News & Events

Pastor’s Note for December 19

Here we are, right in the middle of the “Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All” season.  I think we might widely agree that this isn’t the case in our world right now.  I’m reminded of a time when our world was a good deal more violent.  It was the beginning of the First World War, Christmas 1914.  Somehow, people on both sides of No-Man’s-Land managed to call a halt to the hostilities; at least for a little while. One website wrote: The starting of this Christmas truce was very amazing! It bubbled up from the ranks, with both armies making small gestures of goodwill in the days before Dec. 25. In France, some Germans suggested a brief, local cease-fire, even sweetening the deal with a chocolate cake. Along the Lys River, a battalion of Welsh infantrymen hoisted a banner reading [...]


Pastor’s Note for December 12

“Saint John the Baptist,” Alvise Vivarini, c. 1475

In this season when the days darken so early, it’s a joy to see the myriad Christmas lights strung on our energetic neighbors’ houses, shining in the dark, a note of hope amid all that these days are holding. Next week, on the evening of Wednesday, December 15, we will have a Blue Christmas service that is a time to remember, to grieve what has been lost in the year we’ve had, and to begin to look ahead in hope, to take comfort in the presence of Christ’s Spirit. This service will be both in-person in the sanctuary and streamed for viewing at home. This Sunday, we read the story of John the Baptist, or John the Prophet, as might better describe his work and witness. We hear of his call for us to turn and to look for light [...]


Pastor’s Note for December 5

"Sunrise on the Sea" Camille Pissarro, 1883

As December begins, we’re delighted to welcome our new Parish Associate, the Rev. Dave Dornack, who will be with us in worship this Sunday.  Dave has recently retired from Rose City Park Presbyterian, and is joining our staff, where he will be involved in pastoral care and worship, and as pastoral liaison to our Deacons.  We’re grateful for the Spirit’s call for him to join us for this next chapter of ministry! Our readings will include Luke 1:68-79, the song of Zechariah, heralding the birth of his son John, born to be the one who prepared the way for the coming Christ. This includes the beautiful passage that is often part of morning prayer: By the tender mercy of our God,    the dawn from on high will break upon us,  to give light to those who sit in darkness and in [...]


Pastor’s Note for November 28

As we enter the holiday season, expectations are high for a cozy and festive time, yet all the busyness of preparations and the overlay of the continuing pandemic season finds many feeling a bit stressed or overwhelmed, sometimes struggling to keep spirits high. Harvard Medical School has done research that shows how something that is at the heart of Thanksgiving can help us in weathering and enjoying the holidays, the very act of giving thanks. Having a practice of taking time daily to be grateful for life’s gifts, its researchers have found, “helps people feel happier, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” This year, there is much for which we can give thanks. We’re grateful for this Thanksgiving that (unlike last year’s) has allowed more chance to gather with loved ones. After a [...]


Pastor’s Note for November 21

This Sunday in worship, we will celebrate a joyous occasion in the life of our church and our regional church, the Presbytery of the Cascades, in the ordination of Alexander Wendeheart to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament.  Alexander has been a candidate for ministry under the care of our church Session, and recently passed his final ordination exams and examination at Presbytery. To understand the path that Alexander has taken, and for any who may be interested in exploring the possibility of training for Ministry of Word and Sacrament, the long and winding journey toward ordination unfolds with a number of markers along the way.  First, a person considering ministry becomes an Inquirer, and undertakes a process to discern whether they have a call for this ministry.  The call is both an inward one of the Spirit and a [...]


Ordination of Alexander Wendeheart – November 21

  First Presbyterian is delighted to host the service of ordination for Alexander Wendeheart during this Sunday’s morning worship. Alexander has been a candidate under care of our Session, and served for a season as Parish Associate at our church. He is presently serving as a hospice chaplain. Rev. Mark Frey, Vice-Moderator of the Presbytery of the Cascades will preside for the ordination. He will be joined by Rev. Paulette Mixon-Weller and Rev. Beverly Crow, and Elders Ann Walsh and Christine Macfarlane. Rev. James Moiso, Pastor Emeritus of Westminster Presbyterian, Portland, will be our guest preacher. We join in wishing Alexander God’s blessings on his ministry! [...]


Pastor’s Note for November 14

Dear friends in faith, As this fall continues to unfold with all the beauty of the turning leaves, with brilliant sunshine at times eclipsed by rain, we continue to live into this season that holds glimmers of the pandemic beginning to lift, while still not yielding to a return to the more usual patterns of life that we miss. With some in our congregation having returned to worship in person, but many not yet able to attend, we are again planning this year for our Annual Meeting this coming Sunday, November 14, to be by Zoom.  In this video-conferencing format, we will meet together online to hear an update on the church’s life and work, and to vote on the usual items for an annual meeting:  to elect Deacons, Elders, Trustees, and members of the CNC (Congregational Nominating Committee), and to [...]


Pastor’s Note for November 7

Dear Friends, As we’ve turned the page somehow to November, this Sunday we mark the end of daylight savings time and fall back an hour, perhaps having to hunt in the car for the owner’s manual for the seven easy steps to resetting the clock (or perhaps the clock will now be correct again, with our not having managed to re-set it last time!) This Sunday is also when we celebrate All Saints Sunday, a day when we remember those who have gone before us in faith, those dear to us whom we have lost, whose life and love we remember.  We will sing the glorious Vaughan Williams hymn “For All the Saints,” and take heart in remembering their witness. The following week on November 14, we will have our Annual Meeting, again this year by the online video-conferencing platform [...]


Pastor’s Note for October 31

This week we will be observing Reformation Sunday, an important but often overlook day in the life of the church. On October 31, 1517, the small-town monk, Martin Luther, marched up to the Castle Church in Wittenberg and nailed his Ninety-five Theses to the door, thus lighting the flame of the Reformation that molded and gave legitimacy to the Protestant movement. The act of posting this document was Luther naming what was going wrong in the church. The act of naming those things in our lives, our society, and our church that are wrong is hard, and uncomfortable, but throughout history, it is the work that followers of Christ have been called to. It is life-changing work. We remember the words of Jesus from the Gospel of John, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you [...]


Pastor’s Note for October 24

How do we keep our spirits up in this continuing season when we all wish so much that things were back to some semblance of normalcy, even as the darker days of the fall rains are upon us?  This week, there was some of the first good news we’ve had in a while, that OHSU is predicting that between people who have had the virus and the continuing vaccinations, Oregon should reach a level of about 85% of people having antibodies to the virus by late December.  This is a level that they say will bring some of the gifts of near herd immunity, making it harder for the virus to spread, and lowering numbers of infections and hospitalizations. What a relief and joy this would be, after such a long season! In our Scripture reading for Sunday, we have [...]


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