I am open today from 11 am to 1 pm. Generally a team of two, alternating weeks, staff me. People come in the side door past the big staircase in the wedding garden where they are greeted and recorded. Depending on their family size, they shop for food to meet about 3-4 days’ need. Today, about ten to twelve families will come and shop my shelves and the one average-sized refrigerator that fits into my small room.
At about 11:30 the shoppers return from Birch Community Services – whose mission statement is “to provide a community where people can be responsible and accountable for their needs and to equip them with tools to overcome financial difficulty”. They get between 600 and 900 pounds of food to stock the shelves with – bulk rice, frozen vegetables, strangely-flavored chips and soda. Occasionally they get lucky and find some meat or some canned goods. Some shoppers have houses and apartments to cook in and some do not, so volunteers who go to Birch try to balance the foods they are offered with what different sorts of shoppers can use. Occasionally there are other things in storage to be pulled out, so the people stocking the shelves look for other gaps on the shelves to fill.
Every once in a while bulk foods need to be broken down, be it boxes of hamburger patties or bags of cous cous. This usually happens on an off day, where a volunteer will break things down and then come down and stock the shelves.
A different team from Sunday opens up the pantry at two. As on Sundays, they check the donation bin at the church entrance to see if anything needs transferred onto my shelves downstairs. They will usually have six to eight shoppers to greet and record, with a new person or two to get registered on a short sheet. These volunteers are responsible for making sure that everyone is getting a fair amount of food according to their family size, for keeping the room uncluttered, and for making people feel invited and warm. The pantry is closed up again at 4 pm.
Most weeks, the occasional person will walk in and ask for help with groceries. Even though the pantry is not open, someone from the office will walk them downstairs and help them get set up with a registration card and a few days worth of food. Sometimes they have another need to be filled, such as energy assistance or clothing. The office takes in these requests and follow up with the guest shopper.
Volunteers go to a nearby bread company and get roughly fifty bread items, then come in and stock my shelves for the next week’s worth of shoppers. The bread contribution is a huge blessing that provides a staple item for families in our church and local community.
Our food pantry is small and discreet; many people might not even realize that we have one. However, to our friends who shop regularly, it is a big help to stretch the budget a little farther. Some people have other methods of grocery assistance and some do not. We believe that our pantry is for the good of our community in any form that takes, and we try to put as few stipulations on our shoppers as possible. We recognize that it is a huge act of love that helps to make earth look a little more like heaven. We also reach out to people not already part of our church family – maybe this will be the thing that makes a difference.
This year it was also an avenue for the distribution of our Thanksgiving baskets. It was an opportunity for Troutdale Elementary families to recognize that they have yet another resource – and another friend – at Harvest Christian Church. I was overwhelmed by the support that we received for that ministry drive. It was a big relief to families and a great way for our pantry to show even more love. Thank you thank you thank you for taking part.
If you decide you want to help support our pantry, there are several ways to do it:
- Occasional Opportunities: breaking down bulk items, scooping ice cream at the January 14 chili cook-off, cleaning, stocking items,
- Regular Opportunities: become a weekly volunteer: We are currently in need of an additional Sunday volunteer who can work fairly reliably every other week from 11 am until 1 pm. We are also currently in need of two people who are regularly available on Mondays from 10 am to 12:30 pm.
- We can always use the following items:
- Peanut butter
- Canned meat
- Canned veggies
- Canned fruit
- Canned soups
- Excess garden produce
- We also do pay a fee to shop at BCS, so financial giving does have a place. Any money given should be designated to the “Care Team” fund.
- We can always use the following items:
- If your workplace, school, or community group wants a service project, we would love to have you come up with ways to stock our shelves. Recently, a group of nursing home employees had a contest to see who could bring in the most non-perishable items. Our pantry hugely benefited from this drive.
- Again, financial contributions are incredibly helpful as well.
- Spread the Word
- If you know someone in the area who needs extra help: let them know that we are here to support them.
- If you know someone with extra resources: remind them that we are a willing recipient of anything that can be easily passed out of our pantry (mostly food, occasionally clothing and hygiene items)
Interested in helping in the Food Pantry? Contact Faith Fox at email@example.com. We could not do this without our faithful volunteers!
