Last Wednesday, August 13, several neighbors got together at Lompoc Sidebar in the evening, to brainstorm projects to work on together. We discussed events, reaching out to businesses, churches and schools in the neighborhood to work together, and long term projects like the Trash Can Project. We were delighted to meet Robin Franklin, who is a pastor at neighborhood church Hughes Memorial United Methodist Church, which is on the corner of Failing and Rodney on the border with King neighborhood. She came not only to promote an upcoming event and ask us to pass it along, but to make a permanent connection to our neighborhood association, as she is interested in continuing the tradition of being a part of the neighborhood and working together with neighbors on projects. She told us all about the great things her church is doing and some of the history of the church, such as that the church was mostly African-American for many years, but now it has a mixed demographic congregation.
In the recent past, members of the church have offered crafts at neighborhood events at Unthank Park and helped out at the Spring Cleanup, and they would like to continue to do so. The church has a vegetable garden where they invite anyone to participate, plant and harvest. Robin said they still have veggies coming in, and so far this year have given food to 55 groups. They also offer their building as a community space. They share their church space with another congregation, Bright Star, where J.W. Friday is the minister. In February, the church hosts a Black History Celebration which they invite speakers to. This summer, a PSU History professor is teaching a summer kids camp on civil rights history (specifically for the 50th anniversary of the Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1969) for neighborhood kids.
The big event Robin came to tell us about is next Saturday, August 23 from noon to 5 pm. You may or may not have heard about the recent rash of gang-related killings in Portland this summer. Several protests have happened around North and Northeast to bring attention to this and promote community fellowship and unity in place of violence. The event is called Community Unity Jam 2014 "Stop the Killing". Minister-turned-MC J.W. Friday will be spinning tunes (apparently he has his own internet radio show called "The Groove Factor"), and there will be a clothing donation and closet, doll making, community prayer, free hot dogs, live gospel music, and community unity speakers. The Facebook event page is here.
Hughes Memorial UMC/Bright Star church has a Facebook page, but it's in need of some help, and they have no website, as Robin told us. If anyone has an interest in helping them with their social media presence, it would help them spread the word about their offerings.
Hughes Memorial UMC: (503) 281-2332
Bright Star Ministries: (503) 208-1867
Hughes Memorial UMC has been featured as part of past North Portland Gentrification Tours offered by Know Your City, which offers tours year round of Portland's multicultural historical areas. The BNA is interested in having Know Your City do a historical walking tour of our neighborhood highlighting it's diverse multicultural past in the future again.