Thank you to all the volunteers that helped make this event a success!!
We had a great time Sunday evening learning about homelessness in Portland and affordable housing solutions. Jes Larson of the Welcome Home Coalition presented. The Alan Jones Trio provided music. Thanks to the Justice Committee for organizing it all. More to come.
PMC youth helped bag corn at the Oregon Food Bank on June 6.
When families move from shelter to housing, they are so excited, yet often have nothing to furnish their new place. I recently heard of a story of mother and her two elementary age boys who slept on the floor of their new apartment for several weeks until they were able to purchase mattresses.
This Advent Giving drive is for the newly housed family PMC will be partnered with via Village Support Network (a program of New City Initiative).
Hanging on the Christmas tree are tags with household items. There are small items like bath towels, larger items like a kitchen table and everything in between. Gently used items can be donated as well.
The Advent Giving Drive is now through December 28. If you would like to hear more about how you can help families in need, please feel free to contact me.
Advent Giving is organized by the Community Outreach Core Ministry Team
'How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all day long?' - Psalm 13.2
How long do we have to hear 'special reports' and 'news bulletins' on another shooting? This morning it was a shooting at Reynolds High in Troutdale, last week it was at Seattle Pacific University, before that it was in Las Vegas, and before that it was at UC Santa Barbara, and before that it was Newtown and Clackamas and Aurora and Virginia Tech and Columbine. How long? How long does this madness go on?
The reason public policy doesn't change is because of powerful forces who believe that 'the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is good guy with a gun.' And what we've ended up with is a country and a culture awash in guns. There are so many privately-owned guns that there are more than enough for every adult in the US to have one. And guns are the only consumer product exempt from any federal safety standards. Paint-ball guns have to meet safety standards, but not domestically produced firearms. The result is that in every other western industrialized country the number of gun deaths each year doesn't exceed 250. In the US (granted, a bigger country than most), the number of deaths by gun violence averages 30,000 per year. How long?
I do not believe that violence stops violence. It only accelerates the descending spiral of loss and fear and more violence. Instead, I believe in Jesus who refused to respond to hatred and fear and violence with more violence. He taught us to love the ones who hurt us and pray for the ones who want to. He taught us that hatred can't overcome hatred, only love can.
So pray for peace. Pray for the victims and the families and friends, for the students and teachers at Reynolds High School. And pray for the shooter and his family. And for the police and the medical professionals and the counselors and therapists.
And act for peace. Our political system is maddeningly inert; it isn't clear how we can effect change. But we are still called to bear witness to the way of Christ. The Washington Office of Mennonite Central Committee has resources to help end gun violence. And to help us think 'christianly' about the issue, here's a (link) to a sermon I preached in 2013.
Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
WHERE? / OREGON PUBLIC HOUSE
700 NE Dekum Street, Portland
WHEN? / March 4, 2014 (noon -10pm)
The Oregon Public House is located a few blocks from Woodlawn United Methodist Church on Dekum Street N.E. in an historic building. A congregation meets upstairs in an 1890's era room called the Village Ballroom that they've beautifully restored. Downstairs the congregation transformed the rooms into a philanthro public house through their own labor. It was the first in the nation. All net profits from the people eating there go to selected nonprofits. Many in their congregation do the waiting on tables, clean up, etc.
They have invited the Backpack program to have a benefit night at the Public House on Tuesday, March 4th. You can stop by anytime from noon to 10:00 pm and the backpack program will benefit!
The public house is a family friendly place. They even have a small play area for kids. The pub serves a considerable variety in good food and drinks.
We need runners, walkers, pasta feed volunteers and organizers for this year's Portland Marathon. If you even have a slight tickle of interest in helping out, please let me know!
Some runners are asking when they can register. Some are still on the fence. Wherever you are, I sincerely hope to have you on this year's team--make it an annual mission! We have yet to receive the codes from the Portland Marathon, as soon as we do we can start signing runners up, okay?
Jeff Galloway in his book "Marathon, You Can Do It" writes that the most enjoyable marathon he ever ran was a 5 hr 10 minute one with his dad. This coming from an elite marathoner. Could it be? A month ago, I signed up for a 10k because I knew the shirt would be cool. But a high hamstring injury that is still healing has me barely running. I still decided to participate in the 5k and felt like I was barely moving. Guess what-- I had a blast! All this to say, you don't have to be in tip top shape to participate with the NOE team. It's okay to sacrifice a good time to have a great time :-)
"I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free!" Ps. 119:32