It’s been an interesting week around here. The parking lot is full of Red Cross vehicles and the cars and RVs of the evacuees. The gym is full of cots and tables and stocks of food and essentials. We became the official East Corbett Evacuee church as of Tuesday. It’s really a privilege for our building to be used as such.
Here is an interesting one: yesterday we were ready to continue work on the retaining wall (You may have noticed the construction equipment the last 4 months in the parking lot) I went out to start the church dump truck… I looked around, scratched my head, and stood where I a parked it the night before, and it was Gone! Really. . . Can you believe someone stole God’s dump truck! It was old and tired but it still worked great. We were counting on the 10 or 12 thousand it would sell for at the end of the project to pay for our gym completion. Its not like the Philistines stealing the ark of the covenant in 1 Samuel, but if you remember the story, such terrible bad things happened to them that they couldn’t wait to give it back! That is what I am praying, . . (I hope that doesn’t sound vengeful . . .of course if they do bring it back I truly hope they will find the peace of God.)
I am finally over the jet lag from being in Africa the month of August. What a great experience that was. Here are a few pictures. Kathy is so great with her medical visit to each village. Small wounds, burns, malaria, infections, worms in the kids scalps and parasites in their bodies, eye medicine and antibiotics are the main recurring symptoms and treatments.
Here is a great picture of most of the 19 church Pastors. The last Sunday we were there we had a Gathering of the closest churches. Harvest bought a bull and some goats, rice, corn, and crackers for a feast that fed 600 of your brothers and sisters in Christ. Pray for them in their hard times of famine. For most of them, this was the first big meal they had had in weeks.
I’m looking forward to bringing the next message on Sunday in our “I AM” series. “I am the Light of the World” Invite a neighbor and we’ll see you Sunday! And if you see an old green dump truck being driven by a guy who looks like he is having a terrible day, give me a call. We really need it back!
For as long as I can remember, going to camp has always been the highlight of my year. To me, life was divided into two seasons: camp and not camp. Each year I would wait and wait for camp to arrive, and it was always the most amazing week. I made friends with kids from all over the Pacific Northwest – friends that I am still in contact with as an adult – my camp friends. During camp, I wouldn’t get homesick, but I definitely got campsick when it was time to be back at home.
Some of the most formative moments in my life happened while I was at camp Wi-ne-ma. There are so many different directions that my life could have taken. Camp had a profound impact on my life. I met my best friend at camp when I was fourteen years old. I met my husband at camp when I was fifteen years old. I was sixteen years old (and at camp) when I decided to go to bible college and pursue a ministry degree. Without the things that I learned and experienced at camp, I truly do not know where I would be today – or even who I would be.
At camp, we get to share with kids how much God loves them. At camp, kids get to try new things and grow more independent. At camp, we learn to slow down and how to live in community with one another. At camp, everyone gets to unplug from his or her lives (especially all the technology). At camp, kids get to reconnect with nature – God’s beautiful creation surrounds them. At camp, we get to make mistakes and we get to fail, and that is okay. At camp, lives and hearts change.
Camp Wi-ne-ma will always hold a special place in my heart. Even to this day, I cannot keep myself away. Every year I go back and volunteer as a counselor at camp. I still look forward to camp season, I still get to go and see old friends (and make new ones), and I still get campsick when I am away. I believe in camp and the powerful and profound impact that it can have on our lives.
In ten days, I will be back at camp Wi-ne-ma. We have some amazing things in store for campers this year, and it makes me so excited. I want as many kids as possible to have the opportunity to come to camp too. I want them to make new friendships and lasting memories, just as I did. I want them to be stretched and challenged in the same ways that I was stretched and challenged. Most of all, I want them to experience firsthand the love of God. So if you haven’t signed up for camp yet, do it today – you won’t be sorry that you did [SIGN UP HERE]. Camp changed my life, are you ready for it to change yours?
Hello Harvest Family. I am sending your way ten reasons why you should be part of the VBS volunteer staff. Some are big, some are small, all are relevant. Enjoy!
