Christian-oriented chamber of commerce launched

Learn why this retired Realtor decided to start a business group with a spiritual premise …

Charly Kenyon, founder and executive director of “Christian Chamber of Commerce of the Northwest” is dipping into the chocolate fountain provided by Blue Mango Catering. The evening’s MC, Lorna Dobberstein, is in the background.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Earlier this month, we were intrigued when Arlene McClean, of Work Smarter, invited us to the first meeting of a Christian chamber of commerce being established in the area.

When we arrived, we found a sizable group gathered. Business people gave their self-introduction, and told a little about their businesses.

The gathered folks then dined on snacks and perused information provided by area business people in the great hall at the Rivercrest Community Church, 3201 NE 148th Ave.

As at most neighborhood business association and chamber meetings, self-introductions help attendees get to know one another.

Inspired by a ‘download from God’
Charly Kenyon, founder and executive director of “Christian Chamber of Commerce of the Northwest”, took a moment to tell us about this new organization and how it started.

“I’m a brand new Christian,” Kenyon began. “I was praying for my calling and got a ‘download from God’ one night. I woke up in the middle of the night and thought of a Christian Chamber of Commerce.”

In the morning, Kenyon says she searched online for the term “Christian chamber of commerce” and found a few around the country. She said she located an international organization; also two groups in Florida.

“I called the representatives from the groups in Ft. Meyers and Orlando. They both have hundreds of members,” continued Kenyon. “They both encouraged me to keep going and make it happen.”

With a background in sales and marketing – and being a Realtor for 30 years – Kenyon said she’d attended many chamber groups. “I just felt there should be a Christian chamber, where we don’t have to suppress our faith.”

TJ Reilly and Bill Nelson talk with Jon Turino of Farmer’s Insurance at the chamber’s inaugural event.

First event draws large turnout
The large meeting room was comfortably full; we were told about 70 people came to the first event. “I was hoping that ten tables would be sponsored,” Kenyon commented, “but we sold 29 tables. I think there is a lot of good networking going on tonight. My daughter is the caterer; she booked a dinner for 35 people for January. People are doing business with each other.”

When we asked Kenyon why this is important to her, she replied, “My slogan is, ‘If all else is equal, wouldn’t you rather do business with a Christian business owner or individual?'”

Next event is November 1
Their next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, November 1 from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM at Acapulco Restaurant, 10566 SE Washington St. $12.00 includes buffet, non-alcoholic beverage and tip. They ask you bring cash or check made out to Christian Chamber. Seating is limited, so please RSVP to (503) 320-9373.

For more information, see them online at

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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