Portland FUMC celebrates semi-demi-septcentennial anniversary


Story by Drew Hogan
Photos by Mary Beth Howard

With 175 years of ministry under its belt, Portland First UMC is looking forward to its future ministry, but not without looking back a little bit.
The church celebrated its 175th anniversary with worship, art and a pancake breakfast on Sept. 10 at its site tucked in the corner of the Goose Hollow neighborhood of Portland.
With preaching from Bishop Cedrick D. Bridgeforth, the church honored the work it is doing to go the M.I.L.E. (Bridgeforth’s call to action for The Oregon-Idaho Conference) by thinking of what new things it will do to create ministry that matters.
“You have to expect great things in order to experience great things… So, what will you expect?” Bridgeforth said. “What can we expect from you? What can we expect with you? What can your community expect with you?”
PDX FUMC’s current pastors, Rev. Karyn Richards-Kuan, Ethan Gregory and Lowell Greathouse helped lead the service along with former pastors such as Wendy Woodworth, Arvin Luchs, Donna Pritchard, Jeremy Smith and Kate Connolly.
In words, song and litany the church honored the saints who established the ever-changing Portland First UMC in 1848 and continue to steward it today. Gregory wrote a closing litany that said, in part:
“O for a thousand tongues to sing of this day, a day 175 years in the making, a day Wesley and Wilbur could only dream, a day we can taste, touch, and see. This place, these people, this community is called First United Methodist Church of Portland. It has moved, and grown, and changed with the seasons and with the city. And, beholding all that has come before, today, we give God thanks for this place.”
The church also blessed backpacks for kids returning to school, hosted a ministry fair, and a 175th anniversary pop-up art gallery in its Fireside Room. A pancake meal was hosted by the Land and Housing Circle, along with the youth, as the church explores its role in addressing the community need for affordable housing.
As Portland FUMC celebrates 175 years, the Conference is also eager to hear about other milestone anniversaries – 100 years or more – being planned by churches in Oregon and southern Idaho.