1. We have snacks. They’re going to be good snacks. They are going to be theme-driven and cute. Why even finish the list?
2. Jesus loves kids. He said to let the little children come to me. Whether you are a regular volunteer, so scared of large groups of children that you make a wide loop into the auditorium away from the kid wing, or have been slowly considering whether or not Uptown is a ministry you want to commit to, we can find a way for you to take part in Jesus’ love for the little ones.
3. Your kid/grandkid/brother/niece would love it. They would be so excited to have you there taking part!
4. You’ll get a t-shirt. All volunteers are going to get an AWESOME t-shirt, design and color TBD.
5. You will get to take part in teaching kids about how BIG God is. If you love God, if you love God so much that you just can’t help but let it pour out of you, I NEED you. No negotiations. We will have unreached kids there that NEED someone passionate to tell them about how awesome God is.
6. You can be a part of our children’s ministry, even if you don’t have the opportunity for a month on/month off Uptown commitment. I get it, it’s hard to say “yes, I can be in the classroom every other month.” But this is just three hours a day for five days. It’s easy. It’s a great opportunity for members of our congregation who are not normally in our ministry to get to support their discipleship.
7. You really love stargazing, right? Well, we have a stargazing themed VBS this year. It’s perfect for you!
8. These lessons are great for everyone. They are basic and important. Kids, big kids, and adults alike can benefit from what we are offering.
9. We have crafts. And games. And worship. And missions. It’s going to be so much fun.
10. You love Harvest. We love you! You’re part of our family. Serving at VBS is a great way to solidify connections and make relationships. It’s a good thing, I promise.
There you have it. Ten simple reasons. If you resonate with any of these, you can pass a background check, and you have some spare time in the month of July please consider being a part of the VBS staff. There is a wide variety of ways you can help, and they aren’t all Monday –Friday 8:30-12:30. You can sign up with this link [Sign up Here] , or fill out a volunteer form on Sunday. I’ll be in touch soon.
If you have questions or concerns, always feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
“Friendship is a lot like food. We need it to survive. What is more, we seem to have a basic drive for it. Psychologists find that human beings have fundamental need for inclusion in group life and for close relationships. We are truly social animals.” Hara Estroff Marano, Psychology Today
Here at Harvest, every small group we start has 5 tasks to accomplish throughout its life: fellowship, study, provision, worship, and evangelism. All five of these are taken from the last few verses of Acts 2, but I want to take some time to expound on each one of these tasks, and talk about why it is included, Biblical examples of what they each look like, and how we can incorporate them into the small group atmosphere. Today, let’s start with “fellowship.”
It’s hard to imagine that anybody would disagree that spending quality time with others is a necessary part of the human experience. Whether they are part of the church or not, people inevitably seek out others for friendship and support. Isolation has been shown to Of course, the followers of Christ are no different, we may simply have a grander reason for doing so; that is, to mimic the desire of unification that God is shown to have in scripture.
Indeed, the concept of “fellowship,” through the lens of the church, is far more than simply spending time with each other. Friendship is only the beginning. So let’s take a look at some passages of scripture that discuss fellowship, and see if we can glean wisdom from them.
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
From nearly the very beginning of human history, it has been decreed by the Creator itself that it is not good for us to be alone. Now, it is important to mention the specific context here: God then created Eve, who was a very specific kind of counterpart to Adam. But we cannot remove the fact that God did not say “it is not good for man to not have a wife,” or “it is not good for man to not have to do all the work by himself.” God simply says that it would be detrimental if the man that was created to remain by himself. As created beings of God ourselves, it is probably safe to say that the same concept applies to us: we should not be alone.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
The book of Proverbs is an interesting section of the Bible. Nothing else is quite like it, in that it is simply a book of wise advice from Solomon, handed down to his sons. It is full of pithy statements, that, give us some kind of wise truth. It is important to note that any given idea from Proverbs will not always be true, for we all know that sometimes we can find that we are not sharpened by other people. Not every friendship has a positive effect on our life. But we can, without a doubt, say that, in general, if we have good intentions and reflect the love of Christ, the fellowship we have with others will result in stronger relationships and stronger faith.
