Southminster Presbyterian has a been a leader in issues regarding social justice. Under Jim Petersen’s leadership, Southminster became More Light over twenty years ago and helped trail blaze the way for LGBTQ equality in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and Oregon.
With the guidance of Peg Pfab, Southminster became a leader in the community in interfaith relationships. Reaching out to synagogues and mosques, inviting dialogue with friends within the great diversity of the Beaverton and wider Portland area, Southminster has sought to make Martin Luther King’s vision of a beloved community a reality.
The Celebration of Creativity, finishing its 38th show, perhaps the most impressive yet, has proven Southminster to be a leader in advancing the arts throughout the Northwest.
The Music, Arts, and Drama (M.A.D.) Camp has presented this creativity to the children of our vicinity and shown that Southminster puts it time, talent, and treasure toward lifting up the importance of music, drama, and art in education.
Southminster’s youth and children’s ministry consistently raises consciousness toward the importance of equality, of caring for Earth, for the poor, and for speaking out against prejudice.
Adult education that celebrates questioning in Sunday Starter, our new Monday study group, and other educational programs such as the Jesus Seminar, have made Southminster a leader in articulating a faith that is conversant with science and scholarship.
This is not an exhaustive list by any means to the kind of call Southminster has responded. And we are open to what new tasks and challenges face us. On Sunday April 17, we welcome Rev. Chuck Currie to Southminster. Chuck spoke at my installation. He is a minister in the United Church of Christ and has been an advocate of a public faith for decades.
He is going to lead our congregation in a discussion regarding housing justice. The Portland metro is predicted to receive another 400,000 residents by 2030. Homes are not being built fast enough for the demand, and the price of these homes is out of reach for many. Rents are increasing. Gentrification is pushing out lower income people. Homelessness is increasing not only in Portland, but in Beaverton as well. As the baby boomers become seniors, they, too, are facing an uncertainty of where they will live as they mature.
The topic is broad, housing justice. The event on April 17 that begins with worship, includes lunch and then small group discussion until 3:00pm will be an important opportunity for the entire congregation to brainstorm, to become informed, to have our awareness raised yet again to the challenges and possibilities this crisis presents to our congregation.
I hope you will make sure to join us.