City Center Sanctuary (PCCS), a recent church plant in the Oregon Conference, began meeting in homes of its founding members, but within months realized the importance of being part of their community in the ‘City Center.' Since August 2008, PCCS meets in an upper room in NW Portland's " Friendly House." Friendly House ( 2617 NW Savier St. Portland) promotes programs and services that sustain and enrich the community-a mission right in line with the vision of PCCS.
Since arriving at Friendly House, PCCS has experienced a steady influx of members, and continued interest from visitors. PCCS member, Stacey Boyd, explains, "In the last four months alone we've added another 10 new members, which for us is significant! We're also seeing visitors consistently returning, with an average of 3-6 new visitors each week. For a small congregation of about 35 this is huge. We've prayed a lot for the Lord to guide us as we fulfill our mission in Portland."
Given the significant downturn in the economy, with Oregon being severely hit, PCCS has faced a some setbacks. Just when a permanent church location had been chosen, the recession and limited funds by the conference and existing members, they've had to hold off indefinitely on signing the lease.
Stacey explains, "At first, we were very disappointed, but we've found that perhaps God was trying to slow us down for a reason. We've since noticed a strong appreciation for the Friendly House (the community center where we rent space) by individuals living in the NW Portland area. Our association with the organization proved especially positive when one recurring visitor recently told us that they were attracted to our church specifically by our location in the Friendly House. They were excited not only by our association with the community center, but also that it forces us to stay continually active and involved in the existing community there. While community involvement has always been our intention, it's great to think that just being at the Friendly House has helped to draw people to PCCS and closer to God."
While stationed at Friendly House, PCCS has decided to expand their footprint in the facility, and ministry to the community. In February, PCCS expanded to include another large room which gives them more seating in the main "sanctuary" by moving the potluck area into a separate room. It also allows them to break out into smaller Bible study groups as the need or desire arrives, and gives us ample space to grow their budding children's ministry.
PCCS Pastor Dan George commented, "Since its inception, Portland City Center Sanctuary has seen God's hand actively working in the church's ministry and in the lives of its members and visitors. We've witnessed steady growth in our attendance, and on a weekly basis we are reminded of God's amazing grace when members and visitors alike share the many ways in which God is answering their prayers. We've been blessed as a church family thus far, and continue to feel that God has led us downtown so that we might share his unconditional love with the people of Portland."
PCCS remains focused on their mission as an Urban Outpost for Christ. PCCS members continue to plan new ways to get involved with their community, and have stepped up efforts to feed the homeless in Portland.
Stacey describes their recent experience, "We've fed the homeless men and women of Portland several times, distributing lunches and clothes items. Most recently we had a group of about 15 members and visitors distribute 100 lunches along with coats, socks, pants, and gloves. During the cold weather, we learned that the clothing items most urgently desired were coats, gloves, and coats or jackets that protected them from the wind. We are still looking to increase our inventory of these items so that we can distribute more the next time we go out." Possibly starting a new tradition, PCCS complemented their Thanksgiving worship and first Communion service with an "open mic" opportunity for members. Following the music and prayer portions of the service, provided an opportunity for anyone interested to come up front and share what they were thankful for and how God is working in their lives.
Stacey explains, "People were encouraged to share a testimony, a song, a poem, their take on the 151st Psalm (there isn't one so people were encouraged to write their own and read it), or anything they felt compelled to share. While those of us who planned the service were a bit nervous that no one would participate, the participation level was actually astounding! Almost everyone (even new visitors!) felt inspired to share some tidbit of how thankful they were. It was a blessing not only to those who shared their stories, but to all those in attendance. It's a comforting balm for a discordant world when you can hear from others that no matter what life throws at you, God has bigger plans for you and your future."
Overall, PCCS members are excited about how far they've come and where they're going with the leading of the Lord. "The Lord has really led us in our mission thus far, and we believe He will continue to do so. We recently began a series of strategic planning sessions for 2009. Meanwhile, we would appreciate all the prayers and encouragement people can give," requests Stacey.
To take part in local urban mission outreach, or to let PCCS know that you are praying for them, please contact Stacey Boyd at email@example.com or 971-219-5522. For more information on Portland City Center Sanctuary, please visit: http://www.citycentersanctuary.org.