BuiltWithNOF
Houses of Worship

HOUSES OF WORSHIP

 

Bethlehem Lutheran Church

     and

Rose City Park Presbyterian Church

 

By

Adrianne Shaw

 

In 1886, Portland, Oregon was beginning to grow in population. It was still small but many people from all over the world were moving here to work and start a new life including a small population of Scandinavian immigrants.  Many of the immigrants worked in agriculture and logging businesses at the time.  In addition to work there was the need for worship and church.  Scandinavian families had a strong desire to form churches similar to their homeland.  Women were the impetus behind the early church; however, they could not start a church without their husbands.

 

Scandinavian Christians eventually formed "ethnic" churches made up of immigrants and their families. There are many similarities among all of the original Lutheran congregations in this city.  Most were ethnic churches providing services in their mother language. One of these churches was the Bethlehem Lutheran church which originally supported a Norwegian and Danish congregation named the Norwegian Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church. The main difference in the Norwegian Evangelical Church from other denominations was that no Lutheran missionaries were sent over to America to help with pastoring.  Norway did not want their people to leave.  Regardless, Norwegians immigrated to America due to the famine and difficult times. As a result, the Norwegian immigrants had to start out on their own without the support of their church back home.

 

 Women have also been a driving force throughout the history of the Rose City Park Presbyterian Church. This church began with one woman who taught a Sunday school class in a law office building. This church had a small start but experienced tremendous growth along with the Hollywood District. 

 

The congregation prides itself on its generosity. According to the church documents and papers, Rose City Park Presbyterian played a key role in bringing people to know Christ as Savior.  It also helped start up three additional Presbyterian churches: Roseway Presbyterian, Unity Presbyterian, and Grace Presbyterian.  They also saved the Holt Chinese Church from financial collapse.  In addition, they sent some of their people to help start the Rose City Park Methodist Church. This congregation has also given substantial financial resources as well as their time, and some of their own congregation members to the work of the ministry in Portland.

 

HOUSES OF WORSHIP

 

St Michael & All Angels

 Episcopal Church

 

By

Craig Rademacher

 

The nod of approval was given by Bishop Charles Scadding to purchase two lots at 37th and Broadway for the building of a new mission in the Rose City Park area of Portland.  The first service was held at St. Michael & All Angels on December 25, 1910. It was a small wooden building (described as a "double garage") with a seating capacity of 100. It was painted brown with a white cross over the front door and records show 38 parishioners attended the Christmas Sunday service. In 1914 the mission was moved to the corner of 43rd and Broadway, its present site. By 1923 a new structure had been built and the first service began on September 23, 1923. Twelve years later, in 1936, the little mission was consecrated and became a full fledged church. At that time the congregation numbered over 500 people. By the 1940s the church contained 650 members.

 

Children, as well as adults, came to learn and worship at the church. St Michael & All Angels Sunday school program boasted they were the largest and best program in the diocese; attendance was just 75 students in 1922. Thirtyfive years later the program had over 500 students weekly with 750 students in total enrollment. Crowding was a problem since the school was only built for 300 students.

 

 St Michael & All Angels mission was to serve the community. The church held Christmas plays for over 35 years for the parish and surrounding community, bringing good tidings and great joy during some of the best and worst times in history.  One of the ministers became known around the community as "the Hollywood District's Inspirational Padre" in the 1950s. The church had one of the best boys choir in the 1960s and was affiliated with the Royal School of church Music in England.  In 1962 it hosted the worldfamous Vienna Boys Choir.

 

The church has been true to their goal of community service into the new millennium by sharing their message and services with Native American, Hispanic, and Chicano communities and ministries, selfhelp service groups, Joyful Noise Arts Center, and Parent Care to name a few. The parishioners also give freely of themselves by providing meals, clothing, and other supplies to the less fortunate through Mealson Wheels and the Salvation Army throughout Portland.

 

"To maintain a dynamic community, which worships God, cares for one another as a family and equips people for ministry in the world."

Official goal statement of St Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church

 

  • Bethleham Lutheran Church’s Rose Window coutesy of Bethleham Lutheran Church
  • Rose City Presbyterian Church                                  courtesy of Rose City Presbyterian Church
  • First mission of St. Michael & All Angels, 1910 Courtesy of St. Michael & All Angels
  • Old mission next to new church, 1923 courtesy of St. Michael & All Angels
  • Inside old mission nest to new church, 1923 courtesy of St. Michael & All Angels

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