Serving in Small Ways Has a Big Impact

When we originally started Sellwood Faith Community, part of our mission was to include service as a way of living out our faith.  Millennials especially want to live an active faith. One of our favorite places to volunteer is the Oregon Food Bank.  We arrive on a Saturday morning at 9 am, and put on our fashionable hair nets.  We join about 50 other volunteers from the Portland community.  Our typical job is to sort bulk frozen fruits or vegetables in to family size portions.  These are given out at food banks all over Oregon and in Clark County.  At the end of each shift the volunteer coordinator give us some statistics on how much good we have done for that 2 1/2 hours of work.  Typically our hard work translates in to at least 100 meals per volunteer.  Where else can you make this big a difference in people’s lives in that little time? The job is not glamorous.  We probably don’t change people’s lives through this act of service, but it does make the world a better place and it puts us in touch with the struggles of some of the people of our region. Not only can adults make an impact, but children can serve as well.  Our group of ten year olds come along to this project. If you want to make a difference and live out your faith we are heading to the food bank on October 24th.  Sign up on our Sellwood Faith Community Facebook page. -Jeff SFC Crew at work bagging frozen...

The Ebb and Flow

We are in a time of great flow these days at Sellwood Faith Community.  We have a solid core group, we’re slowly growing in our participation numbers and giving, and most importantly we’ve had such great gatherings of depth and new life these past few months.  There have been times when I have been so aware of the fragility of what we have begun I was afraid the slightest breeze could shatter the whole enterprise.  I look at where we are now and what I see is the strength of our faith community.   We’ve arrived here through grace and flexibility.  I have lost track of the number of times we have changed what we’re doing and when.  Dinners began on Thursdays in May 2014.  Since then we’ve launched a second dinner, gone back to one and moved it to Sundays.  This week we changed the time of dinner to accommodate the back to school sleep needs of our kids.  We’ve modified theology on tap into spiritually thirsty.  We decided to keep the meditation hikes going after their initial run due to the immense popularity.  This really is an experiment in church.  We experiment and try things and then adjust as the results come back.  Our programming isn’t the only thing that has changed over time.  We lovingly supported two of our members as they split up, both clear about the profound importance of the community and their friendship. While their relationship changed they remained in relationship with the community and with one another.  One of our young families can’t make dinner due to their baby’s sleep schedule. They...

Trying Too Hard

A lot of my job is about meeting people and getting to know them while allowing them to get to know me.  And I’m good at this.  I’m a people person and I enjoying hearing other’s stories and telling my own.  On occasion I slip from being my normal self into this awkward, over enthusiastic, pushy lady.  It usually happens when someone comes to an event and seems interested in our community, but they are hesitant.  There is some external pressure to grow our community and that’s part of my weirdness, but I also just really want to share the beauty of this experience and the life giving power of the people of SFC. I know while it’s happening and I can see that I’m being ridiculous, but I can’t stop it.  And I know that it’s counter to what I actually need to be doing.  I need to be like Jesse on Buffy after he gets bitten, cool. It is hard for me to admit that I go overboard. But doing so means that I get to acknowledge that sometimes I need to step back because those awesome people of SFC are doing a good job of acting like normal people and sharing the story without the weirdness.  Being self reflective isn’t always easy, but it is the only actual way to grow.  And it might actually be the only way to help this community grow. -Eilidh Jesse & BuffyFrom:...

Hands and Feet

I know so many people who are living as the hands and feet of Jesus.  The PTA president at my daughter’s school who goes above and beyond in love.  The volunteer coordinator at the clinic where I spend one Monday a month who greets each person with care and respect.  The couple in our faith community who left their beloved home and neighborhood at their daughter’s request and moved to the suburbs to support an ill grandchild.  I see people all around me sharing and offering hope to others.  This is following Jesus, and its inspiring to witness. Jesus says lots of things, and by some counts 87 times he says follow me.  He never says go to church on Sunday mornings or I’m the third person of the trinity.  He says follow me.  Jesus listened and ate with those on the margins and broke the rules of religious convention and challenged corruption and healed and loved so much he gave his life away.  He asks us to do the same.   We may not have to face Roman oppression and be crucified, but we are asked to give of our life through sharing our time and energy.  We are asked to consider our lifestyles and change so that others might also have life.  We are asked to listen and to stretch beyond our comfort zones to grow in spirit.  We are asked to do what we can, where we are, with what we have, to make the world just a little better.  Faith communities help us to do the work of intentionally thinking about who we are and...