Methodists and Lutherans Work Together in Hood River County


A partnership of necessity has become a focus of ministry for the United Methodist and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America congregations in Hood River, Oregon. Responding to shrinking congregations and the expenses of leadership, the congregations of Asbury United Methodist and Our Redeemer Lutheran churches began meeting together in March of 2011, rotating between the two church buildings. Rev. Andrew Wendle, who has served the Our Redeemer congregation since 2004, was appointed to the Asbury congregation in June of 2011. They now consider themselves one worshiping body, and agreed to a Joint Ministry Partnership to be joint stewards of ministry resources, people resources, and financial resources.

When members of both the Methodist and Lutheran congregations participated in the Oregon-Idaho conference’s Congregational Leadership Development classes, it led leaders of the Methodist congregation to look at the stewardship of maintaining a 100-year-old building for part-time use and see that was not where they were called by God. That realization has led to the sale of the building to a local businessman, and a renewed focus on partnership in ministry and reaching out to the community of Hood River County. The church will keep the proceeds of the sale for future capital projects. “While at times tearful, the vote was peaceful, forward thinking and courageous;” said Wendle, “this moves us forward to where God is calling.”

Dating back to the 1880’s, Asbury has a history of courage, including supporting Japanese-Americans who were persecuted and interned during World War II. Today that courage turns to working in partnership to plan and create an over 6,500 sq. ft. food bank warehouse and distribution center. Located on the Lutheran property, the center will serve the needs of the county. According to Wendle, “We look forward to demonstrating our commitment to the community with this project.”

A Decommissioning service will be held for the building on Sunday, March 24 at 3 p.m. The building is located at 616 State Street in Hood River.