I'm excited to share with everyone the good news that there is a new community of faith in the Portland metro area, in which our motto is simple, "Following Jesus, Embracing All!" Our community of faith picks up the ancient call to be people of "the Way" (Acts 9:2), following Jesus daily, who calls himself the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). The very practice and the metaphorical understanding of the word "pilgrimage" is core to who we are as a community of faith that is on the move, on a journey, towards God. This is central to who we are, and how we understand our calling in life as Christians. It was the late Brother Roger of the Taize community in France who called Jesus, the Pilgrim God, as Jesus himself was on a pilgrimage throughout his lifetime, from birth to death on the cross, and beyond. Today, we feel, hear, and see the many ways that God in Christ continues to invite us to follow, serve, and love each other, stranger and friends alike, caring for the earth, as we follow Jesus, the Pilgrim God.
Often times, when people hear or read the word "church", they automatically think, "Worship," with small communities and groups springing from worship. In Community of Pilgrims, our first priority is creating an intentional Christian community, with healthy, healing relationships, in which service, fellowship, education, and worship emerge in balanced symmetry with one another, all part and parcel of who and whose we are. In other words, we are intentionally creating a community of faith, in which service, education, and worship springs out of our time together. Central to who we are as this community of faithful pilgrims is this three-fold mandate: the serve others, worship and prayer, and study of Scripture as we follow Christ on the road of life. First, in terms of service, we serve the young people who gather at Portland's Outside In, a homeless shelter for young people between the ages of 17-24, many of whom are LGBTQI; work at Neighborhood House in SW Portland; and gather Christmas gifts for people at Outside In and Stephen's Creek Crossing Apartment, an apartment complex for people on subsidized wages, and work with with Human Solutions in feeding those who are hungry and homeless, to name a few of our commitments of service. Second, in terms of worship and prayer, we gather at 4 pm-6 pm on Sundays, checking with one another and participating in a community-building activity. Then we share stories from our volunteer service work we have been doing in the name of God during the week. Some are working on eco-justice issues, others tend to the needs of homeless LGBTQ young people, while others write letters to government representatives, and still others knit prayer shawls. Third, it is during our worship that we enter a time of studying Scripture with a short homily, with a question-answer period in the middle of the homily, as we explore what the Spirit of God is saying to the faithful today. Prayers for one another, the community, and the world follows our reading of God's word together. Worship continues with our celebrating Holy Communion together, breaking bread and sharing the cup, remembering the life and living into the hope of being called followers of Jesus Christ. We conclude our time with a fabulous potluck meal together, a charge to all of us, and a blessing as we go back out into the world, serving and love others, as Christ first served and loved us, on the pilgrimage of life.
We welcome all, including LGBQI and straight people; those who are cisgender and transgender; people with disabilities and those who do not identify as one with a disability; women and men; all races, nationalities, and ethnicities; people from various faith backgrounds; people from all socioeconomic backgrounds, ages, and educational opportunities; travelers near and far; those from the hearing community and those from the deaf community. An ASL interpreter is with us each Sunday as we learn to communicate using American Sign Language. If you are seeking a church home or new worshiping community of faith in Portland, come and join me, Brett Webb-Mitchell, and Chris Dungan, both Teaching Elders in the PCUSA, in the Chapel at Rose City Park Presbyterian Church, NE 45th Ave & NE Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR 97213 (Physical address: 1907 NE 45th Ave., Portland, OR, 97213; mailing address 2000 NE 42nd Ave., #261, Portland, OR 97213). We meet from 4-6:00 pm. Follow the signs to the Chapel. Please come! And bring a friend or two or three. Feel free to contact me, the Rev. Dr. Brett Webb-Mitchell, a.k.a., Brett, firstname.lastname@example.org, if you have any questions.
For our potluck, feel free to bring yourself, as your company is truly welcomed Or bring something to snack, a salad, a main dish, or a dessert. It is said that "food is community," and we look forward to sharing a meal with you.
The Rev. Chris Dungan, Kathy Fukuyama (our Potluck Coordinator), and I look forward to welcoming you on Sunday afternoons for this fantastic opportunity to see that God is doing a new thing in Portland, OR on our pilgrimage of life!
Blessings! And see you Sunday, and on the pilgrimage of life! Buen Camino, Pastor Brett