Real Church (Part Seven)

Our Conference theme for 2021 is Real Church. It only seemed appropriate to remind ourselves of what it truly means to be the church as we begin to walk through (what we hope is) post-pandemic. What we learned over the past year and more is that the church is not the building, it is not the programs, it is not the potlucks. No, the church is the living and breathing body of Christ, at work in our workplaces, our communities, and our homes. For the next few weeks we’ll be taking a closer look at some of the individual expressions of The Church within The Pacific Conference.

We asked each church to answer four simple questions. We’ll share their responses here.

Getting to Know Our Churches

Willakenzie Community Church, (Eugene, Oregon)

  1. Your Congregation’s Favorite Songs (for the moment):
    Songs of the last 5ish years: King of Kings, Graves to Gardens, Goodness of God, This is Amazing Grace, Great Are You Lord — “Older Contemporary” like God of Wonders, In Christ Alone, O Lord You’re Beautiful, This Road and still singing Hymns in the mix with upbeat versions
  2. What is a challenge you’ve faced in the local church because of the pandemic?
    A challenge we have faced with the pandemic is trying to not feel like two different churches with online and in-person attendance!
  3. What is a victory you’ve seen in the local church over the course of the pandemic?
    One victory that we’ve seen is the various partnerships that have emerged with others who have needed help or support for their projects, ministries, or community work. (For example a collaborative pantry; providing space for a local youth group; art camp)
  4. Describe something special you’re planning for the summer:
    We have been working with a Hispanic Pastor who began attending our church during the pandemic and has a passion for evangelism in the Hispanic community. There will be a Spanish-speaking worship service beginning in September to provide this important Gospel outlet in our neighborhood.

Park Place Church (Oregon City, Oregon)

  1. Your Congregation’s Favorite Songs (for the moment):
    O Praise the Name (Anastasis), He Is Faithful, All the People Said Amen, Hosanna (Praise Is Rising)
  2. What is a challenge you’ve faced in the local church because of the pandemic?
    The changes in restrictions. People being exhausted with back and forth of state rules. Connecting with shut-ins. Two long-time members of the church passed away and we could not be with them or the family or grieve their passing as a community.
  3. What is a victory you’ve seen in the local church over the course of the pandemic?I have more to celebrate than the challenges. It was in the ‘struggles’ that I saw the church come to life. Yeah, we had some problems but God did amazing things. The church focused on the community (inside and outside) and we are stronger than we have been. We opened the church to Youth for Christ and they have a ministry that is reaching neighborhood youth and 5 of them came to Jesus. Red Cross is using the church monthly for drives and a few people mentioned they didn’t know a church was here and have checked the church out. Created partnerships with county and city groups. I have personally been walking the community and have met neighbors and helped them with projects and they have helped the church in return. We have seen new families and individuals come to the church. Started a Monday night theology seminar and that drew people inside and outside the church. Our financial outlook has been strong and never once was there a fear of not having enough.
  4. Describe something special you’re planning for the summer:
    We had a community BBQ with Because People Matter (BTown Kids) as a test to see how the community would respond. We might be bringing this to the community in 2022 because of the great success. Video of a few pictures: https://vimeo.com/580851727

    With OCEC we were able to send two Park Place community youth to camp and both of those youth are active with YFC and one is in regular contact with my wife who leads a Bible Study Both students have grown in their life because of that experience and we are seeing spiritual growth in them.

The Grove (Albany, Oregon)

https://albanygrove.churchcenter.com/home

  1. Your Congregation’s Favorite Songs (for the moment):
    Good God Almighty, Jireh, Rattle, The Father’s Heart
  2. What is a challenge you’ve faced in the local church because of the pandemic?
    RE-engaging people to be active in serving
  3. What is a victory you’ve seen in the local church over the course of the pandemic?
    The purchase of our building after being portable for ten years!
  4. Describe something special you’re planning for the summer:
    Baptisms & BBQ Sunday

Before You Go

Please add these churches to your prayer list as they lovingly serve their communities! (Please continue to pray for Supt. Randy and Linda while they are on sabbatical. This week they are traveling back to the states.)

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