Dear Imago Dei Family,
December is about to come to a close and with it another year of being sustained by our Father. I have been reflecting the last few weeks on the sustaining power of God. Each year is so full—full of life, beauty and spiritual fruit, as well as challenges, loss, sorrow and pain. Being sustained by God means that there is another power, a higher purpose, and a deeper meaning and magic at work in the ordinary dailiness of life. As I reflect back on 2016, I realize that we have truly experienced that! God is a sustaining Lover and intimate Father to us.
During the snowy, cold nights we were able to once again open our doors to hundreds of men, women and their pets who are living on the streets. Through this winter warming shelter, we ensured that they remained warm and safe, hoping they know God sees them and cares for them as well.
We have celebrated so many things and grieved our fair share too. But despite the emotional ups and downs, the one true constant is our Father’s love for us.
Through the expansion of ministry to foster children and the DHS system (Foster Parents Night Out and Embrace Oregon), as well as Holla Mentoring, we have participated in putting the Father’s heart for the fatherless on display in some of the most vulnerable lives in our city. We have witnessed the Father give life to a new community of Imago Dei at Eastside Gathering under the leadership of Pastor Eric Knox and a great team. Next month they will move to David Douglas High School. That means that we get to participate with Jesus as he expands his Kingdom in one of the most internationally diverse and economically depressed parts of Portland.
Through Refuge, we have watched God set people free and lead them into an overflowing sense of hope and meaning as children of God, deeply loved by the Father. At our Central City campus, we have the opportunity to minister in new and creative ways as our city changes and new families have arrive around the church. God does not have us here by mistake, and we are excited to see our presence in this central neighborhood become a place of hospitality and ministry to the heart of Portland’s inner eastside.
We have seen lost sons and daughters find their way home to the Father, and we have had our own hearts converted more deeply to God’s heart for the lost sons and daughters He longs to bring home. There is so much more we have to celebrate as the Father, Son and Spirit dwell with us, in us and go before us.
God also sustained us through a difficult beginning to 2016. We didn’t hit our budget numbers last December and were forced to cut staff. It was a loss for our community, and yet through God’s grace we were able to reorganize. Through your generosity we were able to find our way through. I am grateful to God for all of you and for God’s hand that has been on us and continues to sustain us.
As we look forward to 2017, it will be important to finish the year strong financially. As of now, we still need $250,000 to finish December where we need to be. I would ask that you prayerfully consider a year-end gift to Imago Dei Community. It takes all of us to do the work that God has called us to and every one of us counts.
In January, we will start a new series, The Year of Following Jesus. Taking an in-depth look into the life of Jesus, we will spend the year really learning to follow Him in the radical and life-changing journey of being His disciples.
May God continue to bless and sustain you in the year ahead,
Rick McKinley, Lead Pastor