Have you ever thought about what it actually means to sharpen something? When you sharpen a pencil, you are removing pieces of that pencil until you have left a refined point with which you can produce a finer line when you write.
I believe that it is also true with us. As we seek to refine our faith, we remove the sin that entangles us. We leave behind our misconceptions about scripture. We even often discontinue relationships that do not have a positive effect on us.
Strong fellowship is a part of this. When we regularly meet together and grow more intimate relationships with one another, we have an opportunity to provide accountability to each other, to teach and learn from each other, and to provide emotional support and prayer for one another.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
God, in an utterly gracious and often perplexing act of charity, has given us permission to share in the task of bringing the earth and its inhabitants to a place of reconciliation with Him. The author of Hebrews claims, in the tenth chapter, that fellowship is a part of this process. We have the opportunity to encourage each other in carrying out the work of love that Jesus modeled for us in his ministry. We should continue to meet together on a regular basis, in order to carry this burden of evangelism as one.
Additionally, Hebrews’ author gives us what, in literary terms, would be called “the ticking clock.” He reminds us that we don’t have the rest of eternity to bring all of God’s creation back into the fold, as we sometimes want to believe. The author refers to the “Day,” the day when Jesus will return and His righteous judgment will come to pass. With such a large task to accomplish, it is imperative that we not cease to meet together and encourage each other on in our faith.
So, in this brief cruise through scripture, we have learned that fellowship was deemed necessary for humans by the very being that created them, that fellowship helps us to improve ourselves and those we are spending our lives with, and that meeting together regularly for encouragement is absolutely necessary if we are to make progress in the task that our Creator has given us.
This week, take time to consider the concept of fellowship. Take time to ask yourself if the time you spend in the company of others is going beyond just simple companionship or if you could be doing more to continue the example of close and intimate relationships that we see in the lives of Jesus and his disciples. There are many more words of wisdom regarding fellowship that can be found in scripture. Below, there is a space for comments. Add to the conversation by telling us about some of your favorite moments of unity and relationships in scripture!
I think it is a safe thing to say that a well-cultivated church atmosphere would be a comfortable and inviting place for people to relax and be open with what they are feeling and the things with which they are struggling. A core component of Christian community is recognizing that we are all different, with differing backgrounds, preconceptions, and opinions. And if we keep our Christian life to just a Sunday morning service, this isn’t much of a hurdle to overcome. To be frank, these are things that are easy to avoid for an hour and a half on the weekend. We can come in, greet each other, ask about how things are going, get a coffee, worship, enjoy the sermon, and leave without ever needing to express our views on scripture or have in-depth conversations on how we interpret the Word of God.
But I believe that the free exchange of ideas, theories, and opinions is extremely important to the process of discipleship. The disciples of Jesus lived in a time when their cultural homeland was ruled by Rome. The first century church was spread across a world teeming with alternative viewpoints, other religions, varying political systems, and all other manner of voices at odds with both their own personal beliefs, and the teachings of scripture. Acts 2 tells us that three thousand people were added to the church after a single sermon from Peter! It is hard to believe that the early church wasn’t full of people who help a wide range of opinions. Sure, they all accepted the gospel, and were baptized into the Christian faith, but we all know that their are still a multitude of ideas that can differ from one person to the next, even in the same congregation.
A great opportunity to create this forum of discussion is within a small group. An intimate setting in which the members can feel free to present their ideas and opinions without feeling as though they need to align to a certain thought process. A place where simple and honest conversation can happen between people with different backgrounds and worldviews. A place where one person may be able to impart wisdom to another.
Because that is the companion thought to this whole idea. Not only should we be allowing others to present their ideas and opinions, but we also have a responsibility to accept teaching, correction, or advice from others. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The Christian should be the one with the humility to accept that their interpretation of a Biblical passage or opinions on a certain topic may not always measure up to the truth of scripture. Not only should we allow others to teach us, we should crave that correction! For then we will be that much closer to the “thoroughly equipped servant of God” that 2 Timothy claims we have the opportunity to be.
