What do the following have in common: fishing, an open table, grace, a troubled spirit, prom, a warm cup of coffee, angels and holy cows? The answer is you! Since my arrival here, we’ve been exploring a variety of thoughts on “what is church?” and the answer we keep coming back to is – you! You are the church. It is not a building… it is the people of God living in the community where God has planted us.

I’ve greatly appreciated and am honored by the way you have responded to the homework assignments. I have been blessed because you have opened your lives to me, to share some of your faith journey. I have come to appreciate the depth of your faith and the strength of your love for Jesus.

I am also thankful for the great tradition that this congregation has and continues to carry forward into the future. God has asked you to do some great things not only here in Portland but also around the world and you have responded faithfully to the call. I hope you are excited to discover what God has in store for your future. In the coming weeks, you will have an opportunity to come together and share what God has done in the life of this congregation and what you think God is calling you to be and do. If you have not already done so, save Wednesday nights as a time when you come out for supper and discussion about the present and future ministry of the church.

The great preacher Fred Craddock once said, “The question is not whether the church is dying, but whether it is giving its life for the world.” I celebrate your willingness to give your life for Portland and for the world!

I have survived the first month of the great Baptist dinners. You all love to eat! The joke going around is how long it will take me to gain the “freshman 15 pounds.” After the first month, I can say thst it will not take long! I’m willing to put on the weight to be able to have you come together for fellowship, discussion and study.

FYI- we are blessed to have such a beautiful building that is in high demand. Unlike far too many church buildings, our building is used almost all day, every day. We have people from all walks of life and from different organizations who enjoy and count on the use of the building. One of the issues that is always on our minds as a staff is the safety of all who come through our doors. To ensure that our building is safe and secure, we would ask that when you come to the church during the week, you enter through the office door on 11th street and let the receptionist know that you are in the building. When you leave the church, we would ask you to let the receptionist know you are leaving. If you have been issued a fob, you may enter either through the 12th street back gate or use 11th street door. Thank you for your help in making the building safe and secure.

Thank you for your ministry and thank you for the privilege to walk with you in your faith journey.

— Rev. Sam Brink