Missed the driving tour during our last ministry gathering? No worries! The notes for this meeting are detailed below.
Ministry Gathering 9.17.15
North Portland Driving Tour and Observations
This meeting presented a unique and different objective than meetings in the past. The objective was to do a driving tour of North Portland making observations based on, but not limited to, the following questions:
- Where we see life
- Where we see death and decay
- Where the kingdom of God is active
- Any strongholds
We broke up into three groups with the following neighborhoods/routes targeted:
- Kenton and New Columbia
- Cathedral Park, University Park, Mocks crest, and St Johns
- Lombard from Fessenden to I-5
After our driving tours we regrouped and shared our findings. The biggest observation that seemed to be universally observed across all of North Portland was related to the issue of gentrification. Observations included things being torn down in order to build new things, high rents, homelessness, and the close proximity between what is dying and the new life that is being born and moved into the neighborhood. North Portland continues to be in transition with socio economic changes happening. This of course is driving up rent and property value which then affects the businesses and who is moving in and out of the area. The question continues to be: “What is the churches response to this?”
Josh Duncan, Elder at The Red Sea, reminded us that as the church we are called to the marginalized, but we are also called to reach the changing culture around us. There was a sense that we need to both offer support, encouragement, and help to the population being pushed out as well as embrace and welcome the population moving in. There is great tension.
One of the other keen observations that were made was a deep desire for community. This was based on the amount of community gardens spotted, the food carts on N. Lombard, and the amount of coffee shops and people meeting there.
There was also talk about how it has been reported that this year there have been more shootings in North Portland than any other year since the mid 90s. It was also shared that there are more suicides off the St John’s Bridge than are made public as well. It is evident there are still struggles and strongholds in our community. Great things are happening, but there is still much despair and depravity as well.
Prayer and fasting also needs to continue to be on the forefront of our minds and our practices as leaders. Carren Woods shared that she would still like to see a guided conversation about what God has told us through our prayer and fasting and how we are going to move forward. It was noted that the next Ministry Gathering (10.1.15) would focus on this topic. Carren agreed to help facilitate this gathering.
Finally, Josh Hawk shared that we would do some community mapping and would have a few people share about community mapping at our Ministry Gathering in the middle of October (10.15.15). Our findings and observations would be used to help us in this mapping exercise.