The truth is, the church should be a place where viewpoints, opinions, and ideas should be able to be shared freely and without fear of ridicule or belittlement. If we want to change how we are viewed by the outside world, then we should probably make sure that we are being truly accepting and accommodating within our community. Allow others the opportunity to share their interpretation of scripture or their viewpoint on how we should respond to a certain political situation.
So here is my blog-post-challenge (I’m making it a thing.) to you: don’t shy away from honest and open discussions about things with which others may disagree, and don’t hesitate to allow others to impart wisdom to you. After all,
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Recently, on a Saturday, I joined three ladies from our congregation during a morning of service at Adorned in Grace. We only had room for a small group in their back storage area. When we arrived, Dottie from Adorned in Grace, walked us around their showroom and explained what their mission is.
Adorned in Grace is operated under Abolition Now, a Portland Christian non-profit dedicated to efforts against sexual trafficking and care for its victims. They operate on peoples’ generosity alone: the dresses and space are donated, they are staffed with volunteers, renovations were donated to the old building formerly owned by another local church, and their income comes from the sale of the donated items. The organization loves receiving dresses with stories attached to them, it makes it the most fun for them to be bought and used again. They have some dresses that do not sell so they re-purpose them through either saving precious pieces of them or by donating them to the next organization that they collaborate with.
Dottie herself does a lot of the sewing; the robes that brides wear when they are trying on dresses are handmade from old dresses. The love and generosity that goes into and comes out of this organization is wonderful. When we went back to their storage area, we saw a room stuffed with both wedding dresses and prom or bridesmaid dresses. The colorful, often sleeker dresses were being saved for their Dress for Freedom event, a time when girls, especially those in foster care, come in
and have their own day of getting dressed up and just being carefree girls who get to feel great about themselves.
The wedding dresses in this room are where we came in. They were being sent to the next ministry because they had not sold at AiG. We put three or so in a dress bag, zipped it up, and laid it flat. Then on to the next dresses. While doing this we were able to get to know each other better and enjoy using our own basic capabilities to serve.
We have been stressing building community here at Harvest. My husband Kyle and I moved here because of the incredible community he had experienced here when he was an intern. Now we are trying to improve upon that by creating new small groups and trying to convince you that it is worth it. I completely agree. I want each one of you to experience deep Christian community. I want you to cry and laugh together, to offer godly advice and commiserate gently over not quite getting it right, and to see different aspects of God through getting to know more of his people. We each have unique talents and interests, we have different backgrounds, and we each understand God and his kingdom slightly differently. We can learn from each other and become better for it. I hope that you all see this and embrace it. It might be scary at first but it is worth it, I promise.
Here is another way that I propose we build community: Let us go serve together. I am not suggesting this in place of a small group, but rather an additional way to be plugged into to the body of believers. Maybe your small group would want to get involved in a regular service project. This might be putting the cart before the horse, but email me and I can help you get that set up. Maybe you end up loving your small group but want the opportunity to meet more people outside your small group. I (Faith) will be setting up periodic opportunities to serve somewhere that is available to our entire church body; it is a great chance to meet different people.
It is also a great chance to know what is outside our specific gathering of Christians, to meet at these communal places of ministry between regular church gatherings. In addition, after serving together, you get opportunities to meet people and get to know them on a much deeper level. For instance, at Adorned in Grace, we all really enjoyed getting to know each other and what the ministry was a part of and how it operated. It was a precious experience, getting to be in the room with these lovely symbols of such a happy and important day. In the future, I plan to arrange more service projects at Adorned in Grace, My Father’s House, and at the Pregnancy Resource Center. If there is any place that you strongly stand behind or serve on even a semi-regular basis, I want to know and see what we can do with our resources of people here at Harvest.
There are other opportunities besides these! Local ministries constantly need volunteers. Grab a few friends and go serve. I can even point you in the direction of the ones in need. Our Care Ministry has a meal train-grab a few people you want to know better and make a meal for a new mom or a grieving family. Serve a family on your block by bringing over some treats. There are many levels of application for what I am advocating. I think service is another vital part of community, but not exclusively in serving others. Serving with others is a great tool, if only on this level: it’s easier to get to know someone when you are working, when you have something to do to take the awkwardness away?
