Spring is in full swing here in northeast Portland (if you’ll forgive the rhyme). The month of March flew by as we hosted a team of college students from North Carolina, our Roseway community group helped out Scott School with a community movie night, and our whole church began our journey toward celebrating Christ’s resurrection through this season of Lent. In the first week of April, our North Tabor community group got to help out an agency working with our city’s foster care system. This season is packed with evidences of God’s presence and grace.
Over the week of their spring break, seven college students from NC State University came to our city for the twin purposes of serving alongside our church and learning what it means to live on mission in a more dense, post-Christian environment than the one where they currently reside. In tangible ways, they blessed our community by putting love on display at Scott School. They took some time to read, one-on-one, with students in English and Spanish classes. They joined in playground games and helped each kid feel important and included. Beyond this, they helped set up and tear down for our worship gathering on Sunday, and they took each opportunity to serve in stride, with willingness, openness, and humility.
The other component of their trip was to take some time to learn about what it means to live here in Portland, what it means to get a new church started, and to learn how better to hear and sense the Spirit of God in everyday life. Practically, that meat taking time to process and evaluate the day’s happenings out loud, taking a city tour of Portland with our friend (and church planting coach) Wes Hughes. It meant taking a day off to rest, re-create, and explore Oregon from the Columbia River Gorge to the majesty of Cape Kiwanda’s seashore. Every car ride was packed with conversations about how to live with Jesus as our king in a world that runs against the grain of that story. Every day was packed with its own highs and lows, but our KALEO family was so, so blessed by these young women and men.
In addition to the work the Providence team undertook at Scott School, we also got to set up our projector and sound system to support the PTA’s community movie night. It was such a blast to see that gym-a-torium packed out with a crowd representing our beautiful and diverse neighborhood, all sharing snacks and watching The Princess and The Frog together. It may not seem like a big deal to host a movie night at our local elementary school, but that moment was another tableau telling the story of God’s goodness in sustaining our church through years of trying to engage and be involved with Scott School. We love that place and those people, and we thank God for each opportunity that comes around for us to put our proverbial money where our proverbial mouth is when we say something like that.
Our North Tabor community group got to serve in a similar way by cleaning and organizing one of our community’s Department of Human Services offices. This space features a clothes closet for kids and adults and several safe space rooms for kids in foster care to get to visit with their parents. Our people organized a pile of clothes that was ten feet tall (literally!), and cleaned and sanitized the visiting rooms—all in one evening’s work. That community group has been praying and looking for opportunities to join in helping folks in our area, so it was really great for them to get to forge a new partnership that we hope to build long into the future.
Finally, our church has settled in to a new rhythm of gathering for worship together every Sunday of the month, except for the first week which we take as an intentional sabbath rest. This weekly gathering affords us the chance to share needs and pray for each other, to hear the Bible read and taught, to worship through singing and confessing, and to be united in sharing the bread and cup of the Lord’s table with a sense of pace and regularity. In this season of preparation to remember and celebrate Easter, we’ve been journeying with Jesus through the gospel book of Luke, where we find Jesus to be the savior we really need and the king who really deserves our lives’ allegiance.
As you consider all this news from KALEO, may your heart be stirred to listen to God’s Spirit where you are right now, and may you experience the joy that comes from living as a part of the family gathered together by grace through faith in Jesus. There are lots of opportunities to pray for and to help us out here in Portland, so don’t hesitate to reach out.