It is an unusually warm evening in Portland with nothing blocking the hot rays of the setting sun as it baths the football stadium at Jefferson High School. As I took out a handkerchief and wiped the beads of perspiration from my forehead, I felt a gust of refreshing fresh wind as it cooled my face. Yes, there is a fresh wind blowing in Portland.
This was Sunday evening, July 29 at the Freshwind Community Fellowship Service on the football field at Jefferson High School. As I sat and observed the masses of people, I estimated, at the very least, a minimum of two dozen pastors whom I recognized, and that was not counting those I did not recognize. There was an estimated 1000-plus people from various churches and congregations of various ethnicities represented in the stands. As I sat there observing this wonderful sight and becoming keenly sensitive to what I was experiencing, my heart was very much warmed; by the sun, yes, but more so by the Son. For one who has dedicated and been involved as an activist for community engagement all of his life, this Freshwind Community Service certainly brought joy to my heart and soul.
| "WE WILL SPEAK OUT" A workshop on the faith community's response to domestic, sexual and gender-based violence. |
The presentation will feature Rick Santos —President & CEO of IMA World Health, on IMA's work to address violence against women in Africa. Panel discussion with local domestic and sexual violence experts:
• Clifford O. Chappell, Pastor, St. John All Nations
Church of God in Christ
• Ron Clark, Minister, Agape Church of Christ
• Irene Konev, Community Outreach Coordinator,
Independent Police Review Division, City of Portland
• Stacey Womack, Executive Director, Abuse Recovery
Ministry and Services
Find out about resources for the Portland metro area
The workshop is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Sept. 14 at Augustana Lutheran Church, 2710 NE 14th Ave., Portland, Oregon
Continental breakfast provided Free event. Please register at www.emoregon.org or call Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon at 503- 221-1054.
As I listened to the joint choir sing "Grateful, grateful, grateful," yes that is what I was feeling: "grateful" to be a part of this wonderful experience. One of the pastors on stage mentioned that, "as one who has been raised in Portland, this event is historic." Yes it is historic because to have so many churches represented in one place in a fellowship service like this is something that does not happen in Portland, at least until now.
Yes there is a fresh wind blowing in Portland and if the crime, violence and other problems that exist in our communities are to be addressed in Portland, it is imperative that the church come off the sidelines of criticism, divisiveness, disunity and complacency to be the Body of Christ. And, yes, get involved in the inner-workings of our community by work in collaboration with the many other agencies and organizations which are doing all they can to make Portland the livable city that God has ordained it to be.
On this Sunday, as I sat in observation, I experienced a natural fresh wind blowing, but also a fresh wind of the Spirit, and my prayer joins the many others who are praying that the fresh wind keeps on blowing in Portland.
The Freshwind Community Service was born out of the Eleven-45 network to address the violence, especially the gang violence in Portland. Eleven-45 is a four-pronged approach, where volunteers commit to serving in one of four areas (THERE, SHARE, CARE or PRAYER) for one year, once a week, for 45 minutes. 11:45 has been in action for over one year and wishes to thank everyone involved for their commitment and the difference that each one has made in curbing the violence and bringing a sense of togetherness back into our community. The fresh wind services are a quarterly celebration where the community comes together for encouragement and celebration. Yes, there is a Fresh-Wind blowing in Portland.
Join Pastor Chappell at the Love District Meeting, 7 p.m. Sept. 18-21 at St. Johns All Nations Church Of God In Christ,
9486 N. Buchanan Ave., Portland, OR 97203
Pastor Cliff Chappell M.Div. is the director of "Man-Up" relationship program, co-director of L.E.A.P. of Faith and an advisory council member for "New Wine New Wineskins."