To start, here at Harvest you will be seeing regular announcements for opportunities to serve. I would love to see an enthusiastic response, both from people who enjoy getting to know each other and from people who just enjoy getting to know and be involved in different ministries. These will be low commitment…a few hours on a Saturday morning or maybe the odd evening. If you have a million things happening in your life, these will hopefully still fit in from time to time. Many of these projects will be a great activity for the whole family! We’d love to see you there.
Final count, we collectively donated food including turkeys for 52 Thanksgiving Baskets! 52! In years past, which was also utterly fantastic, we donated on average 25 baskets.
Over twice as much this year! Ahhhh-mazing!
Because of your generous donations 52 local families were able to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with turkey and all the fixins’ with their families!
GOD is good and you, my Harvest Church family, are spectacular! Thank you all again for committing to this yearly outreach!
As we move into the Christmas holiday I leave you with this…I know it sounds a little cliché but remember the reason for the season. Praise the birth of Jesus, not the tree, the stockings hung by the chimney with care, the lights around the windows sills or the “presents” under the tree but rather the “presence” of family, friends and the LORD our Savior in our lives.
Jennifer Bailey, Care Ministries Leader
We had another great year down at Wi-ne-ma for Family Camp! Each year over Labor Day Weekend families gather together for one last outing before the school year begins. Family Camp functions as a “conference” style weekend with short morning and evening sessions for all age groups, paired with plenty of free time and planned family fun. The camp grounds are closed off to the public for the weekend, giving the camp a private and yet connected feeling as every group present is there for the same purpose.
This year nearly 500 people attended the conference, and roughly 180 of those were under the age of 18. This is the sixth year that I have been directing the elementary ages at Family Camp and each year has steadily grown larger than the last. Praise God, and may He continue to bless this camp as it reaches more and more families in His name!
Over the weekend the kids focused in on Micah 6:8 as a target they should aim for in their lives. The weekend was themed on marksmanship – who doesn’t like shooting things? Huge shout out to the volunteers who came and sacrificed their time to help make camp successful. Next year we will need even MORE hands as we have grown to the point that we are the size of a small VBS!
But we also want you to attend Family Camp! It really is a lot of fun, there are great speakers, fun activities and competitions for all ages, and it really is just a nice and fun weekend on the beautiful Oregon Coast! This year there was even a profession espresso cart on site for all your caffeinated needs!
It has been a little while since I have written a blog post so I figured now is the time to give an update on how things are coming along.
As you know one of the larger outreaches the Care Team is involved in is the Harvest Food Pantry. If you haven’t been by to check it out, it is downstairs on the North side of the building. You can enter through the garden in a separate entrance. We are open Wednesdays from 3 pm to 6 pm and Sundays from 11 am to 1 pm. We have a consistent group of volunteers who help run it successfully however we are always looking for others who are interested in getting involved. Is that you? You can sign up to volunteer here.
We are starting the 4th month of operation and with each passing month the number of families we serve is consistently increasing. We have served homeless clients, seniors, veterans, families with children of all ages, single men and women. Clients have been very grateful for the assistance and many have stories of job loss, medical issues, no cause evictions, mental illness, etc. It is so fulfilling knowing how much of an impact just a few meals can make for them and their families.
With the consistent increase in clients, the need for donations continues to be an important part of this ministry. You probably have noticed me passing out brown bags in the foyer. This is part of the ongoing Fill A Bag. Feed A Family campaign. Remember this is just a “visual reminder” and items can be brought back in different bags. Deposit any donated items into the donation bin located in the foyer.
And finally, Care Team is having a “Swap Til You Drop” Clothing Exchange on Sunday, August 28th, This is an all church exchange and in order for it to be successful we are asking that you bring your gently used, laundered clothing of all sizes and styles to swap. Click here for all the info!
Thank you all again for being part of this ministry. Without you, this would not be possible!
Have a blessed rest of the week!