East Portland church celebrates 100 years of service to the community

This Parkrose Heights Neighborhood church is now a fixture in the area – after moving from another East Portland location. Find out all about it in this story, accompanied by great photos of course …

The gloomy weather doesn’t keep many folks from attending the centenary Sunday service at the Crossroads Christian Church in Parkrose Heights.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Some people who drive by the Crossroads Christian Church on NE 102nd Avenue think of it as a neighborhood house of worship. Those whose children are educated there think of it as a school. And, the needy in the community think of it as a food pantry.

Crossroads Christian is all of these things.

Two of many volunteers serving up a hot breakfast before church are volunteers Deb Wright and Debi York.

The pre-service brunch in the Crossroads Christian gym provides both nourishment and the opportunity for folks to mingle.

“Our church is celebrating its 100th anniversary,” explained Pastor Tom Burgess, as he went about making sure all was prepared for their morning service on May 15.

Until 1979, the church community was located at NE 76th Avenue on NE Glisan Street, Burgess told us. “That was then when we purchased the land on NE 102nd Avenue, built our new church, and moved here.”

The Crossroads Christian Church Praise Team warms up, as folks come in for the morning’s service.

He’s seen a lot of changes over the years, having been a member for 39 years, as well as being its pastor for 31 years, Burgess pointed out. But, the mission has remained the same, he added.

“We really want to reach out and help as many people in the community as we can,” the pastor stated. “One of the ways we do this is through our ‘food cupboard’, operated by about 40 volunteers, which supplies food for about 2,500 people a month.”

In the church’s full-sized gymnasium, inner-city kids to come and play ball and have a great time on Sunday nights. There’s a Senior Center for older folks. For 35 years, the church as operated a K-8 Christian school, and it’s now starting a daycare center. In addition, the church also works with the Parkrose School District to help support area homeless kids.

Louise Yeager Tatro, a member since 1932, says her church continues to be “a very comfortable place to belong.”

“In church, our attendance is 500 to 600 people on a given Sunday,” Burgess continued. “Today, the attendance will be swelled a little bit; it’s kind of a homecoming reunion.”

Crossroads is a nondenominational Christian church, Burgess explained, locally governed and autonomous. “We do fellowship with churches all around the country in missions and Bible colleges. We are biblically-based, believe in the inspiration scriptures and the deity of Christ, and all the basic fundamental teachings of Scripture.”

One of the day’s speakers, author Victor Knowles – on staff during the 1980s and now living in Joplin, Missouri, and President of Peace on Earth Ministries – says he works as “international peacemaker, trying to bring Christians together.”

Crossroads Christian Church Pastor Tom Burgess welcomes everyone to their centenary celebration.

Surprisingly, the morning’s service began with a video presentation giving a fanciful history of the church. It humorously linked the church with everyone from our nation’s settlers who came off the Mayflower – to Star Wars characters.

Then, in song and word, the service began.

Hundreds of people gather in the sanctuary at Crossroads Christian Church to celebrate in song and the Word.

Asked what he’d like the community to know about the church, Pastor Burgess said, “I’d like to tell a community that we are here to be of service in any way that we can. We want the community to know we’re here to give light as best we can from our perspective as representatives of Jesus.”

For more information, see their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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