Following Jesus together — on a mission to love God and to love our neighbors
Our vision is for Portland to be a healed land:
Following Jesus together means learning to value the things that Jesus valued. As we study the New Testament, we discern four values of Jesus that guide our life together. Simply put, these values are:
These four values serve as organizing principles for our life together. Everything we do is connected to one or more of these values.
Welcome to the United Methodist Church of the Promise.
John Wesley and the early Methodists placed primary emphasis on Christian living—on putting faith and love into action. This emphasis on what Wesley called "practical divinity" has continued to be a hallmark of United Methodism today, and is certainly part of the theological DNA of the Church of the Promise. We invite you to learn more about our rich theological heritage by visiting the United Methodist “What We Believe” website at: www.umc.org/what-we-believe. A statement of faith for the Church of the Promise is summarized in the historic Apostles’ Creed:
We believe in God, the Father Almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
We believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and will come again to judge the living and the dead.
We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic (universal) church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
What is the purpose of an apple tree: to produce apples? Or to produce more apple trees?
Jesus invited disciples into his life, and before returning to heaven commissioned them to make more disciples. The purpose of a disciple of Jesus is to learn how live and love like Him and to teach the next generation to do the same.
When we think about the history of the Church of the Promise—how it came to be—we believe somehow this band of disciples was a dream in God’s heart, spoken into being at the beginning of time. From one generation to the next, through the seasons of history, seeds were planted by people who loved Jesus. Others watered the seeds and God made things grow, one harvest after another, leading to the year 2012 when Church of the Promise came into being.
The earliest records of seeds being sown in Portland, seeds that would later become the Church of the Promise, date back to 1956, when Richard and Mary Catherine Sluyter showed up on Baird Street and started a sidewalk Sunday School class. With accordion, flannel board, and Bible in hand they told the stories of Jesus to the children on Baird Street. In the fall of that year they rented a shotgun house and started the Sunshine Club. Soon after, the Methodist Church adopted the ministry and named it the Baird Street Mission.
Volunteers from the neighborhood and around the city offered a variety of programs at the Baird Street Mission. One of those faithful volunteers from the neighborhood was a lady named Patsy Newland. From 1960 to 1990 Mrs. Newland provided leadership at the mission and worked with a number of United Methodist Ministers.
In 1990, a new vision began to emerge, and the mission was eventually renamed The Portland United Methodist Center. A part-time employee was hired and commissioned to begin a faith-based afterschool program for children.
A dream was born in the 1990s to build a new facility that would allow the Mission to expand its scope and meet the needs of more children and youth. In 1997, the program moved into a newly constructed multipurpose facility, now known as the Portland Promise Center.
In January 2002, three people began to meet in the Chapel of the Center to read scripture communally and to pray. The agenda of the meeting was to discern if planting a church in Portland was the next right thing to do. This humble prayer meeting evolved into the Portland Promise Community of Faith, a mission-based faith community of the United Methodist Church that met for worship on Sundays and provided volunteers and leadership for the Portland Promise Center programs.
In 2005 the Portland Promise Center purchased a historic warehouse located at 1800 Portland Avenue with a vision to create a hub for spiritual, economic, and leadership development. In 2012 several families from the Portland Promise Community of Faith, with the support of the United Methodist Church, launched a new church called Church of the Promise. The new church renovated a section of the warehouse and took up residence in what they named the Promise Building. In 2015 the church established a non-profit organization called Promise Community Development Corporation. The CDC purchased the building and began to dream of ways to address the economic challenges in Portland through social entrepreneurialism.
The dream turned into reality in the fall of 2015 with the opening of the Table Café—a sit-down restaurant that serves locally grown food with amazing taste, at an affordable price, where all can enjoy the flavor of community. The Table operates under a pay-as-you-can model and provides a place where our neighbors can dine with a purpose.
The seasons of planting seeds of God’s love and watering those seeds with faith and hope continue. God will cause the growth, and only time will tell where this great story goes next.
We would love for you and your family to join us and to be a part of this amazing story!