Dear Imago Dei,
I am beyond excited to see where God has Imago Dei Community (both Central City and Eastside) situated. I came to Portland in 2013 with the dream of working toward a multi-ethnic church. Even though we have a long way to go, I’m proud to see both campuses leaning into important issues as a loving, prophetic community seeking to be the kind of church Christ died for. The unique thing is that even though we are a 2-campus church, the heart and mission has remained the same even because we believe that doing mission together is better than doing mission apart. Even though we are a two-campus church, our heart and mission has remained the same because we believe that working together is better than working apart.
Eastside has grown so much in just about every way. We started in a classroom at David Douglas High School, moved to a small building on Ramona Street, outgrew it and moved back to David Douglas to utilize their cafeteria to maximize seating capacity.
Our team - Michael Dean, Ashley Brassea, Angelica Djubenski, Hakeem Bradley and Meg Dumez - has truly been a dream team. Their servant hearts have been an inspiration as they work hard to stay on top of our growth and pastor Eastside effectively. Every part of our focus has been to make sure we are considering every person’s narrative intentionally, from our worship to kids ministry, youth ministry and home communities. It’s been a joy to establish safe spaces where different groups can interact with the Gospel and each other!
Among our highlights for the year, we brought on Hakeem Bradley, a leader of color, as pastor in residence to be developed for church-planting. In a city known for being one of the least diverse in the country, it’s refreshing to see the whole of Imago Dei willing to change that statistic. We are also at the end of the process of installing elders like Chad Reeves at Eastside. We are moving from that place of crawling to walking. I have witnessed more home communities get off the ground, new missions opportunities emerge from Cheryl Baker’s Refuge ministry and her husband Kevin Baker’s super-popular men’s ministry.
Much of the work that has happened at Eastside is the direct result of both campus’ commitment to share life, mission and resources toward the goal of being a witness in the city of Portland. Rick and I have known each other for over 18 years, and it has been awesome to partner in a local church context to help facilitate ways to serve different communities in Portland through one body. Thank you for all your generosity and support!
Eric Knox, Eastside Gathering Campus Pastor