Lents neighbors host ‘National Night Out’ fest

Here’s what these outer East Portland residents did to celebrate ‘National Night Out’ in the Lents area …

Lents neighbors gather for a casual evening, during this “National Night Out” party on the grounds of Mt. Scott Church.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Due to a lack of support, “National Night Out Against Crime” celebrations were fewer this year.

However, on August 6, Lents residents gathered for an evening of fun, music, and good food on the campus of Mt. Scott Church.

Bringing neighbors together to build a stronger sense of community is what this gathering is all about, says Mt. Scott Church Community Connection Pastor and event organizer Brian Jeanseau.

“This is our second year of hosting this party here on our own, after partnering with neighbors who have held these ‘night outs’ before,” said organizer Brian Jeanseau.

Kids played in a bouncy house and participated in games and crafts, while adults got involved in a raffle, and enjoyed the music of a live band.

Food is plentiful at this “National Night Out” celebration.

Serving up another delicious chili dog is volunteer Bonnie Keenom.

“Our church is in the process of converting half of the building into what’s becoming the Community Connections Center, where we’ll have a coffee shop and spaces for offering classes, such as music and yoga,” Jeanseau revealed.

About 45 volunteers were involved in the evening, he said. “Most of our volunteers, who live in Lents, and on this hill (Mt. Scott), are involved with our Community Connections Center, and want to make their neighborhood a better place,” Jeanseau told East Portland News.

Entertaining with their rockin’, energetic sounds is The Fabulous Bad Cats band.

Even though this event was being held on the grounds of a house of worship, it wasn’t put on as a “ministry” of the church, Jeanseau commented.

“We believe that churches should be community centers, and love those who live there,” explained Jeanseau. “We’re leaving religion out of this, and welcoming all, to join together in a sense of community, regardless if they hold any spiritual beliefs or not.

Lili Jones enjoys a hot dog with her dad, Richard Jones, at this National Night Out celebration.

“Bringing people together is something that we believe we’re supposed to do,” Jeanseau added. “The best part of this party is seeing people come, have a good time, and get to know each other!”

© 2019 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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