Pastor’s Note for August 8th

Elijah and the Angel by Bernardino Luini

“These are the times that try our souls;” words that were penned more than two hundred years ago by Thomas Paine, and that seem all too resonant in the days through which we are living. With the pandemic still tenaciously refusing to relinquish its grip, and our living through a summer with fires and aberrations in the weather that seem far from usual, we find ourselves in a season that tries our souls. Our reading for Sunday is part of the story of Elijah, at a time in his journey that found him worn down by life, dejected and bordering depression, edging toward what we would now see as burnout.  How God offered him sustenance to sustain his soul, and how we can stay sustained in such times is the theme of our service this Sunday. I hope you will [...]


Pastor’s Note for August 1st

Manna in the Wilderness

The Table of Our Lord We once again gather at the Table on Sunday, some actually in the sanctuary, but many more of you still participating from your homes. We rehearse the stories told and retold many times. We tell stories of manna in the wilderness and stories of meals shared by the familiar people of Israel’s centuries-long story of trust in the Holy One. We tell stories of Jesus’ meals with new acquaintances or old friends or disciples who called him Teacher. We tell stories of the meals of the new fellowships of the churches in Corinth and Ephesus and Philippi. We tell stories of the meals shared by Christians in congregations and church orders across time. All these stories are stories about how the Creator and Redeemer has chosen to enjoy fellowship with us and to encourage us [...]


Pastors Note for Sunday, July 25th

July 25th icon

Dear Church Friends, As the upheaval caused by the pandemic begins, we hope, to subside, we see in the news a host of aftershocks that continue to reverberate through the world. Researchers are concerned that some of the progress that had been made in alleviating global hunger has now been reversed, with some areas of the world facing chronic shortages of affordable food.  World Vision notes that nearly 9% of the world’s people go to bed hungry most nights.  And researchers in Oregon note that nearly ¼ of Oregon’s population now find themselves food insecure, without the assurance of sufficient reliable food for themselves and their families. It can be overwhelming to read these statistics, and to envision the scope of the need and the impacts on individual lives.  Faced with all this, people sometimes find themselves at a loss [...]


Pastor’s Note for Sunday, July 18th

Robert S. Duncanson, Owl's Head Mountain, 1864

Dear church friends, “Come away to a deserted place by yourselves, and rest awhile.”  These are Jesus’ words to the disciples, encouraging them to take up the pattern that he practiced, with involvement with people in the wider world interspersed with time to withdraw and rest, for prayer and renewal.  Being incarnate in the world as one of us, he knew what it is to be weary at times, to give of ourselves in certain seasons until there is a need to pull back and recharge. Summer may bring a chance to come away to one of the quiet places in nature, whether watching the birds on the patio, on a walk around the neighborhood, or in travels to the mountains or coast, where we can set down the usual pattern of our days, lay aside our screens, and rest [...]


FPC at work in our Neighborhood

Alder House Food Pantry

I love stories where goodness flows out like ripples in a pond, which happened recently at First Presbyterian. A year ago in July, thanks to a grant from the Capital Campaign Mission giving funds, FPC was able to adopt the Alder House building through our mission partner Lift Urban Portland (Lift UP). This adoption meant that for the year we supported monthly food boxes that are specific to the resident’s needs, provided food and nutrition education through their supper club program, and the ongoing support of the Emergency Food Closet, housed in our Julia West building. Our Mission Committee was faced with a decision on how to fund the next year’s adoption fee after the overall church budget was hit hard due to the COVID Pandemic. Hope was not lost! FPC received a generous memorial gift and the Session voted [...]


Capital Campaign Mission Giving Update: Wild Fire Relief

2020 brought not only the global COVID-19 pandemic but also devastating wildfires to the Pacific Northwest, including here in Oregon. Five churches in the Presbytery of the Cascades were deeply impacted: First Presbyterian Church of Phoenix McKenzie Valley Presbyterian Church The First Presbyterian Church of Mill City Springwater Presbyterian Church Eagle Creek Presbyterian Church The Capital Campaign Mission Giving Committee of our church (with Session approval) designated $3,000 to each church for their relief efforts. Letters of gratitude received from the churches indicate the financial gifts have helped in the following ways: Assist church members who lost their homes or suffered other losses Help stock a food pantry and support of food programs Church repairs due to smoke damage Rebuild fencing around a church building Repair a church fire escape Rehab a church parking lot All of these churches are [...]


Pastor’s Note for Sunday, July 11th

The Rainbow

As we begin to emerge from the pandemic, there is a sense that things won’t go back to the way they were, as so much has changed.  Some of the changes may be good to retain, while others will be happily cast off as we embrace a wider life again.  As the direction ahead is still taking shape and as yet a bit hazy, the Scripture reading for this Sunday offers a path through ways as yet unknown. The reading is from Ephesians 1:3-14, and gives a sense of the mystery of God’s purposes and will, the direction God has for our lives and for all of life.  The writer Coleridge called Ephesians “the divinest of human compositions,” and Scottish commentator William Barclay called it “the queen of the Epistles,” as it encapsulates our hope in Christ, and gives a [...]


Pastor’s Note for Sunday, July 4th

How are you doing, church? If you are anything like me, the heat makes you tired and grouchy.  The youth and youth leaders who have been at Camp Attitude this week have put me to shame. They are out serving kids and families with great attitudes in 90-degree heat all day. Praise God for their inspiration and example!  In the meanwhile, if you are feeling depleted and are in need of a word of hope and encouragement, I hope you’ll gather among God’s imperfect, beloved, (and occasionally grouchy) people this Sunday to be fed by God’s Word and fed at God’s table. I’ll be preaching on Mark 13 and Jesus’ command to travel light and I assure you there is a word of grace and liberation in it for us all.  Before you prepare for the July 4th festivities, please [...]


Pastor’s Note for Sunday, June 27th

Christ Raising Jairus’ Daughter

 Lamentations 3: 22-24 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, God’s mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in God.’ As we begin to emerge and re-engage as the pandemic season eases, we’re grateful for how God has brought us through all the challenges that the past year has held.  At times, we’ve been weary as so many things that seemed firmly in place have been swept away by so much change. Scripture reminds us that while there are troubles for each day, God also gives mercy and strength sufficient for each day.  We recall how the manna was given to the Israelites in the wilderness, just enough for each day.  And this seems to be echoed here; mercy [...]


Calling All Parents and Grandparents

Do you have children/grandchildren that you occasionally bring to church? Do you want to receive regular updates about events and opportunities at FPC that may be a gift to these little people you love (birth through 5th grade)? Please make sure you are on Pastor Carmen’s email list to ensure you receive information about activities and classes that may be of interest to you. There are many wonderful things in store this fall and she wants you to have the calendar for the year so you can plan accordingly. Please reach out to to get looped in! [...]


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Every Sunday at 10:30 am

First Presbyterian Church
1200 SW Alder Street
Portland, Oregon 97205

Tel: (503) 228-7331