|Volume 16, Issue 6||
|The Sanctuary is designed to accomodate a variety of activities: concerts, meals, lectures, conferences...|
Cedar Mill has several churches and other faith communities that perform as community centers in addition to their spiritual mission. To launch our new series on “Community Places,” we chose Christ United Methodist Church as our first subject. Pastor Ric Shewell and Elaine Ledbetter, longtime office manager, helped us understand the many ways that CUMC supports the community.
The church was founded in 1963, just as Cedar Mill really began to grow. Parishioners had been attending the Beaverton Methodist Episcopal Church or other nearby churches, when the state Methodist organization approved a new church. A four-acre site on Saltzman was transformed from a cow pasture into a modern church building. The building was expanded over the years, including a new Sanctuary, and the original worship hall is now used by several other faith groups, including an Indian Christian group, Mar Thoma, and a Muslim community currently holding Ramadan night prayers.
Elaine says, "We think that through acceptance of everyone and being open to a variety of other people who live next to and near us, that folks can get to be comfortable sharing space and actually talk to each other and build relationships with each other."
Community members conduct language classes for Telugu, Sanskrit, Bangla, and Yu Fang offers Chinese language classes for children.
The church building is also home to two separate preschools. A Child's Way Preschool is a secular school that has about 300 students. They rent their section of the building.
|The original chapel is now used by several groups for worship and other regular events.|
Cedar Mill Christ Preschool offers a Christian morning-and-lunch program to about 40 kids aged 20 months to five years, and occupies a different section of the building—it is a sponsored activity of the church. They also offer a summer camp.
Pastor Ric says, “Camp iWannabe is a ‘Character Camp’ for children. It’s our spin on the traditional “Vacation Bible School” that a lot of churches do. However, instead of just getting kids to memorize Bible verses, we’re focusing on helping children build their character—being accepting, courageous, understanding, and loving. Kids in our community have plenty of opportunities to grow in religious education (that’s important to us too!), but we think a ‘Character Camp’ is something unique we can offer the kids in our community that they wouldn’t get elsewhere.
Paster Ric explains, “We think an empty building is a waste of resources that God has entrusted us with! So we fill up our rooms and calendar with various non-profit groups and classes. We welcome all groups committed to building a healthy community!”
|CUMC is a busy place!|
Veronica Lake offers art classes and camps for all ages. Boy Scout Troop 207 meets there weekly, and Cub Scout Pack 889 is also based there. There’s even a yoga group, called Imagination Yoga.
The busy schedule is managed by Elaine Ledbetter. She also handles rental of the many spaces within the complex. If you have need of space, either long-term or for a single event, contact her at 503-646-1598 or firstname.lastname@example.org. She will be happy to show you around the welcoming space.
A new program this year is “Help Build Hope.” Pastor Ric says, “On June 16, we will build all the frame walls for an entire Habitat for Humanity house, in just a couple of hours! The church pays for all the lumber pre-cut, a roof donation, and the organizing of the event. We need people to come out and hammer it all together. The best part is this: since there will be no power tools used, and since we’re building on church property, all ages are welcome! The walls will then be transported to a local Habitat foundation, where we can see it through to completion. Go to cedarmillchristumc.org/helpbuildhope for more info!”
One long-term project has been collecting clothing for farm workers in the region. They always have a Food Bank barrel, and the Christmas Sharing Project “brings together people to provide gifts and food for over 250 of our local neighbors — families referred to us by our local elementary schools. We put out requests for gifts and donations in our hallways, and all of our community groups get involved in caring for families during this season,” says Shewell. He continues, “We’re successful when children are inspired by generosity and choose to give their Christmas gift money away for water filters in Oaxaca.”
Find out more on the CUMC website, cedarmillchristumc.org
Published monthly by Cedar Mill News LLC
PO Box 91061
Portland, Oregon 97291