Adamah to offer spiritual community, housing in Portland


A new spiritual community for young adults – along with some much-need affordable housing – is currently under construction in Portland.
House Adamah is set to open later this summer, offering housing for five individuals looking for intentional Christian community, in what was once the parsonage for Lincoln Street United Methodist Church.

Adam Jenkins, a leader at Gresham United Methodist Church, has been working with the Missional Wisdom Foundation and Lincoln Street UMC to get this project off the ground.

The idea came from the Jewish Moishe House movement, which now provides housing and ministry for 60,000 young Jewish people in communities across the country. It’s a simple concept that started by providing a shabbat meal for young Jewish people – too old for college ministry and too young to feel connected to a local synagogue – to gather, eat, converse and practice their spirituality.

Adamah is a Hebrew word which means “of the earth” or “human kind.”

Jenkins learned about Moishe houses from his partner, who is Jewish. But the idea of starting something didn’t happen until after Jenkins and other spiritual friends got into conversation at a beer festival about the struggle to find a non-traditional, like-minded Christian gathering community.

 “I thought, ‘We need a Methodist Moishe house,’” Jenkins said.

This spring he started working with Rev. Eric Conklin from the Missional Wisdom Foundation to locate a church property where they could start making this dream a reality.

It turned out Lincoln Street UMC had an old parsonage, not being used by the local pastor, that was being used as a rental. But Jenkins and Conklin said the church was interested in having a stronger connection to the people renting from them.

To Jenkins delighted surprise, the church readily got on board with this concept and provided funds, along with the Columbia District extension society, to get to work renovating the property.

House Adamah – a house of human kind – will offer five bedrooms for rent, with shared living space, below market rate rent. Renters interested in spiritual gathering are preferred, but certainly not required, Conklin said.

“My hope is once these people meet each other it will cement (the ministry),” he said.

Conklin said for years the Missional Wisdom Foundation has been doing intentional community development work around the idea of alternative forms of Christian ministry. He said there’s a DNA in Portland for people who are interested in something like House Adamah, where he’ll serve as a spiritual mentor to the group of residents as they develop their own ministry.

Jenkins also received a $5,000 Congregational Development Team grant which will help residents of House Adamah grow their own ministries by providing funds for projects like going on hikes, volunteering opportunities, meals served and other projects.

“These are hospitality-centered events focused on creating community,” Jenkins said.

Work is still being done on renovating the parsonage and a few people have applied to live in the space, where rooms will rent for $500 per month plus utilities. Jenkins said the goal is to have residents in place by the beginning of September, with a couple of events in the works and the hopes of creating at least three to four events each month from then on.

House Adamah is in the process of raising more funds to support this new ministry. Jenkins said if people wish to make contributions, they can do that through Lincoln Street UMC and somehow noting that the money is going to "House Adamah."